Content marketing is gaining in popularity: 83.5% of B2B marketers surveyed say they are stepping up their content marketing production over the next 12 months, up from the 71% who said so a year earlier, according to a report by Holger Schulze for Optify.
Some 15.0% of surveyed B2B marketers expect content volume to stay flat in 2012, and only 1.5% are expecting a decrease.
Below, additional findings from the 2012 B2B Content Marketing Trends Survey, based on a poll of 740 members of the B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn. Almost one-half of respondents work for high-tech (24%) or software (22%) companies, and more than one-half of those surveyed are from companies with fewer than 100 employees.
Content Marketing Goals
B2B marketers use content marketing to achieve a variety of marketing goals and cite the following as their top 3:
- Lead generation: 68%
- Thought leadership/market education: 50%
- Brand awareness: 39%
Top Content Tactics
B2B marketers also use a wide variety of content marketing tactics to achieve their goals.
The most popular content tactics are case studies (62%), whitepapers and e-books (61%), press releases (58%), newsletters (55%), and blogging (51%).
By contrast, fewer B2B marketers are using tactics such as advertorials (11%), community threading (12%), and virtual events (18%).
Effectiveness of Content Tactics
Case studies, in addition to being the most popular content tactic, seem the most effective (78%). Whitepapers rank second in effectiveness (73%), followed by in-person events (72%).
The least effective content formats are advertorials (18%), community threading (20%), and virtual events (31%).
Graphics are gaining in effectiveness: 43% of B2B marketers cite graphic content as the most effective content format, up from 28% in 2011.
Ingredients of Great Content
Among B2B marketers, successful content starts with engaging and compelling storytelling (81.5%), originality (52.6%), and customized content (49.2%), followed by well-edited copy (38.5%) and professional writing (38.3%):
Not surprisingly, LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform among B2B marketers, at 85%, followed by Twitter (70%), Facebook (54%), and YouTube (53%). (The LinkedIn number is likely skewed considering the majority of survey respondents came from the B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn).
Other key findings:
- 56% of B2B marketers cite "time and bandwidth" as their biggest challenge to creating content, and 53% cite producing truly engaging content.
- 94% of B2B marketers create new content from scratch, 39% curate third-party content, 32% reuse existing content, and just 30% encourage user-generated content.
- Top performance metrics for content marketers include Web traffic (64%), content views and downloads (59%), lead quantity (52%), and lead quality (52%).
- Only 26% of B2B marketers are actively creating content to feed their marketing automation campaign; 56% do not use marketing automation at all.
About the data: Findings from the 2012 B2B Content Marketing Trends Survey is based on a poll of 740 members of the B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn. The report was authored by Holger Schulze for Optify. Almost one-half of respondents work for high-tech (24%) or software (22%) companies, and the remaining work in other B2B companies. Most respondents hold senior-level marketing positions, and more than one-half are from companies with fewer than 100 employees. Other report sponsors were IDG Enterprise, NetProspex, Maximizer Software, and Solution Publishing.
You may like these other MarketingProfs articles related to Content:
- How Being Strategic About Content Development Can Boost Results and Save Time and Money: Ahava Leibtag on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]
- Five Serious Content Marketing Mistakes You Need to Avoid
- Your First New Content Marketing Tool for 2023 Should Be Your Sales Team
- Marketing at the Speed of Thought: AI Use Cases for Four Content Types
- How to Create a B2B Marketing Podcast in 2023—And Why You Should
- A Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content: Ann Handley on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]