content marketing

2013 has been a big year for content marketing. Even though the phrase only gained traction with marketers a few years ago, this year cemented content marketing as one of the most effective marketing tactics to date. This blog discusses key content marketing highlights of the year.

1. Content marketing spread like wildfire this year

91% of B2B marketers are currently leveraging content marketing, according to the Content Marketing Institute. These marketers have also been reported to spend over 25% of their marketing budget on content marketing. What is even more interesting is the fact that companies of all sizes seem to have caught on. Companies with less than 10 employees allocated 42% of their marketing budget to content, those with over 1000 employees allocate 24% to content tactics, while companies with 10,000 or more employees use 18 different content marketing tactics.

2. Content marketing has been leveraged throughout the buyer’s journey

Exact Target’s infographic revealed that the majority of B2B marketers (71%) use content marketing for lead generation. In the lead generation process, content marketing is used to generate brand awareness by (41%), to drive traffic to their website (28%). Post lead acquisition, 35% of marketers use content to nurture leads, 50% for thought leadership and 45% for customer acquisition. It has also been leveraged post sale for customer loyalty schemes by 25% of the marketers surveyed.

3. Content marketing delivered better ROI than traditional marketing

Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing, according to research by Leaders West, due to the channels used in the strategy. In terms of results, content marketing has been proved to move prospects further along their buyer’s journey, with 60% of readers moving on to seek out a product after reading content about it. Most importantly, content marketing has been found to generate three times as many leads as traditional marketing.

4. Effective content marketing tactics are those that prove client success and engage the audience

89% of marketers surveyed by Hanley Wood Marketing found case studies and customer testimonials to be the most effective content marketing tactics, while white papers were found to be much less effective this year. The Content Marketing Institute, in addition, finds that 61% of the B2B marketers surveyed ranks webinars as the top content marketing tactic for effectiveness. This just goes to show that customers prefer to see how a product / service has benefited a past client and respond positively to tactics that encourage engagement.

5. Content marketing has been a constant challenge

93% of B2B marketers surveyed by Hanley Wood create content from scratch, and 49% of them note that their biggest challenges for content marketing are bandwidth to create content and producing truly engaging content. Curata, finds similar results and highlight that 69% of marketers see the creation of original content as their biggest challenge of the year.  Despite being challenged by it, only 20% of B2B marketers were found to outsource almost 25% of their content marketing. In fact, the majority of the survey respondents outsourced less than 20% of their content marketing.

6. Google is pro-content

The search giant, in their quest to deliver exactly what their consumers want, launched their Hummingbird algorithm a few months ago. This algorithm, lets Google process the entire sentence (long-tail search query) searched rather than breaking it down word-by-word, allowing users to only see results that best match their search phrase. This update essentially cements content marketing as a key component of a business’ marketing efforts, which will further encourage its use.

What does this mean for you?

Developing content is no longer the challenge; marketers now need to develop original content that is both relevant and engaging.

With a stronger emphasis on relevance, more than ever, business owners need to be in tune with buyers’ needs. Understand their problem and need clearly before you build your product description and marketing strategy. Step into their shoes and figure out the phrases they use in online searches and incorporate those prhases into your content marketing strategy.

With 27,000,000 pieces of content shared everyday, cutting through the clutter will remain a challenge. Relevance may be the key to getting you ahead of your competition.

To understand how content marketing will evolve in 2014, refer to our blog on 2014’s content marketing trends. Otherwise, for a more in depth view of content marketing download our eBook below to find out how you can cope with the challenges of content marketing.