By Joe Pulizzi published May 7, 2013

6 Signs That B2B Small Businesses Have Big Plans for Content Marketing

b2b content marketing Over the last several months, we have been looking at how content marketing usage varies across vertical markets, geographies, and company sizes, based on original CMI research. Today, we focus on the demographic of B2B small business marketers (i.e., companies with 10 to 99 employees) that operate in North America.

What I love about the data from our latest study, B2B Small Business Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budget, and Trends – North America, sponsored by Outbrain, is that we can see some striking differences in how small businesses use content marketing compared with their enterprise marketing peers (i.e., companies with 1,000+ employees). Take a look at a few of the highlights:

Small business marketers spend more of their budgets on content marketing

B2B small business marketers allocate 31 percent of their budgets to content marketing, and 57 percent say they are planning to increase this amount. Their B2B enterprise peers, on the other hand, allocate 24 percent, with 46 percent of respondents saying they plan to increase their spends.

small business plan increased spending

Small business marketers use fewer content marketing tactics

B2B small business marketers reportedly use an average of 12 content marketing tactics, whereas their enterprise peers use 16. And even though small business marketers say that in-person events top their list of most effective content marketing tactics, events are not among those they use most often, instead favoring social media – other than blogs (86 percent); articles on their website (82 percent); and eNewsletters (81 percent).

The study also found that B2B small business marketers use videos less often than their enterprise peers do (73 percent vs. 87 percent), but use blogs more often (76 percent vs. 70 percent). Also, in terms of effectiveness, B2B small businesses have more confidence in books (55 percent vs. 35 percent) and blogs (60 percent vs. 46 percent) than their enterprise peers do.

They use more social media platforms to distribute content

B2B small business marketers use an average of five social media platforms, whereas their enterprise peers use four. As for which platforms they prefer, small business marketers use LinkedIn (83 percent) most often, with Twitter (81 percent) and Facebook (80 percent) following closely behind. Their enterprise peers, on the other hand, use Facebook most often (80 percent), followed by Twitter (76 percent) and YouTube (74 percent).

social media platform use

More than half create their own content in-house

Just 39 percent of B2B small business marketers outsource content creation, compared with 65 percent of their enterprise peers who rely on outsourcing.

content creation insourcing vs. outsourcing

They are challenged with keeping up with the high demand for content

Producing enough content is the greatest content challenge B2B small business marketers say they face, whereas their enterprise peers cite producing the kind of content that engages as their top content concern.

Just 34 percent believe they are effective at content marketing

Like their enterprise peers (32 percent), B2B small business marketers struggle with their effectiveness at content marketing. However, small business marketers appear to believe that continued investment in content marketing will ultimately pay off: Forty-six percent of those who rate their organizations as least effective at content marketing are nevertheless planning to increase their content marketing budgets over the next 12 months.

rating effectiveness

Want to learn more? Download the full report for additional insight and answers to questions like:

  • What goals do B2B small business marketers have for content marketing?
  • How do they measure content marketing success?
  • How are they tailoring their content?
  • What are the notable characteristics of a best-in-class B2B small business content marketer?

What do you think about these results? Are our findings consistent with your content marketing experiences? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about how small businesses approach content marketing, register for the Small Biz Summit being held at Content Marketing World on September 12, 2013 in Cleveland.

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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