A Look Ahead — and an Invitation to Participate in the 2016 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing
Posted December 23rd, 2015
It’s been a busy year of helping dozens of leading B2B solution providers meet their content marketing and lead generation goals and successfully grow their client rosters — in some cases, by orders of magnitude. As 2015 draws to a close, we’re gearing up for a new year in which we will broaden the scope of our research practice areas to include several new industry verticals, including financial services, construction and healthcare (starting with The 2016 Smart Decision Guide to Medical Practice Management Solutions). Also, with the launch of Starfleet Research, our IT market research arm, we will begin publishing additional types of content assets to help educate the marketplace and enable decision makers to make smarter decisions.
We’re also looking forward to the release, in June, of The 2016 Benchmark Report on B2B content Marketing and Lead Generation. The annual report has emerged as a definitive resource for B2B marketers. For us, it’s always a thrill to have a front-row seat to the innovation that is taking place in the world of B2B content marketing and our fingers on the pulse of how marketers are allocating their marketing spend and achieving success. To participate in the survey that serves as the basis for the research, please click here.
Assessing the Primary Objectives for B2B Content Marketing
Posted September 3rd, 2015
According to our latest research findings, 89% of B2B companies invest in content marketing primarily to acquire new customers while only 34% do so primarily to retain existing customers. For 23% of companies, the objectives around acquisition and retention are perceived to be equally important when it comes to content marketing initiatives.
The fact that B2B companies are more than 2.5-times more likely to be focused on using content marketing for new customer acquisition than for customer retention purposes is telling, and it informs everything from content development to promotional tactics. Incidentally, this ratio has not changed significantly in the past year.
Embracing the Scientific Method to Improve Content Marketing Campaign Results
Posted August 7th, 2015
Sir Francis Bacon, the Renaissance-era statesman and philosopher, described “the scientific method” as the development of a hypothesis, the design of experiments to test it, the analysis of the results and the subsequent rethinking of the original thesis.
He viewed it as “a light that would eventually disclose and bring into sight all that is most hidden and secret in the universe.”
Fast forward to W. Edwards Deming, a celebrated professor of statistics and an influential force in the rise of Japanese industry after World War II. He was among the first to apply the tenets of the “scientific method” in the context of business.
Three Facts that B2B Content Marketers Should Keep in Mind
Posted June 10th, 2015
Fact #1: Most B2B companies are intent on using content marketing to fill their sales pipelines with not only more leads but also better-quality leads. In fact, 86% of marketers seeking to improve lead quantity are also seeking to improve lead quality.
Fact #2: Creating compelling content is hard. It’s no surprise, therefore, that almost three-quarters (73%) of companies “often” or “almost always” repurpose at least some portion of the content that was created for one asset (e.g., an eBook or white paper) into one or more other assets (e.g., a blog post, bylined article or infographic).
Listen and You Shall Create More Relevant Content
Posted April 17th, 2015
Most B2B companies have come to recognize the benefits of content marketing and have been stepping up their efforts around developing and promoting content assets, including whitepapers, eBooks, research reports, infographics, case studies and buyers’ guides (e.g., Smart Decision Guides).
In fact, according to preliminary research findings from the upcoming 2015 B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation Report, more than half (52%) of marketers allocated a greater portion of their budgets to content marketing over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. What’s more, more than one-quarter (26%) plan to more than double their spending on content marketing over the next 12 months.
To drive engagement, content and related landing pages need to be not only search-engine optimized, but also highly relevant and compelling based on the differing wants, needs and objectives of prospects and customers. Indeed, these wants, needs and objectives can vary dramatically. A content asset that resonates with one target segment may fail to engage a different target audience. Generic, one-size-fits-all content generally fails to move the needle on marketing ROI.
Effective Content Marketing Means Fishing With the Right Bait
Posted February 27th, 2015
Marketers often espouse the need to fish where the fish are. The axiom is good and fine. When it comes to content marketing, however, it’s important to keep in mind that not only do marketers need to fish where the fish are; they also need to use the right kind of bait.
