B2B marketers acknowledge the need for quality content

B2B recognises content’s performance justifies cost, but there’s an urgent need to improve all aspects of content marketing

B2B brand marketers are recognising the difference content can make to the bottom line, but few are clear on how to execute it.

According to Walker SandsFuture of B2B Content 2019, nearly all B2B brands (98 per cent) finally recognise content’s performance justifies its cost across industries, but there’s an urgent need to improve all aspects of their content marketing programs in the next 12 months.

“B2B content has transitioned from a peripheral marketing activity to a core marketing function, it's a catalyst for acquiring new customers and nurturing relationships with the brand’s existing customer base,” the report acknowledges.

Additionally, B2B marketers believe content quality and content relevancy are the driving characteristics for audience engagement and to differentiate their brands in crowded marketplaces.

B2B marketers view short-form content as more valuable than long-form content for achieving business goals. Although marketers have historically relied on the social channel to increase brand awareness, B2B marketers now identify social as the primary content category for attracting new customers (63 per cent). Social is also the second most popular option for engaging existing customers (58 per cent), just behind website content (65 per cent),” the report states.

B2B brands’ top goals when producing content include boosting sales/converting customers (29 per cent), building relationships with new customers (19 per cent) and increasing brand awareness (18 per cent).

The greatest number of B2B organisations plan to produce more social (72 per cent), website content (65 per cent), video (63 per cent) and blog posts (49 per cent) in the next 12 months.

Short-form content is also king. Nearly half of B2B marketers report short-form content (such as  blogs, bylines and social media content) comprises the majority of their content, while just 15 per cent say the same about long-form content (for example, whitepapers, case studies and data reports).

Interestingly, 76 per cent of B2B marketers state they urgently need to improve their leadership in content to develop better relationships with their customers, while 34 per cent say they plan to use external relationships to improve content management and increase the opportunities outside of their company.

Gated content is still a divisive topic. While most brands recognise the value of gated access in lead capture, the majority of B2B marketers (80 per cent) say gated access stops them from downloading content at least some of the time and 45 per cent of executive B2B decision makers say gated access always stops them from downloading content.

“Many B2B marketers avoid gating content for the obvious reason that it limits the reach of high-value assets. In fact, more than half of B2B marketers don’t gate any of their content. For them, the risk of alienating target audiences outweighs the potential benefit,” the report said.

The report recommends short-form content should figure prominently in a marketing strategy, social, video, blogs and website content hold promise for capturing the attention of prospects and growing relationships with customers post-purchase, but long-form and other types of content remain vital for a well-rounded strategy. 

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