Content is king!” was first expressed by Bill Gates in 1996. And while he was speaking of content in a much broader sense than we often do today, it was the first known declaration about the value of content. Since then, the value of content has experienced ups and downs. Its survival, at times, has been questioned; yet here we are in 2014, where once again we are proclaiming content is king. Is there anyone out there not talking about content?

While content is being written about as though it’s liquid gold and has just been discovered, in business-to-business circles, content marketing has been king for well over 20 years. Business-to-business marketers know that rich, pertinent content offered across the buyer journey is an investment with high returns.

Manufacturing company Makino has been investing in content marketing for over nine years. As a way to drive leads, Makino has been investing in webinars, which have developed meaningful content across the buyer journey. Others, like GE, Xerox, Cisco Systems, among many others, have also invested in content marketing.

The results? B-to-B companies have actually reduced their overall investment in marketing while increasing the number of qualified leads that have resulted in real sales. What’s the reason for the success of these companies? The content is written to address the needs of the customers and buyers, not what the company wants to push out.

The “Got Content?” challenge is often not a function of too little information or content being created; it is a function of content lacking any real value to the buyer. Let’s face it: A lot of bad content is out there and the volume is increasing. There are already predictions that the content frenzy is headed for buyer disillusionment.

This is a wake-up call to all the B-to-B marketers out there. If you’ve got content, be sure it’s content your buyers want, not just a sales pitch dressed up as something of value. As marketers, if we can’t create content that’s valuable and meaningful to customers, then content as a competitive edge is sure to lose its luster like so many other marketing tactics that have come before.