Content marketing infographic

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The latest Content Marketing Benchmark Report produced by Circle Research and B2B Marketing Magazine reveals that B2B marketers have become slaves to content. 

We all know that content is king.  Three quarters (71%) of B2B marketers say it’s a very important component of their marketing activity, and a similar number (66%) are being cheered on by their senior management team to produce more.

There’s good sense in that.  Content is essential digital ‘fuel’ for social platforms, it’s invaluable in communicating brand expertise and it keeps buyers engaged throughout lengthy purchase cycles.

But the content king is turning into a bit of a tyrant.  He’s working his loyal subjects to the bone and that’s beginning to take its toll.

The pressure to produce more and more content is overwhelming the marketing department.

In B2B, content marketing now takes up 45% of the average marketing department’s time.  That’s 8% more than two years ago which equates to half a day more per week.  No wonder that the second most commonly cited challenge in relation to content marketing is resource limitations (48% name this as a challenge, second only to measuring ROI at 53%).

And the sheer volume of content being pumped out is also overwhelming the target audience.

Almost one half (45%) of B2B marketers have significantly boosted the volume of content they’ve produced in the last 12 months.  Looking ahead, a similar proportion (44%) expects to increase the volume even further over the next 12 months.  The result is that the target audience is simply switching off and becoming increasingly selective about the content they consume.  Marketers are beginning to see the impact of this fatigue – two fifths (38%) are struggling to cut through the noise, and even greater proportion (44%) are disappointed with the return they’re seeing from content marketing.

The problem with this situation is that it’s only going to get worse.  Content is going to remain a necessity and volumes will increase exponentially as more and more marketers join the arms race. However, I reckon you can get an edge not by producing more content, but by doing more with it.  Here’s how:

  • Add substance. If the target audience feels that the point-of-view you’re sharing has a solid basis in fact, then they’re more likely to give it their attention.  Your competitors are missing a trick here as only one in five (17%) regularly use survey based research in their content
  • Use neglected formats. Fewer than one half of B2B marketers are using case studies (47% use), video (34%), white papers (31%) or infographics (22%) in their content marketing efforts.    However, those using these formats find them highly effective.  You can stand apart by using these powerful, yet under-utilised formats
  • Milk it. Only a minority of B2B marketers regularly re-purpose their content (43% do so) or couple it with sales enablement activity (46%).  You can boost returns by magnifying the results of your original effort

Members of B2B Marketing Magazine can download the full report free of charge here.

Find out more about Circle Research’s B2B marcoms and advertising research here.

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About Andrew

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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