By Joe Pulizzi published October 19, 2016

[New Research] B2C Marketers Need to Give Content Marketing Time

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If you follow Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs annual research, you learned three weeks ago that our most recent survey shows that content marketing has taken a turn for the better. Sixty-two percent of B2B marketers consider their organization’s overall approach to content marketing to be much more or somewhat more successful than one year ago. The same trend holds true for 63% of B2C marketers as we see with today’s release of B2C Content Marketing—2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America sponsored by Hightail.

63% B2C marketers say approach to #contentmarketing is more successful than 1 year ago via @cmicontent. Click To Tweet

As I detailed in my blog post about B2B marketers, there are several reasons why marketers are reporting that their organizations are more successful with content marketing this year; B2C marketers report that they’re doing a better job with content creation (77%) and developing or adjusting their content marketing strategy (71%).

77% B2C marketers are doing a better job with #content creation via @cmicontent. #research Click To Tweet

But what can we learn from the 23% of B2C marketers who say their overall success is about the same as one year ago? To what factors do they attribute their stagnancy? The top two reasons they cite are strategy issues (49%) and not enough time devoted to content marketing (48%).

2017-b2c-research-stagnant-success

Quick hits vs. long-term results

One of the disconnects we observed in the research is that while 71% of B2C respondents agree that their organization is focused more on building long-term relationships than on getting quick (campaign-like) results from their content marketing, only 52% agree that their leadership team gives them ample time to produce content marketing results.

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How can you build long-term relationships without time?

Too often, marketers expect quick results from content marketing, but it simply doesn’t work that way. In a metaphor borrowed from Chris Moritz, associate director of customer experience strategy at MRM//McCann, content marketing is like your 401(k) plan. No one should expect great 401(k) results at the beginning; rather, they should see the returns increase over time because of the compounded growth. Of course, if you want to see bigger returns faster, you can invest more at the beginning. In content marketing, quicker returns means paying to promote your best content to build an audience.

In #contentmarketing, quicker returns means paying to promote your best content says @joepulizzi. Click To Tweet

Need for commitment

Time and commitment also go hand in hand. Your organization must be committed to content marketing — in it for the long haul — if you’re going to see results and eventually be able to demonstrate ROI. As I have said, patience is often a missing, yet crucial ingredient if you want to be successful. Time and again, we see that it takes 12 to 24 months to get results — which is why commitment is so important. It’s a critical piece in building your subscriber base.

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It takes 12-24 months to get results from your #contentmarketing efforts says @joepulizzi. Click To Tweet

The B2C research shows that only 60% of respondents’ organizations are extremely or very committed to content marketing. If the rest are lukewarm and/or think that content marketing is just an experiment or that it will generate quick results, they are wasting time and money.

60% of respondents’ organizations are extremely or very committed to #contentmarketing via@cmicontent. Click To Tweet

Everything about content marketing takes time

It’s not just great content that takes time:

  • Strategy takes time.
  • Figuring out the best places to distribute content takes time.
  • Determining what works and what doesn’t takes time.
  • Measurement takes time.
  • Getting results takes time.

Don’t get me wrong: B2C marketers are doing a lot of great things; there are many positive findings in this year’s B2C report. For instance:

  • 74% report having a content marketing strategy (40% said it’s documented and another 34% have a verbal strategy).
  • 76% of those who have a strategy said it includes a plan to operate content marketing as an ongoing business process, not simply as a campaign.
  • 78% agree they can demonstrate, with metrics, how content marketing has increased audience engagement (that’s encouraging news, as brand awareness and engagement are cited as B2C organizations’ top two goals for content marketing over the next 12 months).

2017-b2c-research-organizational-goals-rev

View the report to see these and other interesting findings — including a chart on how the B2C top performers (those who rated their organizations most highly in terms of overall content marketing success) stand apart from their peers.

Want to see how you compare? Take this 5-question assessment to get personalized suggestions on how you can become more successful with your content marketing efforts. 

Download the complete B2C Content Marketing—2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America sponsored by Hightail. Want to get same-day notice of Content Marketing Institute research releases and learn more about the findings here? Subscribe to our daily newsletter.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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