B2B Marketers Struggle With Compelling Content

December 7, 2011

marketingprofs-biggest-content-marketing-challenges-dec11.gif41% of B2B marketers say that producing the kind of content that engages prospects and customers is their biggest content marketing challenge, representing a 14% increase from 36% of respondents in 2010, according to [download page] a December 2011 study by MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute. Data from “B2B Content Marketing: 2012 Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends” indicates that respondents are also grappling with two challenges that go hand in hand: producing enough content (20%), and having the budget to produce enough content (18%). A lack of buy-in from higher-ups in the company (12%), producing a variety of content (7%), and having the budget to license content (1%) are primary challenges to relatively fewer B2B marketers.

Budgets Are a Challenge, But Spending to Increase

Although 1 in 5 B2B marketers cite having sufficient content marketing budgets as their primary challenge, data from the study indicates that content marketing spending is on the rise. Although roughly 26% of marketers’ total budgets are allocated to content marketing efforts this year, the same as in 2010, this year 60% of respondents indicate they will increase spending on content marketing in 2012, compared to just 3% that say they will decrease their spending levels.

The average amount of budget spent on content marketing appears to vary significantly by company size, with a negative correlation between size and budget share. For example, companies with fewer than 10 employees spend 34% of their budgets on content marketing, whereas companies with more than 1000 employees allocate 20% of their budgets.

Meanwhile, outsourcing also appears to be on the rise: whereas in 2010 only 55% of marketers used outsourcing in some capacity, this year that proportion has risen to 62%. When seeking out the right vendors to support content marketing, marketers use a variety of resources, with the biggest increase from last year seen in the use of consultants (32% vs. 27%) and the biggest decrease found in the use of trade shows as a venue to find support (20% vs. 26%).

Brand Awareness, Customer Acquisition Lead All Goals

Brand awareness and customer acquisition are content marketers’ top goals, cited by 68% of survey respondents. Lead generation (66%) and customer retention/loyalty (61%) follow closely, with website traffic (56%), engagement (55%), and thought leadership (55%) also goals for a majority of marketers. Almost half cite sales as a goal, while just 39% report using content marketing for lead management/nurturing.

Content marketing goals appear to be fairly unrelated to overall digital marketing goals: according to a November report from Webmarketing 123, lead generation (46.4%) is by far the most important objective of digital programs for B2B marketers, outstripping sales generation (22.2%), brand awareness development (15.3%), and site traffic generation (11.1%).

Web Traffic Top Success Indicator

Although web traffic is not a top goal among content marketers, it is the leading indicator of success, cited by 58% of respondents. Sales lead quality (49%) follows, while direct sales, sales lead quantity, qualitative feedback from customers, and SEO ranking are measurement criteria to roughly 4 in 10. The least popular indicator of success is inbound links, cited by 30% of marketers.

According to the November Webmarketing123 study, the vast majority (73.9%) of B2B digital marketers use web traffic as a measurement of campaign success, ahead of lead generation (69.2%) website click-through rate (64.7%), and sales (62.5%).

About the Data: A total of 1,092 B2B marketers worldwide (the majority from North America) responded in August 2011 to the MarketingProfs survey, which was mailed electronically to a sample of marketers from among members and subscribers of MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute. The marketers represented a full range of industries, functional areas, and company size.

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