By Jodi Harris published March 13, 2015

How to Win Your Battle for Content Marketing Buy-in [50+ Stats]


Buy-In-CoverOver the past several years, marketers have made tremendous strides with content marketing and, as a result, are communicating more effectively with their audiences.

Consider these data points:

  • 86% of B2B marketers report that their organizations are using content marketing, and 70% of them are creating more content than they did one year ago.
  • More than two-thirds of the marketing leaders interviewed as part of our executive research see their entire marketing department restructuring to address content marketing needs.

But despite high adoption rates and a commitment to the discipline, not all marketers think their content efforts are as effective as they could be.

One of the most significant barriers certain to impede progress: lack of executive support. If management does not believe in content marketing, it will be incredibly difficult to do all the things needed to make the program a success such as:

  • Involving the right groups
  • Securing approval on tactics
  • Receiving permission to experiment, learning from mistakes, and making essential adjustments
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To help you get the support you need, we’ve compiled a starter kit of essential talking points and support statistics you can use as the basis of your buy-in conversation.

In this post, we share the key talking point followed by supporting reasons and data for these topics:

  • Content marketing definition
  • Why businesses need content marketing
  • How content marketing helps meet consumer goals
  • How content marketing impacts organizational goals
  • Budget and resource allocation
  • Consumer and industry content marketing expectations

At the end, we share a buy-in process checklist you can view and print.

Of course, like all statistics, the data we share here simply reflect the information at this time. Mix and match the points that are most relevant to your company’s situation, and create a library of stats that point to similar trends to help build a convincing case. Or, you can view and share the SlideShare below with the highlights.

Define content marketing

Key talking point: Let’s start by understanding what content marketing is — as well as what it isn’t.

Supporting data:

  • The Content Marketing Institute uses the following definition, which reflects how the discipline has evolved – from the mere creation and distribution of content to a formal business discipline.

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

Explain why businesses need content marketing

Key talking point: With content’s high adoption rates, great potential to provide measurable business benefits, and enterprise-wide appeal, a strategic content marketing program is essential to staying competitive in today’s marketplace. 

Supporting reasons and data:

  • Sharing content has become an integral part of virtually every digital experience.
    • 27 million pieces of content are shared every day. (AOL/Nielsen, 2013)
  • Any brand not prepared to deliver quality content in a strategic way is likely operating at a significant disadvantage.
    • 86% of B2B marketers and 77% of B2C marketers use content marketing. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)
    • Content marketing emerged in 2013 as the top digital priority for B2B and B2C marketers, edging out the former front-runner – social media engagement. (Econsultancy/Adobe, January 2013)
    • 39% of marketers say they planned to invest heavily in content marketing. (Econsultancy/Adobe, January 2013)
  • Content creation and use continue to gain popularity and show no sign of slowing.
    • 70% of B2B marketers are creating more content than they did one year ago. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)
    • CMOs at the largest technology companies report that building content marketing as an organizational competency is a critical initiative – second only to measuring ROI. (IDC, 2014)
    • 56% of leading business bloggers plan to hire additional resources in the next 12 months. (Curata, 2014)
    • 77% of marketers report that they plan to increase content production in the next year. (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community, 2014)
  • Significant numbers of marketers think strategically about their use of content.
    • 48% of B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy, and 35% percent have gone so far as to document their strategy. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)
  • Content can be used to unite and support the efforts of sales, marketing, and other departments.

Address how content marketing helps meet consumer goals

Key talking point: Consumers expect content that is useful, is customized to their interests, and adds value to their experiences. If we don’t provide that kind of content, they will seek out competitors that do.

Supporting reasons and data:

