When most marketers use the word ‘data’, what springs to mind are large sets of numbers, Excel spreadsheets, cloud-based IT systems and complicated algorithms. Big data speak is the mot du jour. There is even a big data Week in London called the Festival of Data.
B2B marketers are increasingly favouring video over whitepaper formats as part of their growing content marketing initiatives, an industry report has found.
The B2B Content Marketing Report, produced by LinkedIn’s B2B Technology Marketing Community, was based on a survey of 815 marketers participating in the group in June. According to its findings, content marketing has become a mainstream activity in the B2B space, and 82 per cent of B2B marketers will increase their content production over the next 12 months.
At present, about 20 per cent of the marketing budget is allocated to content marketing on average, although interestingly, 19.7 per cent don’t know the percentage allocated.
Ninety-three per cent are creating content from scratch and mostly in-house, while 34.4 per cent said they curate or syndicate third-party content. Thirty per cent also said they encourage user generated content.
The top goal driving content marketing strategy is lead generation (71 per cent), followed by thought leadership/market education (49.9 per cent) and customer acquisition (45 per cent). Customer retention and loyalty was much lower down the list with just 24.8 per cent of the vote. The most popular buying stage used to categorise content is problem awareness.
Marketers claimed customer testimonials, case studies and in-person events are the most effective tactics when it comes to the kinds of content they focus on, while printed book, podcasts and games were the least effective. The report authors also said whitepapers had experience a massive fall from grace, moving from the second most effective format last year to sixth today.
To be successful, content needs to be relevant first and foremost, 71 per cent of respondents said. Engaging and compelling storytelling was also high on the list of key ingredients (56 per cent), followed by content that triggers a response or action (55.7 per cent). When it comes to segmentation, nearly half of respondents said they do so by product/service category, while 16 per cent they don’t systematically segment content at all.
YouTube proved to be one of the most popular social media channels for sharing content with 73 per cent of respondents ranking the video site effective. This was up from 53 per cent on last year’s report. Twitter drop five percentage points to 65 per cent in this year’s results. Not surprisingly because of the report’s heritage, LinkedIn was also high on the list.
When it comes to measuring the effectiveness of content, 63 per cent of B2B marketers are using Web traffic and visits, and the same percentage are using views or downloads. Other prominent metrics include sales opportunities (51.2 per cent), sales lead quality (50.6 per cent) and sales lead quantity (46.1 per cent). Just 16 per cent use share of conversation to measure their content marketing strategy success.
A survey undertaken earlier this year by the Content Marketing Institute also found content marketing's popularity on the rise, yet effectiveness was still an issue. In that survey, just 29 per cent of Australian marketers claimed their strategy was truly effective.
Among the key challenges cited by marketers when producing content are the time/bandwidth to create content (55 per cent) followed by their ability to produce truly engaging content (49.2 per cent).