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In addition to be a pop culture savant I am also a stats savant, meaning I love a good stat. We all do, admit it. Here’s a few holistic stats when it comes to content marketing:
- 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content each day.
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.
- 78% of CMOs believe custom content is the future of marketing.
Of course I could throw a whole lot more but you get the idea and more than likely you’ve already seen some or all of these stats. So bear with me if I am boring you with stuff you already know.
OK, now that that’s out of the way let’s go granular, somewhat. Let’s look specifically at the state of B2B content marketing as per the findings of the most recent version of B2B Content Marketing 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America issued annually by the Content Marketing Institute.
Let’s start with some ups as in increases in percentages YOY( 2016 to 2017.)
- 70%of B2B marketers say they will produce more content in 2017 than they did in 2016.
- 39% of B2B marketers say they will increase spending on content marketing over the next 12 months.
- 62% of B2B marketers say their organization’s overall approach to content marketing is somewhat or much more successful compared with one year ago.
- 37% of B2B marketers reported they have a documented content strategy (a 16% increase over the 32% reported on in the 2016 report).
As for the un-ups a.k.a. the downs. Well truth be told there weren’t any real “downs” per se as the numbers across the board were positive. However, there is still cause for concern.
For example only 41% of B2B marketers are clear on what an effective or successful content marketing strategy looks like. The remaining 59% were either unsure or flat out said no, they are not clear, period. That’s far too many who are still not completely clear on identifying what effective content marketing looks like.
Then there’s the 52% who say they are not more successful in their content marketing because of lack of time they can devote to it in the first place with content creation issues and strategy issues cited as additional reasons for their lack of development and progress.
There’s much more to the story and many more stats for your statistical pleasure. So be sure to peruse the report at your leisure.
But in the meantime, let’s dig deeper. I spoke with Michele Linn, Senior Editorial Director for the Content Marketing Institute to get her take on some of the findings and more.
Steve Olenski: What was the biggest surprise(s) that came out of this most recent research?
Michele Linn: One of the key observations from our research over the past couple of years is that having a documented content marketing strategy is an important key to content marketing success – and this is something we talk a lot about in our editorial. This year, we wanted to dig into strategy more, so we also asked a new question that delves into what marketers’ strategies include.
While we were pleased to see the majority of marketers use their strategy as a place to plan content marketing as an ongoing business practice, only a bit more than half of marketers (54%) include well-defined business goals for content in their strategy. Frankly, this surprises me. How can you have a strategy without understanding what you are trying to accomplish for the business?
Olenski: The numbers speak for themselves re: 91% of top performers are extremely or very committed to content marketing. So why aren’t more brands utilizing content marketing?
Linn: We actually see a high adoption rate for content marketing: 89% of B2B marketers are using content marketing, and 52% of the nonusers are planning to start using it within 12 months. But, even those who use content marketing can find it tough to be fully committed. In our world, everyone wants fast results, but content marketing is a long-term effort. You can’t expect results within the first few weeks; it takes brands at least 12 – 18 months to see results from their efforts if they are using organic methods.
Delivering content consistently – and over a period of time – can be really tough. But, the long-term benefits of publishing content that is different than what others are doing + delivering content consistently + keeping this up over a long period of time are worth it. Not only do your customers have a better relationship with your brand because you’re providing them with information that they want and need, but the results are great for brands. Marketers continue to see traffic, conversions and sales from their content investments for years – which is something that traditional advertising doesn’t offer.
Olenski: What’s the biggest mistake you see brands making when it comes to content marketing?
Linn: One of the biggest mistakes we see is marketers who aren’t committed to content marketing. Like many things in life, you can’t be “kind of in” and expect good results. One of the best ways to commit is to write down your strategy – and refer to it often. And, part of your strategy should include how you are going to help your customers in a way that no one else can (this is your content marketing mission).
Olenski: Where’s the future headed when it comes to content marketing? How do you think these same numbers will look five to 10 years from now?
Linn: Great question. While I’m no fortune teller, my hope is that brands will continue to refine how they are using content to truly help their customers. I hope they decide to create content that isn’t like something everyone else is publishing and instead truly focus on helping a distinct audience in a very specific way. A lot of people predict that content marketing will simply be part of a company’s marketing strategy, which would not surprise me. When you put customers first, this type of evolution is not surprising.
What Sayeth You?
If you’re a B2B marketer what are your thoughts on all this?
Do you currently use content marketing and if so, do you deem it be successful?
Are you planning on spending more on content marketing in the next 12 months?
This article originally appeared on Forbes.