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1 Benchmark Report Content Marketing in 2014: Sponsored By: 2014 Demand Metric Research Corporation in Partnership with Ascend2. All Rights Reserved.

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS 3 Executive Summary 10 Content Campaign Resources 4 Content Marketing Objectives 11 Content Marketing Software Usage 5 Current Content Marketing Success 12 Channel Effectiveness for Content 6 Obstacles to Content Marketing Success 13 Content & The Sales Cycle 7 Premium Content Usage 14 About Marketo 8 Content Type Effectiveness 15 About Demand Metric & Ascend2 9 Content Type Execution 16 Appendix Survey Background

3 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Content is an essential component of marketing. Buyers self-educate more deeply into the sales cycle than every before. Content marketing is an essential strategy to attracting, engaging and acquiring customers during this self-education process. Yet only 13% of respondents believe their content strategy is very successful at achieving important objectives. What will content marketing success look like in the year ahead and how will marketers achieve it? To find out, Demand Metric in partnership with Ascend2 fielded the Content Marketing Survey and completed interviews with 521 marketing and sales decision-makers and practitioners from around the world. We thank these busy professionals for sharing their valuable insights with you. The charts in this report compare the strategies and practices of small and mid-size businesses (SMB) with large enterprises. This research has been produced for your use. Put it to work in your own marketing strategy planning and presentation materials. Clip the charts and write about them in your blog or post them on social media. Please share this research credited as published. - Jerry Rackley, Chief Analyst Demand Metric 3

4 CONTENT MARKETING OBJECTIVES Figure 1: Most Important Content Marketing Objectives Most Important Content Marketing Objectives Increase number of leads generated 53% 56% Increase brand or product awareness 52% 43% Improve sales-readiness of leads 32% 26% Increase number of website visitors 29% 31% Improve organic search (SEO) rankings 26% 33% Increase direct sales revenue 25% 27% Improve customer retention rate 24% 18% Increase marketing ROI 24% 28% Increase social media engagement 20% 20% 0% 20% 40% 60% As a strategy, content marketing is capable of delivering each of the benefits listed in Figure 1. This data makes clear that lead generation is the current top objective for content marketing strategies with companies of all sizes. As a lead generation strategy, content marketing is more effective when paired with other objectives on this list, such as increasing website visits and improving organic search rankings. While these latter objectives are not highly ranked, they also are top drivers of lead generation performance. 4

5 CURRENT CONTENT MARKETING SUCCESS Figure 2: Rating of Current Content Marketing Program Success Ratings of Current Content Marketing Success 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 81% 67% Nearly three-quarters of all companies consider their content marketing efforts only Somewhat successful. Measuring success begins with having an objective and then identifying and tracking related metrics. Merely publishing quality content does not provide a means of understanding its impact. 30% 20% 10% 0% 8% 16% Very successful Somewhat successful 12% 18% Not successful Twice as many small and mid-size businesses (16%) have achieved Very successful status as have large enterprises (8%). Regardless of size, all organizations need a content marketing dashboard to measure their success in this area. 5

6 OBSTACLES TO CONTENT MARKETING SUCCESS Figure 3: Most Challenging Obstacles to Content Marketing Success Obstacles to Content Marketing Success Lack of an effective content marketing strategy Lack of internal content creation resources Inability to measure content marketing ROI Lack of marketing and sales alignment Curating or repurposing existing content Writing original articles and blog posts Lack of premium content (may require registration) Lack of content outsourcing budget Lack of social followers to consume content 52% 36% 44% 49% 38% 32% 25% 18% 24% 19% 24% 41% 21% 11% 17% 23% 13% 19% 0% 20% 40% 60% Of the top two obstacles identified here, the first is strategic in nature, the second tactical. To just publish great content is not a strategy. You must have a goal. The tactical obstacle is solved with money, and the money comes from a business case built around the strategy. Strategy is less an issue for SMBs than their Enterprise counterparts. Creating content is a time and resource-intensive endeavor and a major challenge for companies with limited resources. Curating and repurposing existing content requires fewer resources. 6

7 PREMIUM CONTENT USAGE Figure 4: Premium Content Usage Premium Content Usage Videos 72% 57% enewsletters 62% 56% White papers 59% 54% Webinars 54% 42% Case studies 51% 54% Research reports 41% 33% Infographics 33% 35% Product demos 32% 29% Interactive apps 21% 10% None of the above 2% 6% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% Most content starts in written form, but ends up deployed across a variety of content types. When determining content types, it is imperative to first understand the audience for the content. A single piece of content is often deployed in a variety of types. Premium content is more compelling and therefore attracts more views and shares. It is a tactic that often requires some form of registration to generate leads, the most important content marketing objective. Videos, enewsletters and white papers are the most frequently used types of premium content. 7

8 CONTENT TYPE EFFECTIVENESS Figure 5: Most Effective Content Types Used Most Effective Content Types Used Videos 20% 14% enewsletters 15% 17% Webinars 15% 17% Case studies 14% 11% Articles 12% 10% Research reports 9% 11% White papers 7% 16% News releases 4% 1% Infographics 4% 4% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% The distribution of responses to this question about effective content types is fairly even, reinforcing the truth that all forms of content can have impact. Enterprises rank video content first, while SMBs rank it fourth, perhaps reflecting the perceived barriers to producing video content. These barriers are falling. SMBs rank enewsletters and webinars first with white papers second. Many organizations repurpose a single piece of content, expressing it across a number of types. 8

