The top objectives of content marketing programs for B2B marketers are to engage customers and prospects (82%) and drive sales (55%), according to [download page] a survey released in February 2012 by HiveFire. Other popular objectives include educating the market (44%) and increasing web traffic (43%), while SEO (19%) ranks towards the bottom of the list. Just 2% say that thought leadership is a prime objective of their content marketing program.
Strategy Widespread, but Lacks Funding
Content marketing (82%) is the most widespread marketing strategy used by the B2B marketers surveyed, ahead of search marketing (SEO/SEM – 70%), events (68%), and public relations (64%). Only 32% are using print/TV/radio advertising.
And yet, although most marketers are using content marketing, half say that they dedicate less than 30% of their budget to it, while a further 14% say they are unsure how much they allocate.
Sales and Lead Gen Top Marketing Objective
Meanwhile, driving sales and/or leads (78%) is the top overall marketing objective among respondents, ahead of establishing and maintaining thought leadership and boosting brand awareness (both at 35%). Interestingly, although most B2B marketers are using content marketing, sales (55%) and thought leadership (2%) did not top their list of content marketing objectives, suggesting that though popular, content marketing may not be the primary strategy used to fulfill marketers’ core objectives.
Content Curation Gains Traction
Data from the “B2B Marketing Trends 2011 Survey” indicate that 56% of marketers are using content curation as part of their content marketing strategy, up 17% from 6 months earlier. When asked to define content curation, the most popular words respondents used were “relevant” (19%), “sharing” (13%), and “organize” (12%).
Time remains the largest content curation challenge, cited by 69% of content curators, followed by original content (66%), measuring results (38%), and staffing resources (37%). The most popular methods of measuring content curation programs are through a propietary system or methodology (33%) and a third-party tool (25%). A notable 13% of respondents said they make “guesstimates” based on gut feel.
- B2B marketers cited limited budgets (28%) as their biggest marketing challenge, ahead of limited staff (23%), and a “status quo” organizational culture (16%).
- 79% of marketers share the majority of their content online.
- Producing high quality content experienced the largest change as a content marketing challenge from the previous survey, falling 16% in 6 months to be cited by only 27% of marketers. However, a December 2011 study by MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute painted a different picture. Results from that survey indicated that 41% of B2B marketers found producing the kind of content that engages prospects and customers to be their biggest content marketing challenge, representing a 14% increase from 36% of respondents in 2010.
About the Data: HiveFire surveyed a total of 366 marketers in August 2011. Of that group, the sample of content marketers was 248 and the sample of content curators was 133. Participants included CMO and VPs of marketing; marketing directors, managers and specialists; marketing consultants and agencies; and business owners.