By Joe Pulizzi published October 15, 2013

2014 B2C Content Marketing Research: Strategy Influences Success

b2c content marketing research title pageLast year, we took our first look at how business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers are using content marketing. Our second annual B2C Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends — North America, produced by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs and sponsored by Imagination, reveals what has changed. It also provides some solid insight into what differentiates effective marketers from their less effective peers.

One of the key observations — and we saw this with our recent business-to-business (B2B) research as well, is that marketers with a documented content marketing strategy rate themselves as more effective in every area of content marketing when compared with those who do not have a strategy. Unfortunately, it seems that many marketers do not a have a documented strategy in place to guide their efforts.

More B2C marketers use content marketing — but the majority have no documented strategy

Content marketing usage among B2C marketers has risen from 86 percent last year to 90 percent this year. However, not even half of those marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. On the other hand, when we take a deeper dive, 60 percent of B2C marketers who rate themselves as most effective at content marketing, do indeed have a documented strategy. Not surprising, only 12 percent of marketers who rated themselves as least effective have a documented strategy.

pie chart-documented content strategy

Click to tweet: More B2C marketers use content marketing — but the majority have no documented strategy #CMIcontent 

Tactic effectiveness ratings are up

B2C marketers’ confidence in the 10 tactics they consider to be most effective has risen this year, with the exception of blogs, which are down two percentage points. For the second year, B2C marketers have rated in-person events as the most effective tactic, with confidence in effectiveness increasing substantially (from 62 percent last year to 74 percent this year).

chart-confidence gap

Click to tweet: B2C marketers have rated in-person events as the most effective content marketing tactic #CMIcontent

B2C marketers are using social media more frequently

As we’ve seen with B2B marketers, B2C marketers are using all social media platforms more frequently this year than they did last year. LinkedIn had the biggest jump in B2C usage: from 51 percent last year to 71 percent this year. This year we also asked marketers to rate the effectiveness of social media platforms. We found that even though social media usage is up, marketers are still uncertain about its effectiveness.

chart-social media use-percentages

Click to tweet: Though B2C marketers’ social media usage has increased, they are uncertain about its effectiveness #CMIcontent

B2C marketers plan to increase content marketing budgets

Sixty percent of B2C marketers expect their organization’s content marketing budget to increase over the next 12 months — up from 55 percent last year. Perhaps even more interesting is that 69 percent of the least effective B2C marketers plan to increase their budget, compared with 55 percent of the most effective.

pie chart-b2c content marketing spending

Click to tweet: 60% of B2C marketers expect their company’s #contentmarketing budget to increase over the next 12 months #CMIcontent

Organizations are creating more content

Seventy-two percent of B2C marketers said they are producing more content now, compared with a year ago. That number is even higher for the most effective marketers (77 percent) and those who have a documented content marketing strategy (81 percent).

pie chart-change in amount-b2c content creation

Click to tweet: 72% of B2C marketers said they are producing more content now than they did a year ago. #CMIcontent 

To learn more about the changing landscape of B2C content marketing and get additional insights on what differentiates the marketers who are most effective, download the full report.

B2C marketers: We’d love to hear from you. Does this match what you are experiencing? What other questions do you have? Let us know in the comments.

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, Managing Content Marketing and Get Content Get Customers. Joe's latest book is Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill). If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi

  • Sam Sinton

    I am not a content marketing professional or SEO – though I run numerous websites. Would it be possible to post an example of a well “documented content strategy” – or offer a downloadable example?

    Or if not offer some form of guidance as to what should be included?

    I understand that these will vary greatly from case to case & am not looking for a template, just an idea of the various things to be considered.

    I am surprised that so many “professional” content marketers are so poorly prepared – or at least not documenting their strategy.

    • http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/ Joe Pulizzi

      Hi Sam…we have a number of site resources, and are working on a few mini-templates for this…but there are two books that will really help with this: Managing Content Marketing and Epic Content Marketing. Both include the A to Z of creating a content marketing strategy.

  • http://brightideas.co/ Trent Dyrsmid

    Joe, thanks for sharing your latest research. It’s great news for marketing agencies large and small that businesses continue to use more content marketing and social sharing, and plan to use even more.

  • Alicia Hernandez

    Thanks

  • Nancy Uy

    Despite the lack of content strategy, almost half of B2C content marketers have chosen to invest more in content marketing. Content marketing done right works no matter what. But for it to keep doing content marketing well, one has to eventually start investing in content strategy. Thoughts from others?

    • Jayden Barbour

      I agree with you that content marketing when done correctly always works. But there needs to be a sense of evolution. To change it into something better and more effective. For now this works, but the changes to come might provide something better.

  • Georgwithoute

    I would love to see a slide in your Report about how the most effective B2C (and B2B in your other article) Campaigns reached there organizational goals. Or a seperated chart of theire goals at least.

    • http://www.contentmarketinginstitute.com/ Michele Linn

      Nice idea! While the data does not reveal *how* effective marketers are reaching their goals, I will see what data we can pull to show if / how effective marketers are using different organizational goals than their less effective peers. We can also pull some anecdotal stories together on how marketers are achieving their goals with content.