Documentation and Communication Lead To B2B Content Marketing Success

2016 B2B Content Marketing ReportAs more B2B marketers embrace content marketing, they are learning what makes it a successful component of their overall strategies. About 44 percent of B2B marketers claim that they are gaining a better understanding of what content marketing effectiveness looks like.

This was just one of many findings in the annual “B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends” report released by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs this week.

Factors for Content Marketing Success

Clarity on content marketing success

Communication appears to be a big player in the success and effectiveness of content marketing within a company. Sixty-one percent of organizations that said their strategies were “effective” stated that they met daily or weekly to discuss their content marketing progression.

Nearly 79 percent of effective B2B content marketers said that they also have clarity into their program, making it a key component of their success. In contrast, 77 percent of the least effective content marketers surveyed said a lack of clarity hindered their efficiency.

These statistics indicate that it helps to fully grasp a content marketing strategy before executing it, but how many B2B marketers have a documented plan?

Fifty-three percent of the most effective B2B content marketers claim they have a documented strategy in place, compared to 40 percent of the least effective marketers who said they do not have one at all.

“B2B marketers who have a documented content marketing strategy get better results from their content marketing tactics, social media platforms, and paid methods of content distribution (i.e., they rate them as more effective when compared with their peers who don’t have a documented strategy),” wrote the authors of the report.

Although there are many factors that contribute to success and effectiveness, there are several that make content marketing a challenge for B2B marketers as well.

The Content Marketing Challenges of Today

Content Marketing maturity level

While 44 percent of B2B marketers claim that they are clear on what content marketing effectiveness looks like, the majority (55 percent) say they are unsure. This indicates that B2B marketers are still learning what goes into creating a worthwhile strategy.

Thirty percent stated that their organizations are effective at content marketing, which is a drop from 38 percent recorded in last year’s “B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends” report. Additionally, only 32 percent said that their content marketing maturity level is “sophisticated or mature.”

“In general, effectiveness levels are greater among marketers with higher levels of content marketing maturity,” the authors of the report concluded.

With this in mind, identifying the key pitfalls associated with developing a successful content marketing plan can be done through observing where ineffective marketers are lacking.

As previously stated, 40 percent of the least effective marketers do not have a defined content strategy. Additional research indicates that they typically lack editorial guidance as well. Thirty-five percent of B2B marketers do not have a documented editorial mission statement.

In contrast, 56 percent of effective marketers with a documented content strategy have a defined mission statement.

Less than half (49 percent) of B2B marketers who only meet bi-weekly or monthly about their content marketing strategies do not find these meetings helpful. This is a smaller number than the 54 percent of effective content marketers who view meetings as beneficial.

Keeping the entire marketing team on the same page and documenting a content strategy appear to be critical to content marketing success.

B2B Marketing Trends: 2015 and Beyond

Content marketing tactic usage

About 88 percent of B2B marketers claim that their organizations are using content marketing, but what other resources are they tapping into to achieve their goals?

On average, B2B marketers use 13 different content marketing tactics, according to the report. Ninety-three percent say they are utilizing social media to reach out to their target audience, while 82 percent use case studies. Blogs (81 percent), eNewsletters (81 percent) and in-person events (81 percent) are also popular strategies used by marketing teams.

However, in-person events have been the most effective tactic utilized by B2B marketers, with 75 percent naming this their top strategy. It may also be worth nothing that for the past six years, in-person events have been rated the most effective tactic by marketers.

As content marketing strategies evolve, 85 percent of respondents claimed that lead generation will be their main goal over the next year. To reach their objectives, 51 percent said they will increase their content marketing spend within the next 12 months, and 76 percent intend to create more content in 2016.

“It’s great that organizations want to create more content, but they need to be braver and bolder with that content,” said Ann Handley, chief content officer of MarketingProfs. “They can no longer afford to play it safe. Organizations must focus on telling more authentic stories targeting the specific challenges of their audience.”

The full report can be accessed via SlideShare as well as direct PDF found here.


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