By Bob West
We’ve talked about the concept of content marketing a number of times in this blog, and we’re going to do so again here today because it’s a concept offering real value to marketers, especially those in the specialty ag marketers served by Meister Media. The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs just released the sixth edition of their annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmark, Budgets and Trends survey, and this report offers compelling reason for more companies to incorporate content marketing into their marketing plans (or do more than you’re already doing that you may not know of!).
Here’s a quick look at some of the key takeaways from the report. (Go here for a copy of the full report.)
- B2B companies allocate 28% of their total marketing budget, on average, to content marketing.
- Lead generation (85%) and sales (84%) will be the most important goals for B2B content marketers over the next 12 months.
Nearly 40% of the companies surveyed described their content marketing maturity as either “young” or “first steps,” and that’s true for most of the companies we deal with, too. But the research offers tips for moving your marketing activities in this direction.
For starters, develop a written plan for your content marketing efforts. “B2B marketers whose organizations have a clear vision of content marketing success are more effective than those that do not,” according to the report, which notes that 79% of the companies defining themselves as effective content marketers have clarity around the concept of successful content marketing while 77% of the companies reporting they aren’t effective lack it. In particular, marketers are encouraged to document a content marketing strategy (yes, in writing!), an editorial mission statement and an audience persona.
This report found that the average B2B company uses 13 different content marketing tactics. A review of the most commonly used tactics illustrates that many companies use this concept of content marketing without really meaning to do so, but the key to moving your marketing forward may be incorporating more of them and doing so strategically. The most commonly used tactics include:
- Social media content (used by 93%)
- Case studies (82%)
- Blogs (81%)
- Enewsletters (81%)
- In-person events (81%)
Every company obviously wants to increase its sales, but why are so many companies taking their marketing in this direction. What are they trying to accomplish? Developing better sales leads and more sales certainly top the list, but so do boosting website traffic and elevating the company’s brand, which speaks to the value even in a distribution-based industries like ours.
I’m writing this post immediately after reviewing the metrics on a topical enewsletter sponsored by one client, which had four ads in that one enewsletter. The leaderboard and medium rectangle ad performed fine …. 0.4% click-through rate. The two sponsored content ads in the same send? They averaged a 3.02% click-through rate. Why? Because the audience knew which ads were going to sell a product and which ones were going to educate them and help them do their jobs better.
This is just one anecdote, but I could literally give you a hundred more, if you’d like. Content marketing is so popular because it’s a proven tool for engaging the people you want to reach and, ultimately, sell to.
Bob West is Meister Media’s director of interactive sales. Contact him at 440/602-9129 or email@example.com if you’d like to discuss how you can incorporate content marketing into your plans.