There have been numerous studies about B2B content marketing released (examples here and here), and a newly-released report on the topic, from Regalix, supports many of the earlier reports’ findings while adding some new insights.
- Virtually all respondents believe that their content marketing efforts are either somewhat (80%) or very (18%) effective, a marked departure from other studies (such as this one), which have found far fewer to have that level of confidence.
- The top objective for B2B content marketing programs is to nurture prospects and influence purchases (90%), followed by generating leads (83%) and creating awareness (76%). Just 44% said that generating sales was a key objective, perhaps feeling that this would be an obvious by-product of the other objectives. Lead generation and brand awareness have also ranked higher than sales generation in past studies.
- The leading benefits of content marketing are increased brand awareness (89%) and thought leadership (81%), with lead generation (76%) also cited by more than three-quarters of respondents. Only about 1 in 6 reported lower advertising costs to be a key benefit.
- While social media (81%) trumps videos (78%) as the most broadly used content type, online videos were cited by the largest proportion (81%) of the survey respondents as the content type that will become indispensable for B2B marketers this year. Following in the indispensable rankings are case studies (76%) and webinars/webcasts (57%).
- Only about one-third of respondents consider a mobile application to be critical (5%) or very important (27%) in content marketing.
- Almost all of the content types identified are considered most effective in the awareness and consideration phases of the customer journey. Only newsletters are considered effective by at least half of respondents for customer loyalty.
- The most important element of effective content is audience relevance (90%), with prior studies indicating the difficulty of achieving this. Other elements considered important by many respondents include engaging and compelling storytelling (81%), effectively delivering a message (71%), triggering a response/action (66%) and reusability (56%). On the topic of re-usability, most (72%) of those who re-purpose content use a single piece 1-3 times.
- Website traffic (79%) continues to be the leading metric used to evaluate content marketing programs. Conversion rates (66%) and the number of leads generated (71%) are also popular.
- Three-quarters of respondents deem their organization either somewhat (64%) or very (11%) successful at tracking the ROI of their content marketing programs.
- The most commonly cited content marketing challenges are lack of resources/bandwidth to create content (60%) and understanding buyer personas and creating relevant content for each segment (54%). Roughly half also have trouble producing engaging content, coming up with a variety of content, or simply finding the time to product enough content. Lack of budget (27%) and lack of buy-in/vision (16%), though, don’t appear to be real problems.
- One-third of respondents allocate less than 10% of their budgets to content marketing, while a plurality 39% allocate 10-25% share. According to a recent Forrester survey, content marketing occupies 9% share of B2B marketing budgets, one of the largest portions.
- As with other studies on the topic, this latest survey finds that most marketers will be increasing their content marketing spending.
About the Data: The Regalix report is based on a survey fielded from January 9-20, 2015 among 285 senior marketing executives and business leaders, 72% of whom are from North America. Some 45% of respondents hail from companies with at least $1 billion in revenues.