By Joe Pulizzi published October 1, 2013

2014 B2B Content Marketing Research: Strategy is Key to Effectiveness

b2b content marketingWe always thought that having a documented content strategy would improve content marketing effectiveness, but we now know what a difference it makes. Business-to-business (B2B) marketers who have a documented strategy are more effective and less challenged with every aspect of content marketing. 

This is just one of the many findings revealed in the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs’ fourth annual B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report, sponsored by Brightcove.

Click to tweet: B2B marketers with documented strategy are more effective and less challenged with every aspect of #contentmarketing

This year’s B2B content report compares findings with years past, looking at differences between marketers who rate themselves as most and least effective. Here are some of the key findings:

Forty-four percent of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy

A documented strategy makes a difference, as 84 percent of marketers who say they are ineffective at content marketing said they have no documented strategy. B2B marketers who have a documented content strategy are far more likely to consider themselves effective (66 percent vs. 11 percent).

Click to tweet: Only 44 percent of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy. @CMIcontent.

graph on documented content strategy percentages

Confidence is growing

Not only is the adoption of content marketing on the rise (93 percent of marketers use content marketing this year compared to 91 percent last year), but 42 percent of B2B marketers consider themselves effective at content marketing, up from 36 percent last year.

Click to tweet: 42% of #B2B marketers consider themselves effective at content marketing, up from 36% last year

B2B content marketers use an average of 13 tactics

Compared to last year, the average number of tactics used has risen from 12 to 13. The use of all tactics has remained fairly consistent, with one standout: Infographics have seen a considerable increase, from 38 percent last year to 51 percent this year. B2B content marketers continue to rate in-person events as the most effective tactic.

B2B-content-research-2014-usage

(click for larger view)

The use of social media has increased across-the-board

B2B marketers are using all social media platforms to distribute content more frequently than they did last year. In addition, they now use an average of six platforms, versus five last year.

The social media platforms that have experienced the biggest surges in use, year over year, are SlideShare (40 percent vs. 23 percent), Google+ (55 percent vs. 39 percent), and Instagram (22 percent vs. 7 percent).

Click to tweet: SlideShare and Google+ are channels with biggest growth for B2B #contentmarketing

graph showing use of social media

Uncertainty about effectiveness remains, especially for social media

Each year we ask marketers to rate the effectiveness of traditional tactics, but this year we also asked them to rate the effectiveness of social media platforms. Similar to what we’ve seen with traditional tactics, there is uncertainty in terms of effectiveness. LinkedIn is the only platform that the majority of B2B marketers consider to be effective.

Click to tweet: #LinkedIn is the only platform the majority of B2B marketers consider to be effective

graph showing confidence gap-social media

B2B content marketers are increasing their budgets and creating more content

Fifty-eight percent of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months, up from 54 percent last year.

Click to tweet: 58% of #B2B marketers plan to increase content marketing budget, up from 54% last year 

This year, we also asked about the volume of content produced. Seventy-three percent of B2B marketers said they are producing more content now compared to one year ago.

graph showing change in amount of content creation

While B2B content marketers continue to be challenged with producing enough content and producing the kind of content that engages — in addition to the ever-present challenge of “lack of time” — they are still making impressive strides.

Read the entire report to get answers to these and many more questions:

  • What are best-in-class B2B content marketers doing differently than their peers?
  • What type of functions are B2B marketers outsourcing (a new question asked this year)?
  • What are the primary goals for content marketing — and what are marketers doing to measure success?
  • How are marketers tailoring content?

You can also view Brightcove’s infographic around the key findings of this year’s B2B content marketing research.

What do you think of this year’s findings? Do you agree with them? Do you see anything surprising? Let us know in the comments!

If you are interested in research, we have many more new findings coming your way, as well as explanations of the “whys” and the “what nexts.” Subscribe to our email so you don’t miss anything.

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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