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2014 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends

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Business-to-business (B2B) marketers' confidence in content marketing continues to grow; content marketing usage rates are up from last year; and, not surprisingly, marketers with a documented content strategy are having the greatest success, according to just-released research.

The report, B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—North America (PDF), is published by MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute, and sponsored by Brightcove.

Some 93% of B2B marketers in North America are using content marketing, and, of those, 42% consider themselves effective at content marketing, up from 36% last year, the study found.

For the first time, the annual study asked marketers whether they have a documented content strategy (44% do) and a person who oversees content marketing strategy (73% do). Marketers who have a documented strategy are not only more effective but also less challenged with every aspect of content marketing.


Marketers are also continuing to invest both budget and time in content marketing. On average, B2B marketers allocate 30% of their budgets to content marketing, and 58% of marketers plan to increase content market spend over the next 12 months.

Compared with last year, marketers are using more content tactics (13 vs. 12) and more social media platforms to distribute content (6 vs. 5). Moreover, 73% of are producing more content than they were a year ago.

Below, additional findings from B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—North America.

B2B Content Marketing Tactics

Content marketing tactic usage has remained relatively consistent with last year's usage levels.

Infographics use increased most from last year: 51% of B2B marketers said they use infographics, compared with last year's 38%.

Tactic Effectiveness

For the fourth year in a row, in-person events have been cited by the greatest number of B2B marketers as being an effective tactic.

Among best-in-class B2B marketers, however, a greater proportion cite blogs as being effective: 79% say so, compared with 76% saying in-person events are effective.

Only 29% of the least effective B2B marketers say blogs are effective.

Social Media for Content Distribution

More B2B content marketers this year than last are using each of the social media platforms listed here:

Social media with the greatest increase in use from last year are SlideShare (40% vs. 23%), Google+ (55% vs. 39%), and Instagram (22% vs. 7%).

B2B Content Marketing Challenges

Aside from lack of time—a universal complaint—most B2B marketers consistently cite producing enough content and producing the kind of content that engages as challenges.

Download the full report here (PDF), or view the full SlideShare presentation now:


About the data: B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—North America (PDF) reports findings gathered from the fourth annual Content Marketing Survey conducted by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, and sponsored by Brightcove. Nearly 4,400 marketers from around the world, from a range of industries, functional areas, and company sizes, responded to the survey in July and August 2013. Among them, 1,217 respondents identified themselves as B2B marketers in North America.


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  • by Katherine Kotaw Tue Oct 1, 2013 via web

    Riveting data here, but one item in particular stands out: 79 percent of best-in-class B2B marketers say blogs are effective -- even more effective than the top-ranked in-person events -- while only 29 percent of the least effective B2B marketers think blogs are effective. Could it be that the best marketers produce the best blogs and market them with the most effective strategies? I don't question the importance of in-person events, but they are expensive and infrequent. If I were looking for consistent, cost-effective marketing, I'd focus more energy on producing story-driven, customer-focused blogs than on hosting events.

  • by Michael Kolowich Tue Oct 1, 2013 via web

    As a guy who's dedicated the last five years to making online presentations work for content marketers, I was thrilled and maybe even a little surprised to see online presentations break into the Top 10 B2B content marketing tactics -- ahead of such things as webinars/webcasts, infographics, ebooks, and podcasts. The technology of online presentations is very much on the move, and now they've turned in many cases into interactive video experiences. I think 2014 will be a year when marketers really learn how to use online presentations as a new medium...but the benchmarks study shows that people are already kicking the tires.

    Michael Kolowich
    OnlinePresentations.com

  • by John Bottom Wed Oct 2, 2013 via web

    Great data - thanks for sharing. Interesting about YouTube v Slideshare usage. So almost twice as many marketers are using YouTube than Slideshare. Curious then that the 2013 Buyersphere Report into buyer behaviour has it the other way around (http://bit.ly/buyersphereblog). According to that research, B2B buyers are twice as likely to download a ppt presentation than watch a video to support a purchase decision.

    These research pieces are not conflicting. They just suggest that marketers don't know what buyers want as well as they should. So thanks for highlighting this point!

  • by Kathy S Thu Oct 3, 2013 via web

    Thanks for pulling together this data. Regarding curating blog content, do you have any data or sources comparing the readership click throughs on RSS Feeds curated by human editors who discover and publish content vs machine generated feeds using algorithms? I am continually asked for evidence comparing the two forms of generating content: human vs machine. Thanks for any references.

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