By Joe Pulizzi published April 3, 2013

B2B Content Marketing in the Software Industry: 6 Points From New Research


The Content Marketing Institute is excited to publish B2B Software Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budget, and Trends — North America, sponsored by International Data Group (IDG). This report, which reveals how business-to-business (B2B) software marketers replied to questions on our most recent survey on B2B content marketing, shows that this group — in many ways — has embraced content marketing with more gusto than any other industry we’ve studied.

For example, nearly all software marketers (99 percent) are now using content marketing. They use more tactics (14) than their B2B peers overall (12) and they use those tactics with greater frequency. Here are some of the other key insights:

Software marketers prioritize their goals differently than their B2B content marketing peers do

Lead generation, thought leadership, and lead management/nurturing are more important goals for software marketers than they are for their B2B peers, who generally cite brand awareness and customer acquisition as their top goals.

They measure content marketing success differently

While website traffic is an important measurement tool for software marketers, it is not as important to them as sales lead quality. Their B2B content marketing peers, on the other hand, rate website traffic as their number one metric.


They are on par with their peers in terms of social media use (even though they don’t rate it as being very effective)

Social media (excluding blogs) is the content marketing tactic that software marketers use most, as is the case with their B2B peers. However, just 39 percent of software marketers (and 49 percent of their B2B peers) believe it is effective. Software marketers say webinars/webcasts are the most effective content marketing tactic, while their B2B peers cite in-person events as most effective.


They use an average of five social media platforms

Like their B2B content marketing peers overall, software marketers reported an average usage of five social media platforms to distribute content. They use Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and SlideShare more often than their B2B peers do, and Google+ and Pinterest less often.

Fifty-three percent will increase their content marketing spend

On average, software marketers allocate 29 percent of their total budget to content marketing (their peers allocate 33 percent). Slightly over half of software marketers are planning to increase this amount over the next 12 months — a figure that is in line with the amounts we see marketers in other industries investing.

Producing enough content is a challenge

Like most other content marketers, the two biggest challenges software marketers face are producing enough content and producing the kind of content that engages.

While most other challenges are similar to those experienced by their B2B peers, software marketers do struggle more often with lack of integration across marketing: 36 percent of them say this is a challenge, compared with 25 percent of their peers across all industries.


Special thanks to MarketingProfs for their participation in the annual survey on content marketing and the overall B2B North America comparisons made here.

Want to learn more? Download our full report to get answers to more questions, such as:

  • How effective do software marketers think they are at content marketing?
  • How often do they outsource content creation?
  • How do they tailor their content?
  • What does the profile of a best-in-class software content marketer look like?

Are our findings consistent with what you are experiencing? Let us know in the comments!

For more insights on content marketing in the software industry, register for the Content Marketing World Tech Summit being held September 12, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio.

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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  • Julia Borgini

    Yep, I’ve noticed that software companies are more active on social media like Twitter and LinkedIn than others. I find there’s more interaction between them on Twitter as well.

    Thanks for the report! Very interesting.

  • ShaneSchick

    Hi, trying to download the full report but the link just takes me back to this blog post. Thanks.

    • Michele Linn

      Hi Shane,
      My apologies for that. The link has been updated.

  • Rick Noel, eBiz ROI, Inc.

    Interesting research Joe. This broad adoption (99%) of content marketing in the software and other technology industries is creating a dense, crowded body of knowledge comprised of a lot of content of varying quality. The key for b2b marketers to cut through the noise now has to be finding the content void in their relevant space, then, based on target market demand as estimated by search, filling that information void with extraordinary, remarkable and differentiated content to get the desired impact/ROI. Thanks for sharing.

  • Asokan Nirmalarajah

    Thanks for the illuminating stats! The tricky part about creating valuable and lasting content, it seems to me, is to not overstuff your site with essentially pointless, derivative and repetitive articles while at the same time drawing your readers back over and over again to your site with the promise of new aspects to your particular service or field of expertise.

  • Barbara Mckinney

    Whatever you do to
    build a content team, keep in mind that you need to make it fun, and you need
    to make the time for people to develop their content ideas during the work
    day. As you are planning for this year
    and beyond, content marketing will continue to be a hot topic. And the need to provide fresh, relevant
    content will always be there.Thanks for this very informative article Joe!