Blog

The Advantages of Co-branded eBooks (in Any Language)

Posted February 15th, 2016

Today, 90% of B2B marketers “agree” or “strongly agree” that unbiased third-party content assets are generally perceived to be more credible than company-branded content assets, which decision makers often view as little more than thinly-veiled marketing collateral. Moreover, 83% of marketers “agree” or “strongly agree” that unbiased third-party content assets generally produce higher-quality leads than company-branded content assets.

These research findings help explain the popularity of custom eBooks and research reports co-branded with industry-respected IT market research firms like Starfleet Research. The content assets tend to perform exceptionally well in lead generation campaigns, which further explains why there seems to be so much demand for them (some of our clients commissioned more than a half dozen new eBook titles in the past year). Producing high-quality content — content that can be repurposed into blog posts and leveraged in multiple other ways — is important. So, too, is doing the homework that is necessary to ensure that the content focus of each eBook will resonate with the target audience. Also important, as already suggested, is steeping the content in fact-based research, not only for added credibility but also to incorporate more actionable insights for the benefit of readers.

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Outbound Marketing Versus Inbound Marketing: It’s Not an Either/Or Proposition

Posted January 23rd, 2016

A snobby bunch of marketing services firms (including ours) have made it a habit to admonish marketers that rely on outbound marketing tactics like email blasts. Even worse than email blasts, they (we) say, are marketers that hire telemarketers to cold call prospects, based on their titles, industries or other firmographic data. These callers cajole people into agreeing to receive an email with whatever whitepaper they’re hawking included as an attachment so as to be able to then count them as a lead to pass onto the client. No doubt, some percentage say “yes” just to get the caller off the phone.

At the same time, this snobby bunch of marketing services firms sing high praises of marketers that rely solely on content marketing fueled by inbound marketing tactics. These marketers blog and post and create micro-websites and landing pages designed to attract target prospects. They invest heavily in SEO and SEM. And they place their bets on the expectation that decision makers who are conducting related research and are currently in the market to make a purchase decision will find their content assets through relevant keyword searches.

In reality, outbound marketing tactics and inbound marketing tactics are two sides of the same coin. They should not be treated as an either/or proposition. There are, in fact, merits to both approaches. So, just maybe, we snobby bunch of marketing services firms should get off our high horse.

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Assessing the Primary Objectives for B2B Content Marketing

Posted September 3rd, 2015

According to our latest research findings, 89% of B2B companies invest in content marketing primarily to acquire new customers while only 34% do so primarily to retain existing customers. For 23% of companies, the objectives around acquisition and retention are perceived to be equally important when it comes to content marketing initiatives.

The fact that B2B companies are more than 2.5-times more likely to be focused on using content marketing for new customer acquisition than for customer retention purposes is telling, and it informs everything from content development to promotional tactics. Incidentally, this ratio has not changed significantly in the past year.

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Embracing the Scientific Method to Improve Content Marketing Campaign Results

Posted August 7th, 2015

Sir Francis Bacon, the Renaissance-era statesman and philosopher, described “the scientific method” as the development of a hypothesis, the design of experiments to test it, the analysis of the results and the subsequent rethinking of the original thesis.

He viewed it as “a light that would eventually disclose and bring into sight all that is most hidden and secret in the universe.”

Fast forward to W. Edwards Deming, a celebrated professor of statistics and an influential force in the rise of Japanese industry after World War II. He was among the first to apply the tenets of the “scientific method” in the context of business.

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More Companies are Spending More Money on Content Marketing

Posted July 17th, 2015

Perhaps no benchmark metrics are of greater interest to marketers than those related to budgeting and spending. Every marketer wants to know how much money other marketers, particularly those whose companies are comparable in terms of industry, category and size, are allocating to different marketing activities. This is certainly true when it comes to B2B content marketing and lead generation.

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Three Facts that B2B Content Marketers Should Keep in Mind

Posted June 10th, 2015

Fact #1: Most B2B companies are intent on using content marketing to fill their sales pipelines with not only more leads but also better-quality leads. In fact, 86% of marketers seeking to improve lead quantity are also seeking to improve lead quality.

