Content marketing works.  Almost three fifths (56%) of the 175 B2B marketers Circle Research recently surveyed for B2B Marketing Magazine’s Content Marketing Report have seen content marketing boost sales (most of the remainder simply don’t know the impact as measuring ROI is tough).

So maybe you already have a content strategy, but want to know what your peers are doing.  Or perhaps you’re developing a content strategy and want some pointers.  Either way, the survey results provide valuable guidance.

B2B Content Marketing Research Infographic

Focus on quality not quantity.  Those at the coal-face of content marketing have found that the most successful campaigns have three common features: the target market finds the content relevant, interesting and useful.

Balance substance with accessibility.  B2B marketers also find four content formats most effective.  Two of these – white papers and case studies – are similar in that they both provide explore a subject in depth.  In contrast the other two – video and infographics – are ‘lighter’.  This suggests that content needs to be tiered and packaged in a variety of ways.

Prioritise personal channels.  On average B2B marketers use six channels to distribute content.  Most commonly this includes email (94% use), their website (87%), social media (83%), events (71%), their blog (62%) and one-on-one meetings (49%).  However, two of these channels are most effective: one-on-one meetings (55% say this is very effective) and events (40%).

Make time.  Producing and promoting high quality, valuable content takes time.  The average B2B organisation spends more than one third (37%) of its marketing time on content.

Don’t forget the leads.  When asked which objectives content marketing best supports, B2B marketers say ‘brand positioning’ (84%) and ‘demand generation’ (70%).   Realising the latter benefit isn’t straightforward though.  One half of B2B marketers have found a way to translate content consumption into leads (50% regularly capture leads), but one half haven’t.

The full report is available from B2B Marketing members at  You may also want to check out a few ‘Best Content Marketing’ case studies from the 2012 B2B Marketing Awards.  They make interesting reading – Santa Fe’s approach led to more than 1,000 high quality one-on-one engagements and Marketing Options International saw an ROI of over 2,700%.

Read more about our approach to business-to-business (B2B) marcoms and advertising research.

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2 thoughts on “B2B content marketing research

  1. Tamar says:

    Hi Andrew, it’s great to have information about the effectiveness of B2B content backed by research. Do you have any research about what content is most relevant for customers in respect to where they are in the customer decision journey? Our platform is able to use real-time targeting to track customer’s locations, organization and digital behavior to engage them with the right content depending on where they are in the sales process. I liked your infographic too!

    1. Andrew Dalglish says:

      Thanks – a pleasure to share!

      Afraid I don’t have any details of how content should differ across the journey. Maybe one for me to add to our next survey!



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Andrew has specialised in B2B research for over a decade and co-founded Circle Research in 2006. He is a columnist for B2B Marketing Magazine, a regular contributor to Research Live and frequent speaker at leading events such as the B2B Leaders Forum, Customer Experience Live and the Social Media World Forum. Andrew is a Chartered Member of the MRS, teaches the MRS B2B research course and holds an MA in Psychology from Aberdeen University alongside an MSc in Marketing from Strathclyde University.

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