The Rise of Content Marketing
by Bernie Arnason
One of the more interesting marketing trends to take hold in the past few years is content marketing. This marketing tactic has special significance for B2B tactics, that is, marketing efforts which target other business customers, as opposed to direct to consumers.
Content marketing is about developing and leveraging original content that captures the interest of the targeted audience. Content that is interesting and relevant, and engages targeted business customers is the goal. This content can take many forms, including blogs, whitepapers, webinars, short form video, infographics, in-person events, and of course, social media.
A new research report from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends — North America, highlights the growing use of content marketing by B2B marketers. Key findings of the study show that B2B marketers, on average, are using 13 key content marketing tactics (up one from the 12 that were identified in the previous year). Some of these key tactics include social media (87%), website articles (81%), eNewsletters (80%), blogs (76%), in-person events (76%), case studies (73%) and short form video (73%). In terms of growth, infographics saw the largest growth, with 51% of B2B marketers using infographics this year, as opposed to 38% in the previous year.
Within the social media channel, the most popular tools being used include LinkedIn (91%), Twitter (85%), Facebook (81%) and YouTube (73%).
Other key findings from the report include:
- Brand awareness is the top organizational goal for B2B content marketing, followed by lead generation and customer acquisition.
- Web traffic and sales lead quality maintained their position as the top content marketing metrics for the third consecutive year.
- Over the last four years, direct sales have consistently decreased in importance as a measurement criteria for B2B marketers.
- 58% of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months versus 54% last year.
- On average, 30% of B2B marketing budgets are allocated to content marketing, down slightly from 33% last year.