Sunday, September 20, 2015

New Research on B2B Content Marketing Trends and Practices

This summer, Starfleet Media published The 2015 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation. The Starfleet report is based on a survey of high- and mid-level marketing and sales professionals that was conducted in the second quarter of this year.

The survey produced 324 qualified responses, and respondents represented B2B companies of all sizes, from very large (more than $1 billion in revenues) to very small (less than $1 million). Most of the respondents (69%) were affiliated with companies located in North America, while 22% were affiliated with European companies.

In many ways, the findings of the Starfleet survey echo the results of research from several other firms. For example:

  • Almost nine out of ten respondents (89%) said their primary high-level objective for investing in content marketing is to acquire new customers.
  • The top three specific objectives for content marketing identified in the survey were generate more leads (92% of respondents), raise brand visibility (90%), and generate better leads (87%).
  • The top four types of content assets used in the past twelve months were case studies (67% of respondents), company-branded white papers (62%), company-branded webinars (58%), and company-branded e-books (52%).
  • Almost nine out of ten respondents (86%) identified  creating compelling content as their biggest content marketing challenge.
  • Companies across all industries produced or licensed an average of 5.5 new content assets over the past twelve months.
The Starfleet survey also revealed a few incongruities that are worth noting. For example, 90% of survey respondents agree or strongly agree that unbiased third-party content is generally perceived as more credible than company-branded content, while 83% agree or strongly agree that third-party content generally produces higher-quality leads. However, only 38% of respondents said their company had used research reports licensed from third parties during the past twelve months.

Starfleet also found a significant disparity in the number of content assets that companies create or use. According to the report, software providers produced or licensed an average of eight new content assets over the past twelve months, while the average for all other types of companies was only 3.5 content assets.

The Starfleet research also confirmed that B2B companies are making a substantial financial commitment to content marketing. Thirty-three percent of survey respondents said they spent more than half of their marketing budget on content marketing during the past twelve months, and more than one-third of respondents (36%) said they plan to allocate a greater portion of their marketing budgets to content marketing over the next twelve months.

Illustration courtesy of Flickr CC and TopRank Online Marketing

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