Almost All B2B Marketers Do Content Marketing, But Only 36 Percent Think It’s Effective [STUDY]

b2b-surveyRare is the B2B marketer that’s not using content marketing. But despite marketers’ almost universal adoption of tactics like social media, article writing, blogs and infographics, only about one-third of B2B marketers say their content marketing efforts are effective.

The numbers come from a new Content Marketing Institute/Marketing Profs study (sponsored by Brightcove) of more than 1,400 North American B2B marketers in August. The results might be seen as somewhat self-selective — participants were made up of members/subscribers of CMI and Marketing Profs, which means these are marketers that are already inclined to know about and be active in content marketing.

Content Marketing Effectiveness

There’s no question that content marketing is popular — and still growing. Ninety-one percent of those surveyed say they’re doing content marketing. Budgets are on the rise, too: On average, B2B marketers are spending 33 percent of their budgets on content marketing, up from 26 percent last year. And 54 percent say they plan to increase their content marketing budget next year.

But when asked to rate their organization’s use of content marketing on a 1-5 scale from “not at all effective” to “very effective,” only 36 percent said their content marketing is either “effective” or “very effective.”

content-mktg-effective

That 36 percent is more than double the number who said content marketing has been ineffective — a score of 1 or 2. Most survey takers (45 percent) graded their content marketing effectiveness right in the middle.

Social Media & Content Marketing

Social media (other than blogs) displaced articles (published on company websites) as the most popular content marketing tactic among the B2B crowd. Eighty-seven percent of respondents said they use social media, up from 74 percent in 2011. Articles fell to second (83 percent), followed by email newsletters (78 percent), blogs (77 percent) and case studies (71 percent).

On average, B2B marketers are using five social networking sites to share their content, and LinkedIn has replaced Twitter as the most popular site — 83 percent of those surveyed say they use LinkedIn, compared to 80 percent for both Twitter and Facebook.

content-mktg-social

Google+ usage tripled from 2011 to this year, and Pinterest showed up for the first time with a little more than a quarter of B2B marketers saying they use it.

The study found that marketers’ biggest challenge this year has been “producing enough content” — 64 percent overall listed that as a challenge, and 29 percent said it’s their biggest challenge of all. And here’s good news: both “lack of budget” and “lack of buy-in” dropped as the biggest challenge B2B marketers are facing this year, which suggests that the C-suite is both supportive of and willing to fund content marketing more than in the past.

For more on the report, B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends, see the Content Marketing Institute website.

Related Topics: Blogging | Channel: Content Marketing | Features & Analysis | Internet Marketing Industry: Stats | Social Media Marketing | Statistics | Statistics: General | Top News

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Marketing Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    With so many B2B marketers using social media I’m surprised that so many say that content marketing isn’t that effective; in my opinion the two go hand in hand. You need content to share and promote in social media!

  • http://www.tvsinternetmarketing.com/ Travis Van Slooten

    It would be interesting to see a study as to which of the primary social media channels are the most and least effective for B2B marketers. My gut tells me LinkedIn would be the most effective with Facebook being the least effective.

    I’m not surprised that B2B’s biggest challenge is coming up with enough content. This seems to be a challenge for B2C’s as well.

    Travis Van Slooten

  • http://blog.junta42.com/ Joe Pulizzi

    Hi Travis…from the qualitative reports, it does seem as if LinkedIn gets the best of the results. I think b2b marketers are still trying to figure out Google+.

  • http://blog.junta42.com/ Joe Pulizzi

    Hi Matt…thanks for the post. I agree, it’s an interesting time for content marketing…almost full adoption, but still a lack of structured processes within the organization to see and feel return. It’s a matter of time, but we are headed in the right direction.

  • Matt McGee

    I think, if anything, the numbers that I pulled out for the article’s focus are a reflection of the challenges of measuring social media ROI.

    i.e. — lots of marketers doing content marketing, social media is top avenue for it, yet a lot of folks aren’t sure how effective it is at the end of the day.

    Anyway, there was a lot of interesting data in there, Joe. Thanks to CMI, MP and Brightcove for putting the whole thing together.

  • http://blog.junta42.com/ Joe Pulizzi

    You got it…it’s our first of many. Stay tuned.

  • http://www.seobodybuilder.com/ Russell Jensen

    This means that 2/3 of B2B marketers are making the WRONG content. If content marketing is not working for you it’s because your are either: a) making useless content for your audience or b)your not tracking your success or are using the wrong methods of tracking your success.

    I have found the answer to most peoples problem is to think like your consumer. Infographics and Facebook are not the only answere to content and social media. There are hundreds of platforms and rich media ideas that can reach a B2B audience. You just have to know WHERE your audience is.

    i.e. I work in an industry that gets most it’s sales off of old school forums that most SEOs and marketers would not dare to look. The people in these forums are not on more up to date forms of social media, but they are ALL on the internet in some way shape or form. You just have to find them:) So to you 2/3 that say it’s not working… Try harder:)

  • James Hobson

    And only 36% of guys think pick-up lines work, lol. Content marketing works very well if you know what you are doing. Simply posting a fluffy article on a blog is not going to make it happen. I think the real headline here is “64% of Internet Marketing People Lack Good Skills”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marcyadam.rice Marcy Adam Rice

    this is absolutely true. =) building contents requires creativity, attention to details, and knowledge and skills in SEO.

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