How Important Is Content Marketing To B2B Marketing?

Research by Starfleet Media and Integrated Marketing Summit has revealed some interesting statistics and figures regarding the way that B2B organisations budget for, and perform, content marketing in relation to their overall marketing efforts.

As a data lover, I should point out that the survey was conducted on a fairly limited number of organisations (just over 200) but the responses were from high quality resources.

1. Content Marketing Budget Allocation
2. Primary Objectives From Content Marketing
3. Content Distribution Tactics
4. Metrics Measured
5. Challenges Faced

1 – Content Marketing Budget Allocation

So, how important is content marketing to B2B organisations?

  • 41% used more than half their budget on content marketing
  • A typical figure falls somewhere around 46% or 47%

Content marketing has become extremely important to businesses, while a slight shift away from SEO following major Google updates has helped further cement its position as not only a viable means of marketing, but a vital one.

Will the trend towards content marketing continue?

  • Not a single respondent said they intended to reduce content marketing allocation

Content marketing is clearly important to marketers and business owners, and it is becoming increasingly important. It looks as though the next year will be another year of growth for what is fast becoming an integral facet in a digital marketing strategy.

2 – Primary Objectives From Content Marketing

What do businesses want to achieve from their content marketing efforts?

  • Branding, lead generation, and traffic generation more important than SE ranking
  • More than half want to use content marketing to reduce costs

Google might finally be getting their way, as they have seemingly turned more marketers away from an SEO-centric marketing approach. While search engine ranking still attracts a lot of appeal, it is branding, lead generation, and direct traffic generation that come out on top.

Content marketing can be a highly effective way of educating the marketplace. If you have a new product, or something so innovative that only a handful of people even really even know about it, spreading the word via content sharing can educate your potential market about a need they didn’t even know they had.

3 – Content Distribution Tactics

How are B2B businesses using their allocated budget?

  • Communication, as well as marketing is proving very popular
  • Most of the top ten utilised techniques are free

It is free techniques that dominate the top ten, and with good reason. You don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy decent or better results. Twitter, of course, is not only free, but it is also incredibly short-form, so it is therefore easier to dedicate the time and resources that are needed.

Various forms of native advertising appear in the list, arguably including paid SEM and content syndication platforms. Interestingly, however, while free Tweets appear at the very top of the list, sponsored Tweets fall some way short of paid LinkedIn, or Facebook ads in terms of how businesses are spending their content marketing budget.

4 – Metrics Measured

How does a company attempt to determine whether there budget is being well spent?

  • Only 78% track conversion rates to determine effectiveness
  • Only 44% measure their Return on Investment

Although 72% of respondents cited improved search engine rankings as a primary objective, only 35% actually measure their ranking position. Similarly, 93% wanted to increase brand visibility, but only 31% said that they measured brand metrics such as social media mentions. This is a sign that some businesses still do not treat metric measurement, analysis, and data driven marketing as being as important as they should.

With that said, leads and conversions are arguably far more important, and are more likely to be the ultimate goal of a business, and these feature prominently at the top of the list.

5 – Challenges Faced

What is the greatest challenge to establishing and running a content marketing campaign?

  • 81% of respondents said that they struggle to create appealing content
  • Only 41% said that budget was a major issue for them

Despite seemingly poor measurement tactics, only a reasonably small number said that the ability to measure results was a challenge.

The majority of respondents seem to struggle more with allocating resources or finances than with generating the kind of results that they would want to see from their content marketing strategy. Outsourcing the writing, submission, and even the marketing and strategy formulation would help these companies to enjoy potentially greater results.

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