Allocating marketing resources and dollars toward channels and properties with a high concentration of target prospects is insufficient. B2B companies sometimes think that running a marketing campaign that directly targets the membership base of an industry trade association, for example, or a relevant LinkedIn Group is akin to shooting fish in a barrel. Of course, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Make It Your New Year’s Resolution to End Cold Calling
Posted January 6th, 2015
It’s unfortunate that in this modern age of content marketing and inbound marketing tactics many B2B companies continue to rely on cold calls – often pestering people who have never expressed any desire to hear from their companies (or their competitors, for that matter) – to try to make their sales numbers.
A lead is commonly defined as a prospect who has been shown to have the interest, authority and budget to purchase a particular type of product or service. Although the names on B2B contact lists culled from third-party data sources are commonly referred to as leads, the reality of the situation is that these people may have never demonstrated any interest whatsoever in the product or service at hand.
New Infographics Paint a Bright Picture of B2B Content Marketing
Posted December 2nd, 2014
There is no shortage of infographics, many of them quite compelling, insightful and even artistic, that speak to the fact that a growing number of B2B companies are allocating more and more of their marketing spend to content marketing for brand awareness and lead generation purposes. Some of the infographics focus on best practices. Others focus on emerging trends. Some focus on strategies, tactics and channels. Yet others address specific challenges, such as performance measurement – and, importantly, the favorable marketing ROI that more companies are now achieving from their content marketing efforts.
In all cases, the infographics are steeped in research data from a variety of sources, including our own published reports on B2B content marketing and lead generation. As always, we’re delighted to see others using our research findings to help educate the marketplace.
30 Content Marketing Stats to Take to the Bank
Posted November 7th, 2014
Looking for good stats to help make the business case for content marketing? Look no further. A compelling list of up-to-date stats was just compiled and published by i-on interactive. It includes several data points from our own research findings and several others from our friends at Aberdeen Group, where some of us previously hung our hat. The list tells the story of content marketing ROI in perhaps the most concise and impactful way possible.
The Importance of Quality Content for Search Marketing
Posted October 13th, 2014
A new infographic, from Brafton, provides a treasure trove of information about the current state of content marketing. Most of the stats speak to the importance of quality content as a prerequisite for search engine optimization. The infographic features some of our own research findings, particularly those related to increasing budget allocations for B2B content marketing (as discussed here), and we’re pleased to have been able to contribute to this effort. According to the description, the infographic “shows you how search marketing has evolved to where it is now, what businesses are doing to keep up and which strategies they’ll need to adopt to be successful with SEO.” It’s nicely done and well worth a read (click here to view).
Making a Splash with B2B Content Marketing Research
Posted September 21st, 2014
It’s been gratifying to see the far-reaching impact that our research on B2B content marketing and lead generation has had over the past two months. The insights have been featured in dozens of leading marketing and industry trade magazines and company websites (including, in just the last two days, an article in CMS Wire and several blogs, including one from Branding Media and one from Hunter Business Development, as well as a mention in Inbound.org and highlighted data featured in multiple presentations and infographics like the one below). The research has thus far been accessed by more than 6,500 marketers at companies both small and large, including one-third of the Fortune 500, as well as by more than 1,200 agencies and solution providers.
B2B Content Marketers: A Lot in Common (But Also Some Key Differences)
Posted September 5th, 2014
The latest benchmark research suggests that B2B content marketers, regardless of company size, industry sector or geographic location, have an awful lot in common. For starters, and not surprisingly, they share the same motivations.
Indeed, companies across the board invest in content marketing for the same basic reasons: to raise brand visibility, to generate more (and better) leads, and to demonstrate thought leadership.
They also mainly rely on the same content distribution tactics (direct sales and account management outreach top virtually everyone’s list, followed by tweeting and blogging). They use the same performance metrics for tracking and measuring the success of their content marketing programs (with “number of leads” and “sales conversions” invariably ranking high for gated content assets). And they wrestle with most of the same challenges as they look to make a big splash (but, alas, often failing to do so) with their content marketing efforts.