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New Research Shows the Evolution of B2B Content Marketing

David Dodd | Oct 2, 2017 112 views No Comments

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Last week, the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs published the first report relating to their latest annual content marketing survey. B2B Content Marketing:  2018 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America is based on the responses of 870 survey participants who said their company primarily sells B2B products or services. These respondents represented a wide range of industries and company sizes, and most held marketing-related positions.

The CMI/MarketingProfs survey has been conducted annually for several years, and therefore it’s possible to see how content marketing attitudes and practices have changed over time. The following table shows some of the major findings from the latest survey and the comparable findings from the 2017 edition of the survey.

In general, these results indicate that content marketing is evolving in fairly predictable ways.

The Commitment to Content Marketing Remains Strong

Fifty-six percent of respondents in the 2018 survey said their company is extremely or very committed to content marketing. This was down from 63% in the 2017 survey, but I don’t see this “drop” in commitment as particularly significant. As marketers gain experience with content marketing, their expectations become more realistic, and this can lead them to describe their commitment in a more “tempered” way.

Success with Content Marketing is Improving

In the 2018 survey, 24% of respondents described their company’s overall approach to content marketing as extremely or very successful, up from 22% in the 2017 survey. In both surveys, a majority of respondents – 63% in 2018 and 62% in 2017 – said their content marketing efforts are now much more or somewhat more successful than they were a year earlier.

The Practice of Content Marketing is Maturing

In the 2018 edition of the survey, 34% of respondents rated the maturity of their content marketing efforts as sophisticated or mature. This was up from 28% in the 2017 survey. Many companies have been practicing content marketing now for several years, so it’s not surprising that a growing number of marketers see their efforts as more mature.

The Continuing Need for Strategy

One of the disappointing findings in the 2018 survey is that only 37% of respondents reported having a documented content strategy. This percentage hasn’t changed much for the past several years. It was 37% in 2017, 32% in 2016, and 35% in 2015. The CMI/MarketingProfs surveys have consistently shown that companies with a documented content strategy achieve greater content marketing success. In the 2018 survey, for example, 62% of the respondents who described their organization’s content marketing efforts as extremely or very successful reported having a documented content strategy.

Top Image Source:  The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs

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