Tech Marketers Think Outside the Buyer’s Journey [New Research]

Tech Marketers Think Outside the Buyer’s Journey [New Research]

Here’s the finding that got us talking: Compared with the previous year, more technology marketers say they’re focused on creating the right content for the right person at the right time – but fewer report they’re crafting content for specific points on the buyer’s journey. Thirty-one percent of technology marketers report that their organization’s overall content marketing approach is extremely or very successful – that’s up seven percentage points from the previous year, when 24% reported high success. As you can see in the report, Technology Content Marketing 2018: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America, sponsored by IDG Communications, Inc., most respondents attribute increased success to getting better with content creation and developing or adjusting strategy – the same top factors cited in the previous year. Since CMI began conducting annual content marketing research in 2010, technology marketers have reported more use of content marketing as well as the highest levels of content marketing effectiveness or success. We see this year-over-year drop in focus on crafting content for the buyer’s journey for technology marketers, too, especially among top performers and those who say they’re the least successful: Top-performing technology marketers: In 2017, 81% of top performers said they always or frequently craft content for points on the buyers’ journey. Least successful technology marketers: While 39% said they focused on the buyers’ journey in 2017, only 24% said they did in 2018 All technology marketers: In 2017, 60% said they always or frequently focused on creating content for the buyer’s journey. What it means to you: Why do B2B marketers in general (and tech marketers specifically) seem to be paying less attention to the buyer’s journey when crafting content? Robert offers this insight to explain why more marketers say they focus on creating the right content for the right person at the right time, yet fewer report crafting content specifically for the buyer’s journey: “It could be a semantical difference to some degree, but rather than the ‘old-school’ development of content for the buyer’s journey, we’re seeing a focus on dynamically serving up content in the audience’s time – no matter what stage they happen to be in. “We’re also seeing a general maturing of the market and a shift to ‘other’ types of content programs like account-based marketing.” Is your company moving to new models like ABM and/or tiring of the “craft content for the buyer’s journey” approach? More leadership support Leadership support increased year-over-year across the board for technology marketers, no matter their reported level of overall content marketing success: The percentage of all technology marketers surveyed who agree their leadership team gives them ample time to produce content marketing results increased from 51% to 66%.

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Are technology marketers moving away from creating content for the buyer’s journey?

The CMI research team found ourselves asking this question as we analyzed the data from our eighth annual content marketing survey. Here’s the finding that got us talking:

Compared with the previous year, more technology marketers say they’re focused on creating the right content for the right person at the right time – but fewer report they’re crafting content for specific points on the buyer’s journey.

Hmmm.

More on that in a moment, but first consider that technology marketers are achieving increased content marketing success. Thirty-one percent of technology marketers report that their organization’s overall content marketing approach is extremely or very successful – that’s up seven percentage points from the previous year, when 24% reported high success.

In addition, another 50% of technology marketers this year report “moderate” success.

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And, like the previous year, nearly 70% say their organization’s overall approach to content marketing is “much/somewhat more successful” compared with one year ago.

As you can see in the report, Technology Content Marketing 2018: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America, sponsored by IDG Communications, Inc., most respondents attribute increased success to getting better with content creation and developing or adjusting strategy – the same top factors cited in the previous year.

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Since CMI began conducting annual content marketing research in 2010, technology marketers have reported more use of content marketing as well as the highest levels of content marketing effectiveness or success. They’ve often “done more” of everything – experimented with more types of content marketing, become among the first to document their content marketing strategy and use social media platforms to distribute content, etc. – thus, we consider tech marketers “early adopters.”

Therefore, when we see notable shifts in their replies to our annual content marketing survey, we think carefully about what those responses might indicate. This time, three areas caught our attention.

More emphasis on targeted, relevant, well-timed content

Top performers among tech marketers held steady year-over-year, with 78% reporting they always or frequently prioritize providing the right content to the right person at the right time. However, the total group had a big jump, with 63% reporting they do this (vs. 49% the previous year).

Robert Rose, CMI’s chief strategy advisor and head of consulting engagements, said these findings “seem to reflect something I’m seeing among clients, which is a focus on ‘personalization’ and ‘targeting’ and ‘real-time’ usage of data to optimize experiences. And there is definitely a learning curve involved.”

What it means to you:

Getting the right content to the right person at the right time requires a deep understanding of your audience. Solid buyer personas certainly play a role. But personas, while a convenient shorthand, are neither a one-and-done proposition nor the final word on understanding audience needs.

Forward-thinking marketers generally give more consideration to what their targeted audiences or personas…

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