Rare 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.”
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.
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.