Publish Your Own Research According to a survey from Ascend2, 50 percent of B2B marketers say that research reports generate leads with the highest customer conversion rates, compared to other forms of content marketing. Seek Content Downloads The same survey from Ascend2 finds that leads with high conversion rates begin with a content download. 40 percent of respondents say the source of the information doesn’t matter, as long as it is credible. Consider Increasing Your Content Marketing Budget Competition gets tougher, and audiences get more jaded. Based on their research, Content Marketing Institute finds that the most successful companies in B2B are spending approximately 40 percent of all marketing dollars on content marketing. Not only does quality content break through, but quality content creates quality leads, and mediocre content creates mediocre leads. Here’s an article Anthony Helmstetter, one of our Analysts, wrote on video marketing: Don’t Sleep on Search Despite the shift to multi-sensory content executions to break through the clutter, a Digital Donut survey found that organic search is still the top-performing method for driving traffic to content, with 44 percent of respondents listing it as one of their top three choices. Find Ways to Boost Relevancy Your prospective customers, even when in active shopping mode, have no shortage of content consumption options. Content is EVERYWHERE. Content becomes disproportionately successful when it’s more interesting at the format level (video, interactivity), or more specific and relevant to the potential customer.
B2B content marketing is almost universally embraced. 87 percent of all business-to-business organizations are using content, according to an eMarketer survey of firms with 100 employees or more.
So the question about B2B content marketing isn’t WHETHER it’s a viable marketing approach. Rather, it’s WHAT must be done in 2018 to make it more viable, and HOW content marketing for B2B must change in the face of altered customer expectations and heightened competition.
eMarketer recently released a new report on this topic called B2B Content Marketing 2018. I was one of the content marketers interviewed for this study. It’s a sound and thorough report, and I encourage you to review the summary, listen to the podcast overview, and consider becoming an eMarketer PRO subscriber to get access to the entire piece.
Good news: I’ve reviewed and analyzed the complete report. Here are my favorite findings, plus commentary on what I think they mean for the future of B2B content marketing.
Publish Your Own Research
According to a survey from Ascend2, 50 percent of B2B marketers say that research reports generate leads with the highest customer conversion rates, compared to other forms of content marketing.
(Note: Convince & Convert will be kicking off a research series soon.)
Seek Content Downloads
The same survey from Ascend2 finds that leads with high conversion rates begin with a content download. Two-thirds of B2B content marketers believe this to be the case. Compare this to webinar registration (45 percent) and demo request (37 percent).
This surprises me. I would assume (wrongly, it appears) that a webinar registration indicates more specific and meaningful interest than a content download.
Taken in tandem with the point above about research (which is typically distributed via download, like the eMarketer report) the “make research, and allow people to download it if they provide their information” is an even more sound approach.
Know That Credibility Is Only Somewhat Important
This one is disheartening to me. Research from our friends at the Content Marketing Institute and SmartBrief found that when seeking information about potential products and services in a B2B environment, prospective buyers aren’t all that concerned about where that information comes from.
40 percent of respondents say the source of the information doesn’t matter, as long as it is credible. (To which I say, “Well, then how do you know it’s credible?”)
31 percent say they prefer the information to be unbiased.
Interestingly, 24 percent prefer the information to come from the company or manufacturer that they are considering. (I call this the “fox watching the henhouse” approach to content marketing.)
Taken together, I interpret this to mean that while it is, of course, optimal to have strong third-party endorsements, creating content marketing that extolls your own virtues is more than just possible. It’s actually acceptable and desirable in many B2B consideration funnels. Fascinating!
Consider Increasing Your Content Marketing Budget
Competition gets tougher, and audiences get more jaded. That’s the current cycle in B2B content marketing. To continue to succeed, many firms are increasing investment.
38 percent of companies in B2B anticipate boosting their content marketing budgets in 2018,…