If you haven’t read the 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends Report from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, you’re behind. Go read it now. Then come back.
The report is the result of one of the few consistently administered surveys that documents the state of content marketing in business. And our hats are off to its creators.
However, a conscientious reader will notice that some of the data points aren’t very optimistic. Of course, it takes a careful reading of the document (because marketers are pretty good at spin), but there are sections and stats that should make marketers question the strength of the industry and it’s practitioners.
The statistic I want to dissect today answers the question: Overall how effective is your organization at content marketing?
Let’s look at the 38% and 19% first. I know numbers are hard, folks. But let’s work through this together.
38% + 19% = 57%.
19% is ⅓ or 20% of 57%
giving us the following deduction:
1:3 B2B marketers who have an opinion think they’re NOT effective at content marketing. (tweet this) Or, probably, that content marketing isn’t effective. That’s just slightly more than my 1:1 friends who don’t know what content marketing is when I say I work in the field.
Isn’t that an interesting and noteworthy data point? And something we should actually delve into?
I think it is, so let’s dig.
Why Do Marketers Think That Content Marketing Isn’t Effective?
Unfortunately it might not be the strategy that’s failing, but the support behind it.
One glaring resource missing from content marketing departments is a strategy. A whopping 53% of marketers don’t document their content marketing strategy, or don’t have one to speak about at all. That means one-third of the the 86% of marketers who claim to be leveraging content marketing are doing so willy nilly.
“Content marketers who lack the right resources, strategy, and company support won’t produce very effective content,” says Content Marketing Manager Liz O’Neill Dennison. “That might lead them to think that content marketing in general is not effective.”
What Does This Mean for the Industry?
It means marketers might run into continued trouble when trying to get executive buy-in for content marketing. Despite the fact that content marketing seems to be growing at rapid rates (45% of B2B companies said they planned to hire for content marketers in 2014), and traditional media is making space for the volume of news generated by the industry (like VentureBeat’s announcement of its new Marketing Channel), content marketing still might not get the budget or support it needs from higher-ups.
Here are some common reasons:
Execs still see content as “just a lot of social media posting.”
Execs don’t see the value or return from content marketing.
Content marketing seems cost-prohibitive.
Valid concerns. But if you’re on the other side of the hump, you’ll quickly realize that those fears aren’t realistic.
Content marketing isn’t just a bunch of social posts and doesn’t need to be cost-prohibitive. It’s not a tactic, but a comprehensive strategy that leverages marketing automation technology, email marketing, paid digital advertising, and company websites to deliver more qualified leads to sales teams. This process of nurturing leads—and weeding out the good ones from the bad ones—saves companies an average of 13% in overall cost per lead. It’s also shown to increase overall revenue by 5X.
But let’s go back to our original stat, 1 in 3 B2B marketers who have an opinion think that content marketing isn’t effective, but at the same time other marketers are purporting a 5X spike in revenue...
What’s the Difference?
The difference lies in the initial planning. Marketers need to treat content marketing as a full approach and strategy, and not as an augmented social plug-in to their core objectives. (tweet this)
The first step is to write down a strategy. Those 53% of marketers without one should start by grabbing a piece of paper and mapping out a plan. It’ll speed up efficiencies, and be foundational for measuring revenue returns.
The next step is to read The Blueprint to a Modern Marketing Campaign. This comprehensive guide gives marketers step-by-step guidance about how to create a content marketing approach that really does result in bigger, better sales and increased revenue.
(**) The last step is to track effectiveness. I could write an entirely different post on the sheer fact that 42% of marketers are neutral about their effectiveness. What does that even mean? I’m guessing it indicates they just don’t know how to tell whether or not they are effective. It’s simple metrics, folks, with regular cadence.
And if you leave this article with one thing, let it be this: Be a critical thinker. A critical marketer. Check your data, your sources, your intuitions. If you don’t understand your findings, keep digging deeper.
Comments below are welcome, or shoot me a line @jeanwrites.