  • Content is essential to supporting loyal, trusting relationships between brands and consumers.
    • 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content. (Demand Metric, 2014)
    • 90% of consumers find custom content useful. (Demand Metric, 2014)
    • 61% of consumers say they feel better about, and are more likely to buy from, a company that delivers custom content. (Custom Content Council, 2011)
  • Content dominates consumers’ online experiences.
    • 50% of consumer time online is spent engaging with custom content. (HubSpot, 2013)
  • Content marketing helps create the engaging experiences that customers seek and helps develop deeper connections between brands and consumers.
    • 64% of people say the customer experience is more important than price in their choice of a brand. (Gartner, 2014)
    • By 2020, that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. (Gartner, 2014)
    • 70% of consumers say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company. (Roper Public Affairs, 2012)
  • Content is a leading driver of brand engagement on social media and motivates consumers to take action.
    • Interesting content is one of the main reasons people follow brands on social media. (Demand Metric, 2014)
    • 60% of people are inspired to seek a product after reading content about it. (Demand Metric, 2014)
  • Content also is becoming increasingly essential for targeting younger demographics.
    • Millennials expect brands to develop content for them, with 80% wanting to be directly entertained through content marketing. (Edelman, 2012)
  • B2B audiences have also embraced content marketing and incorporated it into their purchasing process.
    • 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. (Roper Public Affairs, 2012)
    • 75% of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make B2B purchasing decisions than they did a year ago. (Demand Gen Report, 2014)
    • The average B2B buyer has completed 57% of the purchase process before engaging a vendor’s sales team. (CEB/Google, 2012)

Tell how content marketing impacts organizational goals

Key talking point: Companies that document a strategic content marketing program can have more effective lead generation, SEO efforts, internal teams, and processes. And, as the discipline evolves, we have an opportunity to experiment, distinguish ourselves, and help set the best practices that other businesses will follow for years to come.

Supporting reasons and data: 

  • Content marketing is leading the pack both in lead generation and in turning those leads into customers.
    • Per dollar spent, content marketing generates more than three times the number of leads than paid search does. (Kapost/Eloqua, 2012)
    • Content marketing costs between 31 and 41% less than paid search, depending on the organization’s size. (Kapost/Eloqua, 2012)
    • Website conversion rate is nearly six times higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters (2.9% vs. 0.5%). (Aberdeen Group, 2014)
  • As search engine algorithms evolve, content marketing is increasingly becoming essential to SEO efforts.
    • Content creation ranks as the single most effective SEO technique. (Marketing Sherpa, 2013)
  • Organizations demonstrating an ongoing commitment to content marketing create team efficiencies by building staffing infrastructure, establishing quality standards, and creating processes for producing content more efficiently and effectively.
    • 47% of B2B marketers have a dedicated content marketing group. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)
    • 71% of business bloggers have some type of center of excellence team (i.e., a team that provides a blogging code of conduct, audience engagement guidelines, best practices, and guidance to help internal teams execute their own blogging activities). (Curata, 2014)
    • 57% of all companies have two or more people dedicated to content marketing. (Contently, 2014)
    • 43% of companies have an executive in their organization who is directly responsible for an overall content marketing strategy. (Curata, 2014)
    • Marketers’ top investment areas across the content marketing space: curation and aggregation (38%); creation (34%); workflow (29%). (Altimeter, 2014)
  • The flexibility afforded by content marketing techniques such as content curation enables businesses to realize measurable results.
    • Over 50% of marketers that curate content indicate that it has increased their brand visibility, thought leadership, SEO, web traffic, and buyer engagement. (Curata, 2014)
    • 41% indicate that curated content has increased the number and/or quality of their sales-ready leads. (Curata, 2014)
  • Positive results are contributing to the growing trend of brands functioning as full-fledged publishers.
    • Red Bull reportedly employs approximately 135 people just for its media house. (Contently, 2014)
    • Nestlé’s digital editorial team consists of almost 20 community managers and designers producing content every day. (Contently, 2014)
  • Some big brands are even starting to prioritize content marketing over paid advertising initiatives.
    • Coca-Cola spends more money creating its own content than it does on television advertising, according to the Columbia Journalism Review. (Contently, 2014)
    • Kraft estimates that it generates the equivalent of 1.1 billion ad impressions a year, generating through its content marketing a return on investment four times better than through its targeted advertising. (AdAge, 2014)

Reveal how much you should budget for content marketing

Key talking point: Content marketing can be implemented at nearly any budget point. However, allocating sufficient resources is paramount to achieving our optimal success. Our budget should identify all resources – staff, materials, and media – to create, manage, and promote content effectively.

