Wikipedia defines “content marketing” thus:
Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation and sharing of content in order to attract, acquire and engage clearly defined and understood current and potential consumer bases with the objective of driving profitable customer action. Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action. Content marketing has benefits in terms of retaining reader attention and improving brand loyalty.
It’s as good a definition as any I’ve seen that focuses on the role of content – reports, videos, white papers, blog posts, whatever it might be – that, very broadly speaking, has a middleman purpose as a catalyst to connect buyer and seller.
While the report – called B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America – is about what’s happening in the US, I think there’s strong validity for looking at this report with UK eyes as well.
According to the report, B2B marketers are spending more, using more tactics and distributing their content on more social networks than they have before. There’s also more uncertainty among B2B marketers on whether they’re employing tactics effectively.
Note the top seven tactics in the chart above:
- Social media other than blogs – 87%
- Articles on your own website – 83%
- E-newsletters – 78%
- Blogs – 77%
- Case studies – 71%
- Video – 70%
- Articles on other websites – 70%
Gamification is bottom in the popularity table – largely, I suspect, because it’s still very much an emerging channel (and one seriously hyped according to Gartner).
- On average, B2B marketers are spending 33% of their budgets on content marketing, up from 26% in 2011.
- 54% plan on spending more next year.
- All content tactics are being used more frequently, with research reports, videos and mobile content seeing the largest increases.
- On average, B2B marketers are using five social distribution channels, the most popular being LinkedIn (Twitter was top in each of the past two years).
- Main challenge this year: producing enough content (in past years: producing engaging content).
On that fourth point about social distribution channels, it’s also interesting to note the tools and channels now making their way into the B2B repertoire for the first time, as the chart below indicates – from the bottom: Quora, Tumblr, Instagram, Foursquare, StumbleUpon and Pinterest.
Note, too, how Google+ has leapt up compared to last year – 39% now compared to just 13% in 2011 (its launch year).
As you might expect, and as is clearly evident in the report, social is key to everything in B2B content marketing.
It’s a worthwhile report that you will find of value in your B2B business planning. You can get a free copy of the PDF report in return for giving the CMI your contact info. And you can read the CMI’s overview. Or, check the Slideshare presentation.