9 CONTENT TYPE EXECUTION Figure 6: Most Difficult Content Types to Execute Most Difficult Content Types to Execute Videos 27% 27% Webinars 13% 9% Case studies 13% 12% News releases 12% 4% enewsletters 9% 6% Research reports 9% 12% White papers 8% 18% Infographics 5% 7% Articles 4% 6% 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% Video, one of the most effective content forms, is also perceived as the hardest to execute. Achieving studio quality video in-house is more difficult for resource-starved companies of all sizes, but costs are coming down as the production tools improve. Research reports and white papers often benefit from specialized skills that smaller organizations may not have. Decisions about content type, however, should be based on audience preference, not difficulty of execution. 9

10 CONTENT CAMPAIGN RESOURCES Figure 7: Content Marketing Campaign Resources Used 70% Content Marketing Campaign Resources Used Enterprise SMB 60% 50% 62% 53% More than half (53%) of SMBs use only in-house resources to execute content marketing campaigns. 40% 30% 20% 44% 32% 68% of large enterprises outsource all or part of their content marketing campaign creation and implementation, gaining higher levels of expertise and performance available outside the organization. 10% 0% 6% 4% Outsource all or most campaigns to an agency or consultancy Use a combination of outsourced and in-house resources used Use in-house resources only Outside resources are helpful for obtaining specialized skills or to remain agile in the production of content. 10

11 CONTENT MARKETING SOFTWARE USAGE Figure 8: Content Marketing Software Usage Content Marketing Software Usage 50% 40% 43% 47% It s not currently possible to automate the generation of content, just about every other aspect of content marketing can benefit from automation or management software. 30% 20% 26% 21% 31% 33% Many software solutions are available to automate, track and manage the content marketing process. However, 31% of large organizations and 33% of SMBs don t use such software yet. 10% 0% Extensive use of marketing software Limited use of marketing software We don t use marketing software As firms invest more deeply in content marketing, the use of software to help manage and automate the process will become more compelling. 11

12 CHANNEL EFFECTIVENESS FOR CONTENT Figure 9: Most Effective Channels for Content Distribution Most Effective Channels for Content Distribution Websites 68% 52% 58% 62% Social media (other than blogs) 37% 37% Online events (webinars etc) 24% 19% Offline events (tradeshows etc) 23% 25% Organic search (SEO) 23% 22% Blogs 16% 25% Paid search or online ads 14% 17% Direct mail or print ads 8% 14% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% Websites are a repository for content and the most effective channel for the Enterprise segment. is a highly ranked channel by organizations of all sizes. Organizations that use multiple channels, optimizing content for each one, tend to enjoy the greatest success. What s most important is to understand why a channel is effective. Almost always, it is because it is preferred by the audience. Content marketers must remain audience driven when developing and delivering content, or risk losing relevancy. 12

13 CONTENT & THE SALES CYCLE Figure 10: Types of Sales Cycles Encountered Types of Sales Cycles Encountered 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 54% 41% Long and complex sales cycle involving multiple decision-makers 12% 20% 35% 39% Short and direct sales Both types of sales cycles cycle involving one or two encountered equally decision-makers Content marketing strategies can accomplish many purposes, but ultimately, most marketers hope to influence buyers, either directly or indirectly. The longer the sales cycle, the more valuable content becomes. It s critical to have what the content buyers are looking for when they are self-educating early in the sales cycle. The buying stages and buyer personas involved in a long and complex sales cycle are definable, so content can be created and targeted for each persona and stage. 13

14 ABOUT MARKETO Marketing Software. Easy. Powerful. Complete. You want results and you want them fast. The Marketo platform is built by marketers, for marketers. Everything you need marketing automation, social campaigns, inbound marketing, sales apps, ROI reporting, - all in one place. For more information, visit 14

15 ABOUT DEMAND METRIC & ASCEND2 About Demand Metric Demand Metric is a global marketing research & advisory firm serving a membership community of over 40,000 marketing professionals, CEOs, and business owners with advisory services, 100+ research & benchmark reports, 20+ consulting methodologies, 50+ training e-workshops & courses, and a library of 500+ practical tools and templates. Using Demand Metric resources, members complete projects faster and with greater confidence, boosting respect for the marketing team and making it easier to justify needed resources. Our 1,200+ corporate clients range from start-ups to consulting firms to members of the Global To learn more about Demand Metric, please visit: About Ascend2 Ascend2 is a market research firm with over 50,000 research subscribers and survey panelists comprised of sales & marketing professionals. Each month they field new research studies and generate reports that typically include 12 to 18 pages of charts and analytical commentary. Demand Metric partners with Ascend2 to leverage their panel of research survey panelists and develop additional benchmark reports for community members. Learn more about Ascend2 at 15

16 APPENDIX SURVEY BACKGROUND Surveys are conducted online from a panel of more than 50,000 Ascend2 research subscribers, representing US and international marketing and sales decision-makers and practitioners in a range of contact roles, company types, sizes and geographic regions. The questionnaire used incorporates standardized research practices across all studies while maintaining a proven 3-minute survey format. Survey findings are examined in a quantitative context by experienced analysts and reported objectively. The Demand Metric and Ascend Content Marketing Benchmark Report was administered online in January During this period, 521 responses were collected that were qualified and complete enough for inclusion in the analysis. Summarized below is the basic categorization data collected about respondents to enable filtering and analysis of the data: Primary Role of Respondent: Owner or Officer (35%) Marketing or Sales Management (42%) Marketing or Sales Staff (15%) Other (8%) Employee Size: Enterprise More than 1000 (16%) SMB 10 to 1000 (58%) Fewer than 10 Not Included (26%) 16

17 Benchmark Report For more information, visit us at: Demand Metric Research Corporation 562 Wellington Street London, ON, Canada N6A 3R Demand Metric Research Corporation in Partnership 2013 Demand with Ascend2. Metric Research All Rights Corporation. Reserved. All Rights Reserved.

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