B2B content marketing: who does it, what are they doing, how are they getting the word out, and who is helping them? These are the questions we wanted to get answers to in our latest survey to B2B marketers in a variety of industries. The findings are listed below.
Content Marketing: Widely Adopted
We wanted a high-level view of whether B2B companies are doing content marketing. Over 62% of respondents said they were indeed doing content marketing at some level, while only 15% said they were not. The other 20% fell into either doing content marketing sometimes or not being sure whether they were doing content marketing.
Main Barriers to Content Marketing: Time, Knowledge, Resources
While more than half of survey respondents are doing B2B content marketing, we wanted to discover what barriers those not doing content marketing (or not doing it regularly) were facing. The responses indicated the top three barriers to content marketing were time, resources, and knowledge/experience, in that order. Almost 58% of respondents listed time as the major factor for why they weren’t doing content marketing while 36% and 26% pointed to lack of resources and money, respectively, as the major reasons why they weren’t implementing a content marketing strategy.
Content Marketing: Average Experience, Low Investment
When asked about their level of experience with content marketing, all respondents listed their experience as average. We expected a little bit of variance on this question, but are concluding it’s a further indication of the wide adoption of content marketing across different industries.
It is interesting to note that while there is wide adoption/acceptance of content marketing, the monthly budget for content marketing activities is fairly low. A little over 60% of survey respondents listed a monthly budget for B2B content marketing to be at $1,500 – $3,000 and another 22% listed budgets under $1,000 a month. A budget was the fourth most mentioned barrier to content marketing, so it can be assumed that many marketers are making do with a budget of under $3,000 a month for content marketing.
Marketing Manages Content Marketing
Next, we asked about who was in charge of content marketing efforts. The options were marketing, sales/business development, customer service/service delivery, human resources, product management, management, outside consultants, and other. More than 65% of survey respondents listed marketing as being the business unit handling content marketing and another 15% stated that management was in charge of the content strategy.
Content Marketing Must Deliver
Content marketing can have a variety of different objectives, depending on the goals of the organization. In our survey, we asked what B2B firms were looking to get out of their content marketing strategy. The responses were spread out but the top three goals were: lead generation (84%), brand recognition (65%), and thought leadership (46%). The good news is that when it’s implemented properly, content marketing can deliver on all three of these objectives.
What Is Content Marketing?
The survey also was focused on finding out what types of content B2B marketers wanted to produce. Blog posts were the top pieces, with over 84% of respondents saying blogging is/would be included in their strategy. Other forms of content included email newsletters, white papers, social media ads, video, ebooks, print pieces and pay-per-click ads.
Content Promotion: Mainly Social
A key element of content marketing is what happens once the content is created. How do you get it in front of your target market? As such, we asked our survey respondents about their content promotion efforts to find out where and how they are promoting their content.
The majority of respondents, 78%, use social media to promote content, while 62% use an email newsletter for content distribution. Advertising in the form of Facebook ads (31%), LinkedIn ads (28%), Pay-Per-Click ads (21%) and Retargeting ads (21%) all were represented in the responses as well. The other category included channels such as industry publications/niche magazines, IP targeting, tradeshows and in-house events for promoting content marketing pieces.
Outsourcing Is Not Happening
The last question we asked was straightforward: Do you outsource any part of your content marketing? A high majority of the respondents, 74% said all their B2B content marketing efforts are handled in-house. A small percentage, 9%, said it’s mostly handled by an outside agency with another 6% saying only certain aspects of the strategy are outsourced.
Conclusions on B2B Content Marketing
The biggest takeaway for us was that while 74% of respondents say that all content marketing is handled in-house, the biggest barriers they find are time, knowledge, and resources. A solution for overcoming the time, knowledge and resources barriers is to outsource the day-to-day content marketing, or even some aspects of it, to outside B2B agencies or professionals.