Fact #2: Creating compelling content is hard. It’s no surprise, therefore, that almost three-quarters (73%) of companies “often” or “almost always” repurpose at least some portion of the content that was created for one asset (e.g., an eBook or white paper) into one or more other assets (e.g., a blog post, bylined article or infographic).

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For the Latest Insights on B2B Content Marketing…

Posted May 22nd, 2015

At long last, The 2015 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation is now available. While this latest research initiative covers a lot of the same ground as last year’s report, it also ventures into new areas of investigation, including the use of different tools — and even social data — to improve content marketing effectiveness.

The result is an even more comprehensive look – arguably, the most comprehensive and revealing one to be found anywhere – at how B2B companies are evolving their content marketing and lead generation capabilities to better achieve their business objectives.

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Listen and You Shall Create More Relevant Content

Posted April 17th, 2015

Most B2B companies have come to recognize the benefits of content marketing and have been stepping up their efforts around developing and promoting content assets, including whitepapers, eBooks, research reports, infographics, case studies and buyers’ guides (e.g., Smart Decision Guides).

In fact, according to preliminary research findings from the upcoming 2015 B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation Report, more than half (52%) of marketers allocated a greater portion of their budgets to content marketing over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. What’s more, more than one-quarter (26%) plan to more than double their spending on content marketing over the next 12 months.

To drive engagement, content and related landing pages need to be not only search-engine optimized, but also highly relevant and compelling based on the differing wants, needs and objectives of prospects and customers. Indeed, these wants, needs and objectives can vary dramatically. A content asset that resonates with one target segment may fail to engage a different target audience. Generic, one-size-fits-all content generally fails to move the needle on marketing ROI.

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Effective Content Marketing Means Fishing With the Right Bait

Posted February 27th, 2015

Marketers often espouse the need to fish where the fish are. The axiom is good and fine. When it comes to content marketing, however, it’s important to keep in mind that not only do marketers need to fish where the fish are; they also need to use the right kind of bait.

Allocating marketing resources and dollars toward channels and properties with a high concentration of target prospects is insufficient. B2B companies sometimes think that running a marketing campaign that directly targets the membership base of an industry trade association, for example, or a relevant LinkedIn Group is akin to shooting fish in a barrel. Of course, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

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Make It Your New Year’s Resolution to End Cold Calling

Posted January 6th, 2015

It’s unfortunate that in this modern age of content marketing and inbound marketing tactics many B2B companies continue to rely on cold calls – often pestering people who have never expressed any desire to hear from their companies (or their competitors, for that matter) – to try to make their sales numbers.

A lead is commonly defined as a prospect who has been shown to have the interest, authority and budget to purchase a particular type of product or service. Although the names on B2B contact lists culled from third-party data sources are commonly referred to as leads, the reality of the situation is that these people may have never demonstrated any interest whatsoever in the product or service at hand.

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New Infographics Paint a Bright Picture of B2B Content Marketing

Posted December 2nd, 2014

There is no shortage of infographics, many of them quite compelling, insightful and even artistic, that speak to the fact that a growing number of B2B companies are allocating more and more of their marketing spend to content marketing for brand awareness and lead generation purposes. Some of the infographics focus on best practices. Others focus on emerging trends. Some focus on strategies, tactics and channels. Yet others address specific challenges, such as performance measurement – and, importantly, the favorable marketing ROI that more companies are now achieving from their content marketing efforts.

In all cases, the infographics are steeped in research data from a variety of sources, including our own published reports on B2B content marketing and lead generation. As always, we’re delighted to see others using our research findings to help educate the marketplace.

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30 Content Marketing Stats to Take to the Bank

Posted November 7th, 2014

Looking for good stats to help make the business case for content marketing? Look no further. A compelling list of up-to-date stats was just compiled and published by i-on interactive. It includes several data points from our own research findings and several others from our friends at Aberdeen Group, where some of us previously hung our hat. The list tells the story of content marketing ROI in perhaps the most concise and impactful way possible.

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