A new research study further validates what those of us who have been in the B2B content marketing business for many years already know: that 1.) Content marketing is becoming the primary workhorse for building brand awareness and generating qualified leads; and 2.) A majority of B2B companies are struggling to create content assets that their prospects actually want to download and read.
According to the joint study, conducted by MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute, 93% of B2B companies now rely on content marketing, including eBooks, whitepapers, infographics and research reports, for much of their brand-building and lead generation activities. In fact, B2B companies are now spending an average of one-third (33%) of their marketing budgets on content marketing, up from 26% in 2011, and 54% of them plan to increase their content marketing budgets next year.
According to the research, the most successful B2B marketers are spending a much larger percentage (39%) of their budgets on content marketing than their less successful peers (16%).
For most B2B companies, a primary goal of creating and distributing compelling content assets is to grow the sales pipeline. In fact, some 93% of the most successful B2B content marketers cite lead generation as the goal of their content marketing efforts, compared with 64% of their less effective peers. The study cites brand awareness, customer acquisition and thought leadership as other top goals of B2B content marketing.
The research findings note that the biggest challenge facing large B2B companies (over 1,000 employees) is “producing the kind of content that engages readers.” Of course, that’s one of the key challenges that Smart Decision Guides are designed to address. For small companies (those with 10-99 employees), the biggest challenge is lack of time – which is no surprise, given that these companies tend to be even more resource-constrained.
Also not surprising is the fact that only 9% of B2B companies claim to be “very effective” when it comes to the art and science of content marketing. This speaks loud and clear to the need to outsource. Today, more than half of B2B marketers outsource content development, including writing and production, of their content marketing assets. At the same time, nearly one-third (30%) of them also outsource the distribution / syndication of these content assets, whether the assets are company-branded or co-branded with an unbiased third-party – which, according to several other recent studies, results in two- to three-times more leads on average as well as higher-quality leads.
The B2B Content Marketing study included responses from 1,217 B2B companies in North America. The complete report is currently available on SlideShare.