The 4 Most Important Takeaways From CMI’s B2B Content Marketing Study

The 4 Most Important Takeaways From CMI’s B2B Content Marketing Study

Every year since 2010, the Content Marketing Institute has put out one of those studies on the state of content marketing. Overall, 92 percent of respondents have some form of a centralized team running content marketing. Perhaps that’s something for next year’s study. Yet, per CMI’s study, only 41 percent of B2B marketers claim to create content based on the buyer’s journey. That’s particularly surprising given that 72 percent of respondents are concerned with how content impacts customer experience. Ninety-three percent of B2B marketers use email to distribute content. And 74 percent of respondents named email as the most effective distribution format, 29 percent above the next closest method (blogs). Sixty-five percent of B2B marketers either don’t measure it at all or are “unsure” if they measure the ROI of their content marketing. But the marketers who aren’t even trying to figure out how to track ROI won’t stick around much longer.

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Content marketing studies tend to be happy-go-lucky affairs. Companies are investing more money, executives are buying in, teams are more sophisticated, and so on.

Every year since 2010, the Content Marketing Institute has put out one of those studies on the state of content marketing. CMI’s analysis of B2B content marketing is a prime example of how to get earned media. Positive statistics demand coverage and dominate headlines. But I wanted to dig deeper to draw out more unorthodox insights from the report—and not all of them are good.

Here are 4 takeaways that examine the state of B2B content marketing and point out some areas where marketers need to improve.

Centralized content teams are the norm

content marketing structure
B2B content marketing organizational structure CMI

Traditionally, content teams have been siloed from the rest of the marketing department. The idea of a centralized content operation, however, is something analysts like SiriusDecisions have been advocating for years. And according to CMI’s study, that centralization is currently taking place across the B2B space.

Overall, 92 percent of respondents have some form of a centralized team running content marketing. That data point is a big deal, suggesting that brands are making alignment and organizational efficiency priorities. (It’s worth noting, though, that the individual answers may be a bit flawed since a “centralized content marketing group that works with multiple brands/product lines throughout the organization” overlaps a lot with “small (or one-person) marketing/content marketing team [that] serves the entire organization.”)

This graph struck me as an interesting starting point for further research. I’d be curious to know what kind of content these teams create: Are they mostly producing content for a blog? Or are they also heavily involved in sales enablement, event content, customer success content, and so on? Perhaps that’s something for next year’s study.

More content needs…

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