Supporting reasons and data:

  • Every hard dollar spent likely has more to do with a company’s size and the industry in which it operates than with its faith in content marketing. Nevertheless:

    • CMI’s annual B2B and B2C research studies found that the average B2B organization spends 28% of its marketing budget on content, and the average B2C organization spends 25%. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)
    • Dollar-figure estimates vary widely, from $50,000 to $50 million annually, but the median spend on content marketing was $1.75 million, with about one in six enterprise organizations spending over $10 million annually. (Content Marketing Institute Executive Research, 2014)
  • A correlation seems to exist between content marketing effectiveness and the amount of budget allocated to the discipline.
    • B2B marketers who rate themselves to be most effective allocate an average of 37% of their budget to content, while those who feel they are least effective allocate 16%. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)
  • Strategy also likely plays a role in budget allocations.
  • Overall, industry projections indicate strong growth in content marketing budgets.
    • 55% of B2B organizations and 59% of B2C organizations plan to increase their content marketing budget in the next 12 months. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)
    • Content marketers are getting bigger budgets to produce more and better results. (eMarketer, 2014).
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Share expectations

Key talking point: Content marketing can help our organization be more proactive in how we address both consumer and business needs, and be more responsive to behavioral shifts and emerging trends. With encouraging signs of growth across the industry and bullish attitudes from marketing leaders, there’s never been a better time to enable our owned media channels to start working harder for our business with a strategic content marketing program.

Supporting reasons and data:

  • The future of content marketing looks bright.
    • 78% of CMOs see content as the future of marketing. (Demand Metric, 2014)
  • The industry is growing in terms of adoption, usage, and availability of resources.
    • 77% of marketers plan to increase content production as they move into 2015. (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community, 2014)
    • 56% of leading business bloggers plan to hire additional resources within the next year. (Curata, 2014)
    • 93% of companies plan to maintain or increase their investment in content creation in the upcoming year. (The Economist Group,  2014)
  • Marketers are adjusting their priorities to accommodate consumers’ increasing thirst for useful custom content.
    • 57% of marketers report custom content is their top marketing priority for 2014. (Altimeter, 2014)
    • 88% of B2B marketers and 89% of B2C marketers are either focused on creating more engaging and higher-quality content or planning to do so in the coming year. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)
    • 84% of B2B marketers and 85% of B2C marketers are actively looking to gain a better understanding of their audience or planning to do so in the coming year. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)
    • 86% of B2B marketers and 89% of B2C marketers are assessing the effectiveness of their content, or are planning to do so within the next 12 months. (Content Marketing Institute, 2015)

Checklist: The buy-in conversation

Along with the supporting reasons and data presented here, the following checklist can help you determine how prepared you are to make a compelling case and convince stakeholders that you have positioned your content marketing strategy for optimal success.

You may not be able to get every element in place before you ask executives for their support, but the more boxes you can check, the more effective your content marketing program buy-in pitch is likely to be:

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Take the next step

Once your key stakeholders are on board, the next step is to develop and document your content marketing strategy. Download our guide, The Essentials of a Documented Content Marketing Strategy: 36 Questions to Answer, for an in-depth view of this process.

Get first-hand access to more tools, techniques, and tracks to help increase your content marketing success. Sign up here to subscribe to Content Marketing Institute daily or weekly emails with exclusive content.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Jodi Harris

Jodi Harris is the Director of Editorial Content & Curation at Content Marketing Institute. As an experienced content management consultant, Jodi focuses on helping businesses analyze their content needs and resources; build infrastructure and operations; and create and distribute relevant, engaging brand messages across multiple media channels and platforms. Jodi has developed and managed print and digital content projects for marketing, entertainment, automotive, health care, and biotech publishers, as well as for entertainment industry and media brands. Follow Jodi on Twitter at @Joderama.

Other posts by Jodi Harris

  • rogercparker

    Fresh, practical step-by-step resources for addressing what might be the hardest part of content marketing. Exhaustively-researched, but easy to read and apply.

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  • Ross

    Great article. In my industry of Higher Education, the statement that we need to “producing the right information – and deliver it at the right time” is really the only consideration we need to keep in mind. Although one can argue that our audience is constantly deciding on college choice from their sophomore year of high school until they graduate, their are key moments in time when we have opportunity to hook, line and sink them into our admission funnel.

    Answering consumer questions about your product such as its usefulness, cost, and why they shouldn’t buy from our competitor are core factors that lead to a sale. Delivering on those questions will ensure that we retain their loyalty.