What Role Should Content Play in Your Overall Marketing Efforts?

If you’re like many companies, you have leftover trade show budget from the cancelled events this spring and summer, and lots of places where it could be spent. We’d argue that there’s no better place to spend it than on content marketing. The reason: the breadth of results it can offer when it’s done right.

Content marketing comes in many formats. It can take the form of the written word (such as a blog, white paper, case study or contributed article) or be a video, infographic or other form of digital content.

Content marketing should be a key tool in any marketer’s arsenal, but why is it so valuable to B2B tech companies? Let’s look at some recent industry statistics:

  • 85% of successful B2B technology marketers use content to build loyalty with existing customers.
  • 66% of marketers say content marketing is either extremely effective or very effective for their brand. 0% said it was not effective at all.
  • 88% of top content marketing performers put audience needs over their sales messages.
  • 68% of B2B marketers believe that having highly relevant content makes their brand a credible and trusted source in the eyes of customers.
  • Only 43% of B2B marketers say they measure content marketing ROI. But for tech marketers, that number grows to 48%.

So, content marketing can build brand, audience, loyalty and credibility, and a growing number of companies are measuring its return on investment. That’s a pretty sound reason for jumping on the content marketing bandwagon. But it’s the last statistic—measuring ROI—that should be taken notice of. Without measuring your successes and failures, how do you really know what’s working and what’s not? Is the written word better for your audience, and if so, what kinds of content are they consuming? Is video impactful and getting lots of hits? What about infographics? It’s important to develop key performance indicators (KPIs) for your content marketing efforts and measure, measure, measure.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, the average percentage of total marketing budget spent on content marketing is 26%. The organizations most successful with content marketing spend 40%, while the least successful spend 14%. The important thing, regardless of whether you’ll spend on the high end or the low end, is to be strategic about your spend. That means having content marketing strategy as part of your annual marketing plan.

In this strategy, it’s important to establish goals, define your audience (including vertical markets), determine how much and what types of content you need (and can afford within your budget), and define how you will measure success. This generally will include the development of a content map, which literally lists out all of the content you are planning within a given period, including topics (details can be fleshed out as the year progresses), who the intended audience is, and what form the content will take.

With marketing budgets up in the air for the first three quarters of the year, it’s important to establish exactly the role content marketing will play in this new reality. Our vote is for more, well-planned content that delivers ROI that helps you meet your marketing and business goals.

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