Content is the answer to effective B2B marketing efforts.
Each year MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute measures trends and specifically B2B marketing trends. What was found in the “2013 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends-North America” is the clear direction pointing to the increasing importance of content marketing. It remains a top priority as 9 out of 10 marketers are using it.
B2B marketers are spending more, distributing content on more (and different) social platforms and, although with uncertainty about effectiveness, are using additional delivery methods (tactics) to distribute their message.
In fact, content marketing fills 33% of B2B marketer budgets (up 7% from 2012). It doesn’t matter the size of the operation; large companies such as Microsoft, small business and solopreneurs across the globe have continued success and benefit from the advantages. Sadly, organizations that fall into the 9% not invested in content marketing are behind the curve and will fall fast to the sidelines.
The B2B Marketing Objective
It’s an art. Also known as customer publishing, branded media and corporate journalism, content marketing is a means to create and distribute relevant copy without pushing a sale. You are informing buyers who will in turn reward you with business and loyalty. The key is to deliver content of value and quality — sometimes unattainable through outsourcing.
Bring Content Creation In-House
Each year, the use of outsourced content declines with only 44% of companies reporting they bring in such articles, according to data from the study. It’s essential to produce engaging content. B2B marketers are willing to allocate more of their budget for it with 54% saying they will increase spending over the next year (2% said they will decrease their budget).
The study also shows only 1% of B2B content creation was solely outsourced in 2012, while 56% was strictly in-house only.
Where To Distribute Content
Twitter no longer reigns supreme as the top channel marketers turn to distribute content. And there are some new players in the game:
- LinkedIn tops the list of B2B marketers who use various social media sites to post content with 83 percent.
- Twitter and Facebook tie for second sitting only three percent behind.
- In the middle you’ll find YouTube, SlideShare, Google+ and Flickr used as sources to find and share content.
- New social media sites to distribute content include: Pinterest, Vimeo, StumbleUpon, Foursquare, Instagram, Tumblr and Quora.
The Content Marketing Institute explains that even though businesses are turning to online content marketing to get a message out, there are other tactics. The B2B content marketing usage graph shows that all tactics have risen from 2012, except print magazines which have remained the same.
- Social Media (87%)
- Articles on a website (83%)
- eNewsletters (78%)
- Blogs (77%)
- Case Studies (71%)
- Videos (70%)
- In-person Events (69%)
- Research Reports (44%)
- Mobile Content (33%)
- Print Magazines (31%)
Ultimately, though, people still believe in the effectiveness of person to person contact, in-person events and printing business cards. The confidence gap shows that 67% of B2B users believe it’s effective. The largest increases were seen in the use of research reports, videos and mobile content.
Jon Rognerud and Chaosmap work with Fortune 500 companies, small business and entrepreneurs to create digital traffic strategies that scales up customers, leads and sales. Mr. Rognerud wrote a best-selling book (Buy On Amazon), “The Ultimate Guide To Optimizing Your Website” (Entrepreneur). Connect directly here.