Sunday, June 8, 2014

How Small B2B Companies Do Content Marketing

The annual content marketing surveys conducted by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs are fantastic resources for anyone involved in content marketing. For the past couple of years, CMI and MarketingProfs have published reports that provide separate survey results based on the type of company (B2B or B2C), company size, and geography.

Most of my clients are small and mid-size B2B companies, and I've often wondered if the content marketing practices at smaller companies differ markedly from those at large B2B enterprises. CMI and MarketingProfs recently published a report that isolates the responses given to the 2014 survey questions by small B2B companies (those having 10-99 employees). This report reveals that the content marketing practices in small B2B companies are similar in several respects to the practices of larger firms.

The table below compares the survey results for small B2B companies with the results for all B2B companies represented in the 2014 survey.

As this table shows, more than 90% of survey respondents from both small and large companies say they are using content marketing. In addition, about the same percentage of respondents from both small and large companies believe their content marketing efforts are effective, and both groups of respondents say they are producing more content then they were a year earlier.

Although it's not shown in the above table, the CMI/MarketingProfs research reveals that small B2B companies devote almost as much of their total marketing budget to content marketing (on average, 27%) as larger companies (the average for all B2B firms was 30%).

One notable difference between small and large B2B companies relates to how they create content. As our table shows, only 34% of small B2B companies outsource any content creation, while the percentage for B2B companies overall is 44%. According to CMI and MarketingProfs, 73% of large B2B enterprises (those having more than 1,000 employees) outsource at least some content creation.

Larger enterprises (both B2B and B2C) typically use external marketing services professionals more than smaller firms, so the gap in content outsourcing isn't really surprising. I suggest, however, that most small companies would benefit by using outside professionals for at least some of their content development work.

Developing authoritative and compelling content requires a specific set of skills that not all marketers possess, and it rarely makes economic sense for a small company to hire a full-time professional to create content. In addition, marketing departments in small companies are often understaffed, and they simply don't have the time to create content at the pace that's needed. Under these circumstances, selectively outsourcing content development is usually the best way to obtain high-quality content on a cost-effective basis.


  1. CMI and MarketingProfs reports are very valuable.

  2. As content marketing becomes a more engrained part of how small businesses operate, they will need better and more efficient tools to create and share content. I think one of the biggest trends in 2014 will be the rise of content curation, which will let brands share valuable and relevant content rather than creating themselves. There are a growing number of curation platforms, but I would suggest checking out Pressly.