June 03, 2013

It's Not Just About Content; It's About Good Content

Except for those who’ve been living under a proverbial rock for the past few years, content marketing is all the buzz in the advertising world. But according to recently released research, business customers are by and large dissatisfied with the quality of the content vendors have been churning out.

According to research conducted by the Chief Marketing Officer Council and NetLine, most companies engaged in business-to-business (B2B) content marketing lack a clear focus when it comes to effectively engaging their target markets. These B2B marketers spend $16.6 billion annually on creating digital content—25 percent of their marketing budgets—yet lack a clearly defined strategy and best practices in order to successfully cater to and engage their audience. On top of this, the research shows these businesses lack the proper tools to survey the effectiveness of their content marketing campaigns.

What does this all mean? That anyone can create content. But not everyone can create good content, the kind of content necessary in order to convert leads to customers.

“Improving content relevance and performance is a strategic imperative for B2B marketing organizations,” explains Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of the CMO Council. “B2B buyers are looking for content that’s original, consultative and highly pertinent to where they are in their decision-making process. Too many vendors are failing these buyers with overly promotional and overly technical content that doesn’t adequately address market challenges and customer needs.”

The research went on to indicate that content marketing does in fact influence purchasing behavior. Of 400 business buyers surveyed, 87 percent indicated content marketing plays a “major to moderate” role in business purchasing decisions. Why? Because the content identifies new approaches to problems, introduces new thought leadership, validates the value of products and solutions and highlights companies who understand customer issues, according to the survey results.

When laying out your content marketing strategy, it’s important to understand your audience and what they like because it’s likely that content will be spread. According to survey results, 28 percent of respondents reported that they share online content with more than 100 colleagues, while 31 percent said they share it with 25 to 100 colleagues.

So what kinds of content do B2B customers like the most? Sixty-seven percent of survey respondents said reports and papers produced by professional associations are the most trusted, compared to nine percent saying that vendor-producer papers were trusted. Survey respondents also indicated what they don’t like to see in content marketing: content that has too many requirements in order to download, content that is blatantly promotional and doesn’t provide much other value, content that is uniformed and content that is overly technical.

By creating content with the wishes of the customer specifically in mind, businesses set themselves up in a position to see the seeds of their content marketing campaigns grow.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin

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