Observations on the State of Content Marketing

I spent this morning reviewing the B2B Enterprise Content Marketing report published by Content Marketing Institute. There is so much good data in this report, but one thing that stands out to me is that B2B marketers are still struggling to get a firm handle on strategic content marketing and in large part, have little to show for their increased efforts over the past few years.

Observations on the State of Content MarketingHere are a few of my observations about the study:

  1. 39% of B2B Content Marketing Organizations are Fooling Themselves

When asked if they had a Content Marketing Strategy – 39% of organizations replied “yes, but it is not documented.”  This is not a strategy; this is an idea or at best, a suggestion. If you are able to have a “strategy” that is not documented, then I would like to announce that I have a Ph.D., but no diploma stating such.

What is the importance of documenting a content strategy? According to the study, 75% of the most effective organizations have one in place. Marketers need to take the necessary steps to document and build a buyer-centric content marketing strategy and stop fooling themselves that anything less will suffice.  Whether it is lack of skill set, lack of time or just being lazy, organizations that have not documented their strategy, have no strategy at all.

  1. Effort Does Not Equate Success

According to the study, 74% of B2B organizations will create more content this year than last year. Additionally 47% will increase their spend on content marketing.  However, only 22% say they are effective with Content Marketing.

I cannot state it any clearer than this – THIS NEEDS TO STOP! Marketing organizations can do better than this! Simply doing more and spending more is not advancing the cause of marketing. If anything, it only reinforces the age-old idea across the business that marketing is not strategic and is just a cost center

It is time to start spending wisely and creating better, more relevant content. Simply cranking out more, ineffective content is in no way strategic.

  1. B2B Content Marketers Do Not Fully Understand Demand Generation

When listing their tops goals for content marketing, 82% stated Engagement was the most important.  Following close behind were the following:

  • Sales: 81%
  • Lead Generation: 79%
  • Customer Retention/Loyalty: 74%
  • Lead Nurturing: 74%
  • Upsell/Cross-Sell: 65%

While these are all great goals, they are also all a part of Demand Generation. You cannot have effective Demand Generation without Lead Nurturing. Demand Generation is also a practice of marketing and sales. And Demand Generation is not just about the acquisition of new customers. We need to apply the same principals of Demand Generation to the existing customer base to keep them engaged. This is significant to help turn our customers into advocates, which is often times, one of the most overlooked areas in most organizations and an area that content marketing is essential.

If B2B marketing organizations want to increase their success in content marketing, defining strategic demand generation that will Engage, Nurture and Convert buyers/customers will go a long way.

While creating content continues to be on the rise and all the rage in today’s B2B marketing circles, it appears that the majority are executing this all too important discipline with very little, or no discipline at all. With CEOs and CFOs applying more scrutiny to marketing results, CMOs need to assert their leadership and put an end to “throwing content against the wall and seeing what sticks.” Take the time to understand your buyers and customers, develop content that aligns to their world and optimize the content continually.  It is only then that we will start to see good things happen from content.

Author: Carlos Hidalgo @cahidalgo CEO/Principal, ANNUITAS