Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report for North American B2B content marketers reveals just 30% define themselves as “effective.” That’s down from 38% the last year, equaling a 21.05% drop.

That means 70% see themselves as ineffective. Seems kind of strange to hear when content marketing often gets presented as the greatest thing ever.

It’s not just Content Marketing Institute that says this, though. All kinds of stats paint quite a bleak picture for the current state of B2B content marketing.

In its report “The Content Marketing Paradox: Is More Content Really Better?” Track Maven found content production increased 78% from 2013 – 2014, while engagement fell 60% during the same time. MarketCharts presented data from a Spencer Stuart survey of 150 marketing leaders – and found just 17% have confidence in their digital marketing skills.

Content marketing works, but B2B companies are clearly having a tough time. So, that means most B2B businesses (and maybe yours too) will look to see what they can do better in 2017.

And you might capitalize on some of these soon-to-be-hot trends:

1. Believe it Or Not, This Kind of Content Marketing Still has Massive Growth Potential

Did you think social media was dead? Or at least an old and stale thing? Me too. Maybe it is in terms of an idea.

But research from the Direct Marketing Association shows social media in general is still in its “infancy.” At least, in terms of effectiveness for businesses anyway.

According to the DMA, 70% of companies still don’t collect data from their social channels. 47% of marketers they surveyed believe social media presents big opportunities for short-term growth. And without data being collected, you clearly have plenty of opportunity for future long-term growth too.

2. Will Content Marketing Play a Larger, Diminishing, or about the Same Role in the Sales Cycle?

Every B2B marketer will tell you content marketing is the thing to do. But with the effectiveness levels you already learned, should they make that claim?

Yes. Research from NetProspex, now owned by Dun & Bradstreet, strongly supports the role of content. In fact, 75% of the 478 global CMOs and senior marketing executives surveyed think that “…marketing will be responsible for the end-to-end customer experience” over the next “3-5 years.”

Notice who’s missing from that stat: any mention of sales. Nobody knows exactly what the final tally will be, but Forrester predicts 1 million people, about 20% of the entire sales force, will lose their jobs to “self-service e-commerce” by 2020.

Firms must adapt by building digitally enabled selling models that put self-serve eCommerce on equal footing with commissioned salespeople – Forrester

3. This Startling Trend Doesn’t Make It to the Attention of Most B2B Content Marketers

What’s the first thing you do when you start a business process of any kind? You create a strategy and write down a plan, even if it’s a simple one.

Believe it or not, most B2B content marketers don’t have one. In fact, according to the 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report from Content Marketing Institute, fewer marketers have written strategies in 2015 than in 2014. Just 32% do compared to 2014, when 35% said they did.

Joe Pulizzi notes the need for a documented strategy at the CMI blog. Whether or not this will actually become a trend, Pulizzi doesn’t say. However, this trend clearly has opportunity for growth.

4. Out With the New And In with the Old

So many new digital marketing tactics become available today. It’s both a strength and risk of doing your B2B marketing online.

But all those new tactics aren’t necessarily worth the time and money investment. Tried-and-true e-mail marketing still yields an astonishing 4,300% ROI, according to the Direct Marketing Association.

And a Selligent report shows marketers get this:

Email marketing remains the top channel attracting increased investment – Selligent 2016 Marketing Trends Survey

You’ll have to decide whether you want a relatively safe-bet high ROI or a more uncertain one.

5. How Much B2B Sales Will Happen Online?

You know this trend is picking up. But, what do the numbers reveal?

For starters, 56% of B2B buyers will make at least half their business purchases online, says a Forrester report. That doubles the current rate.

Right now, B2B companies sell about $780 billion of their products and services online. By 2020, that number could increase to $1.13 trillion, representing a 44.8% increase. In fact, in some cases, B2B companies can only sell profitably to their prospects by doing it online.

6. What Will Happen on Social Media?

LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram have separated themselves from other social media channels. With the first three publicly traded, they need more revenues to make investors happy.

Facebook in particular has been seen decreasing organic reach in an effort to push companies to paid advertising. And so far, they’ve done so successfully. LinkedIn and Twitter do the same with tactics unique to their platforms.

In 2015, advertisers spent $23.68 billion on paid social media advertising. By 2017, that number will increase by 33.5% to $35.98 billion reports eMarketer.

7. What’s Going on With Your Content, Really?

Nope, not referring to data here (although that could easily be a trend). I’m actually talking about what you do with your content.

Frank Strong reminds B2B companies that 60-70% of content actually goes unused, according to Sirius Decisions.

That opens doors for promotion, marketing automation, manual promotion, and debates about the quantity and quality of content you produce.

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