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The marketing world is constantly evolving. A century ago, there were few options for spending your marketing dollars. Then came radio, followed by television, followed by the internet. The internet may have been the greatest game-changer in the history of marketing, leveling the playing field so that small businesses and entrepreneurs could compete with major corporations. The internet also allowed companies to compete regardless of their geographical location.

Needless to say, with everyone having the ability to market online, the internet quickly became a very crowded place. Users were inundated with marketing messages, and they became very adept at ignoring them. Forward-thinking marketers took the time to learn what people really wanted when they went online. Websites became easier to navigate, responsive web design took off and mobile-friendly sites became basic requirements. However, these early pioneers also learned that people want to be informed and engaged. They want to be educated about a company and its products, watch helpful videos and even be entertained.

The moment world of content marketing was born, from company blogs to videos demonstrating the use of their products, marketers began producing content to engage and educate visitors to their websites. Today, content marketing has become so popular that 88 percent of the B2B companies responding to a survey by the Content Marketing Institute stated that they were already employing at least some kind of content marketing. This means that your competitors are probably working on establishing a strategy if they have not already launched some serious initiatives.

If you have not included content marketing in your 2017 b2b marketing budget, you might want to consider making some revisions or reallocated funds as soon as possible because this marketing is a trend that is only going to continue to grow.

Content Marketing Is A Vital Piece Of A Digital Strategy

A digital transformation involves much more than simply having a website or offering a mobile app. Content lets you engage your current and potential customers to build lasting relationships. It is an ideal way to keep your brand in front of your customers, but since they are willing participants, they do not feel that they are enduring an advertising pitch. In fact, if all you are doing in your content is talk about yourself, you are not handling your content marketing correctly . Your visitors want you to present solutions, answer questions and address their needs. By doing so, you are building their trust and confidence in your company — which can help you generate repeat business without expensive campaigns.

Key Advantages Of Content Marketing

  • Content marketing reduces the cost per lead. In HubSpot’s 2014 State of Inbound survey, researchers found that B2B companies paid far less for content marketing (inbound) than traditional outbound marketing. Inbound marketing doubles the average conversion rate of websites to 12 percent.
  • Content is a company asset. Once you publish your content, it begins its useful life. If you publish evergreen content, that life can last for many years. With a traditional campaign, the shelf-life ends as soon as the campaign ends.
  • Users can consume content 24/7. Your customers can interact with your brand when it is convenient for them. If they want to watch your video again or reread your post, they can do it as many times as they would like, from wherever they like and at the time they prefer.
  • You can tailor your content to specific audiences. You do not have to present one-size-fits-all messages across a channel that will reach a narrow group of your target audience. You can tailor content to the channel your customers prefer and in the format they prefer. You can also tailor your content to correspond to different steps in the sales funnel.
  • Content that is shared can reach an even wider audience. No one shares a television commercial, and few people would clip a newspaper ad to forward to their colleagues. However, interesting online videos, social media posts, blog posts, slideshows and other online content can be shared many times.
  • You can use content marketing to reinforce your traditional messages. Whether you use interruption marketing or display ads, it can be very difficult to convey a message in just a few words. Content lets you “fill in the blanks” for your customers in an in-depth and detailed communication.

Amount Of Budget To Allocate For Content Marketing

There is no universal answer to the question of how much of the budget should be allocated to content marketing. It depends on a number of factors, including:

  • What is the nature of your business?
  • Who are your customers?
  • How often do customers need to purchase your product or service?
  • Do you have qualified staff members to produce your videos, graphics and written content?
  • What is the length of your sales cycle?
  • How difficult is it to explain your services or products?
  • Are you a new company or an established brand?
  • How frequently will you need to publish new content?

The answers to these questions can help you determine the appropriate budget for your content marketing. For example, a start-up may want to spend proportionately more on content marketing than a company whose brand is already a household name.

Although the amount of your budget you devote to content marketing will depend on your specific goals and needs, it might be helpful to know what other B2B companies report that they spend on content marketing.

  • B2B marketers in 2016 devoted 28 percent of their marketing budget to content, according to the Content Marketing Institute. The most effective allocated 42 percent of their overall marketing budget to content marketing.
  • The same study reported that 51 percent planned to increase their budgets for content marketing in 2017.

— 52.41 percent spent less than 25 percent of their total budgets on content marketing.
— 24.46 percent spent between 25 percent and 50 percent of their total budgets on content marketing.
— 13.81 percent spent between 51 percent and 75 percent of their marketing budget on content.
— 9.32 percent devoted at least 75 percent of their total marketing budgets to content.

Content marketing is here to stay, and companies that do not integrate content marketing with their other marketing efforts could find themselves losing valuable ground to the competition.

So, this year create a solid b2b marketing budget and allocate enough budget to the content so that it could rule the campaign!