Content marketing may be B2B marketers’ greatest current opportunity, but its appeal looks set to recede in the years to come in favor of other exciting opportunities, according to a new report [download page] from Econsultancy and Adobe. Instead, it will be customer experience (CX) emerging as the single most exciting opportunity for most B2B – and B2C – marketers.
Looking back at 2014, B2B marketers were most likely to say that content marketing (25%) turned out to be their biggest opportunity, ahead of others including the customer experience (17%), social (13%) and mobile (9%). Those results ended up being quite in-line with expectations at the beginning of last year, when B2B marketers predicted that content marketing (24%) and customer experience (15%) would be their most exciting opportunities.
CX is closing the gap, though, forecast by 21% share of B2B respondents this year to be their single most exciting opportunity. That’s only slightly behind content marketing (23%). Fast-forward 5 years, and CX becomes the most important opportunity, which the analysts theorize could be the result of content marketing becoming “business as usual.” Another potential reason? It’s possible that the flood of content will make it more difficult for businesses to differentiate themselves. This is an area in which customer experience can prove valuable, per the survey’s respondents. Indeed, B2B marketers were more likely to say that in the next 5 years they will primarily differentiate themselves through the customer experience than through their product/service quality.
It’s worth noting that CX isn’t perceived to the top future opportunity among all industry respondents, though. When segmenting the B2B respondents into various sectors, the report finds that personalization tops CX as the most exciting future opportunity for professional services marketers.
Further results from the survey are contained in MarketingCharts’ new study, the 2015 B2B Digital Marketing Insights Report. The study’s chapter on CX includes data on how buyers want vendors to enhance the buying experience, the most effective technologies for creating a cohesive customer journey, and the building blocks of a brilliant customer experience.
The Adobe and Econsultancy study, meanwhile, containing the full survey results including the emerging role of mobile and the extent of digital maturity at B2B firms, can be accessed here.
About the Data: The Adobe and Econsultancy results are based on a global survey of more than 800 B2B marketers, primarily from North America (36%) and the UK (26%). Respondents hail from a variety of industries, with technology (21%) and manufacturing and engineering (12%) most heavily represented. Company sizes range from less than $15 million (37%) to more than $1.5 billion (20%).