There are 45 pages in the PDF version of the 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report this year. If only have time to look at one chart, then download a copy, and turn to page 4.
Overall, the study found roughly one-fifth (22%) of 1,102 B2B marketers based in North America that answered the annual survey described their content marketing as “extremely successful” or “very successful.” Page 4 shows us why these B2B content marketers are successful.
Among this exclusive group of “top performers” the graphic on page 4 finds:
- 91% say the organization is committed to content marketing
- 88% measure content marketing ROI
- 87% say the organization has the agility to adjust the content strategy
- 85% deliver content marketing consistently
- 81% say the organization is clear on what a successful content marketing looks like
- 72% describe the organizations content marketing maturity as sophisticated
- 61% have put the content marketing strategy in writing
- Allocate 39% of the total marketing budget to content marketing
The B2B organization that isn’t finding success with content marketing probably isn’t committed to the concept, treats it like a campaign rather than a culture, and simply hasn’t, or is unable, to bring to bear the resources necessary to be successful.
Half-Hearted Effort Returns Half-Hearted Results
In fact, 55% of respondents said their organization had a small team, or just one person, dedicated to the content marketing needs of the entire organization.
For many high-growth B2B companies, having a single person isn’t enough for any department to be successful. Not accounts receivable. Not support. Not sales. Not marketing.
So when B2B marketing says content marketing is crowded, too competitive and it’s not effective, just point out that approximately 80% of those departments aren’t really committed to the cause. Yes, there’s a lot of content. No there isn’t a lot of content marketing. Half-hearted efforts return half-hearted results.
This survey clearly demonstrates not only is there is ample space to compete – but also an opportunity to get a head start on the majority of the market. Eighty percent of it to be more precise – and if you’re in a niche or vertical – it could well be higher.
The annual content marketing survey, a joint effort by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs. Online video platform Brightcove is a returning sponsor of the report. We’ve followed this report for several years and here our take stemming from the last two years:
- 2015 – Survey Finds Tough Grades on B2B Content Marketing
- 2014 – Study: Effective Content Marketing Has One Element
The graphics published nearby are from the latest report, which is this week’s theme for Unscripted Marketing links (UML). As I do every week, I’ve called out points that stood out for me in three articles below and recommend perusing each one in greater detail.
1) Factors of Content Marketing Success
The majority of B2B organizations are upbeat about content marketing according to Ann Handley in her MarketingProfs piece, 2017 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends:
“B2B marketers are indeed finding success with content marketing: 62% of B2B marketers in North America say their organization’s overall approach to content marketing has been much more or somewhat more successful than a year ago…”
She later notes the factors contributing to success:
“Marketers gave the most credit for their success to two factors—doing a better job with content creation (85% of B2B content marketers cited it) and developing or adjusting their content marketing strategy (72%).”
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2) Going “All In” with Content Marketing
Joe Pulizzi, who is widely credited with popularizing the notion of content marketing hones in on what successful marketers do differently, in his piece for CMI titled Content Marketing Takes a Turn for the Better: New 2017 Research:
“…one of the biggest differences we see between marketers who are top performers and those who aren’t is level of commitment: 91% of top performers are extremely or very committed to content marketing, compared to 63% of the overall sample and 35% of the bottom performers…”
“It’s just like being a parent or a driver: You can’t be “kind of” in and expect positive results. It simply doesn’t work that way. Make content marketing a priority or focus your efforts elsewhere.”
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3) Quality and the Time do Develop Quality
Todd Wasserman, who for a long time wrote for Adweek, focused on the why marketers are more upbeat about their response in a contribution to CMO.com: 62% Of B2B Marketers Say They’ve Improved at Content Marketing.
“Those who said their content marketing has improved over the past year cited higher quality or more efficient content as the primary impetus. Of those who said it has stagnated or worsened, 57% blamed the lack of time devoted to it.”
Among the best practices for content:
“Other best practices include having a differentiated story to tell, measuring results, and having a clear view of what a successful content marketing program would look like.”
I couldn’t agree more. While many companies try to model their marketing base on what the competition is doing, if you really want to stand out, do the opposite. That’s the essence of Seth Godin’s idea of a Purple Cow.
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Additional resources on this survey:
- Press Release | PDF Report | Slides | Additional Assets
- CMI: Most marketers finding success with content approach
- CMI Report: 62% of B2B Marketers’ Content Strategies Improved Since Last Year
- [RESEARCH] B2B Marketers Getting Smart with Content Marketing
- Brand Newsroom 108: Michele Linn on the 2017 CMI B2B Trends Report
- New Research Proves Content Marketing Works
- Content marketing has scaled the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’
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The Shocking Beef about Feeding the Content Monster