Agencies are banking on content marketing. More than half report that nearly half their business is in content marketing services and many feel confident they’re successfully meeting clients’ content needs.
Those are some of the findings in the newly released Content Marketing Institute 2019 Agency Survey conducted in March and April. This survey expands CMI’s previous agency research, which had only focused on how agencies use content for their own marketing.
The new results also reveal some fresh opportunities for many agencies providing full-service or specialized content marketing, in areas that stretch from content formats to stages in the buyer journey.
Read the full report to learn more about what full-service agencies (highlights below) as well as specialized agencies (e.g., SEO, video, social media) are doing.
Agency experience and growth
About half of respondents representing both types of agencies say their agency has been offering content marketing services for seven or more years, and that content marketing services comprise nearly 50% of their business.#Contentmarketing is nearly 50% of #agency business among agencies that offer the services. @CMIContent #research Click To Tweet
Among the full-service respondents, 62% say they’re serving more content marketing clients than they did one year ago and 36% say their client base has stayed the same. Only 2% saw their client load decline. Nearly 70% say their agency has increased the breadth of content marketing services offered in the last 12 months. Drilling down to services offered, only 31% of full-service agencies offer podcast services, 38% do webinars, and 45% handle live experiences.62% of agency pros surveyed are serving more #contentmarketing clients than 1 year ago. @CMIContent #research Click To Tweet
Factoring those results with other research reveals opportunity for agencies to further expand their podcast, webinar, and live-experience offerings. To make the case for your agency to grow its services, consider these facts:
- 64% of B2B marketers and 69% of B2C marketers plan to increase their use of audio and visual content, including webinars (CMI’s 2019 annual research).
- 38% of B2B and 27% of B2C marketers plan to increase their use of audio-only content (CMI’s 2019 annual research).
- Over half of Americans have listened to a podcast (The Infinite Dial 2019).
- Webinars are one of the top three content types B2B executives find most engaging (Today’s Trends in B2B Content Engagement).
- 41% of marketers believe in-person events are the most effective tactic (Bizzabo’s Event 2019 Benchmarks and Trends).
If your agency expands its service list to incorporate these less frequently offered tactics, here are a few articles to help you make the jump:
- How to Develop and Grow a Successful Podcast
- How to Get Listeners to Push Play on Your Podcast (Examples)
- The No-Fail Formula for Creating Killer Webinar Content
- How Brands Use Pop-Up Experiences to Make a Lasting Impression
- Looking for Industry Influencers? How a B2B Brand Built Its Own
Focus on the bottom of the funnel
Almost all full-service agencies work on content marketing for the top (97%) and middle (90%) of the customer journey funnel. Yet, fewer than two-thirds (61%) focus on the customer loyalty stage.97% of agency pros work on #content for top of funnel; 61% do for the customer loyalty stage. @CMIContent #research Click To Tweet
Here are a couple facts to help persuade your agency executives or your clients on the value of bottom-of-the-funnel content marketing services:
- A 5% increase in customer retention can lead to an increase in profits between 25 and 95% (Bain & Company’s Prescription for Cutting Costs).
- 68% of customers don’t return because they perceive the brand to have “an attitude of indifference” (1000ventures.com; Data source: American Society for Quality).
And, once they’re convinced, these articles can help you go deeper into the customer-loyalty-stage content:
- Struggling With Brand Loyalty? Ideas to Consider Customers for Life (Examples)
- How to Use How-To Content to Create and Retain Loyal Customers
- Is Your Content Ready to Zig and Zag With Your Buyers?
- Why Inbound Marketing Should Take a Back Seat to Current Customers
Success and more of it
Almost three out of four (73%) say their full-service agency is extremely/very successful in achieving their clients’ content marketing goals. That’s particularly good news since word-of-mouth referrals are by far the top nonpaid source for generating new content marketing-related business.Word of mouth is the most frequent source of new #content business for agencies. @CMIContent #research Click To Tweet
Given that only a little more than half of respondents said their full-service agencies (56%) pay to attract new content marketing business, unpaid sources – including agency blogs, in-person events, thought leadership, agency recognition, and other tactics – are critical to business development.
These articles can help you improve your unpaid business generators:
- Here’s What We’ve Learned From 50 of the Most Popular Blogs
- How to Create a Self-Sustaining Customer Referral Engine
- Don’t Forget the Leadership in Thought Leadership
- How to Be an Agent of Change: Examples From Top Content Marketing Winners
Agencies face many challenges
Your agency challenges are likely not unique. Many comments from respondents about their hurdles center on the perception that clients lack understanding about content marketing. Here’s a sampling of challenges they face:
- Getting clients to understand what content marketing is about and that it’s not a sell-first mentality.
- Getting the client to put the customer – rather than their product/service – first.
- Selling the value of ongoing, optimized content vs. campaign-based content.
These articles can help you give your clients a better understanding of content marketing:
- How to Explain Content Marketing to Anyone [Fresh Examples]
- 4 Ways to Shift Your Thinking to Truly Focus on Your Audience
- 9 Stats That Will Make You Want to Invest in Content Marketing
Other responses noted cost/budget and strategy issues, the use of multiple agencies, measurement/ROI, finding good writers, and others. Read the detailed report to see how many of the verbatim responses you can relate to.
You also can download the report to learn more about the breadth of services agencies offer their clients, how they staff those services, the tactics they rely on, and more. Plus, see how full-service agencies and specialized agencies compare in their answers.
To amplify your agency’s content marketing services and success, plan to attend the Sept. 3 workshop led by CMI Chief Strategy Advisor Robert Rose. And make sure to attend the dedicated agency strategies and branded content tracks during Content Marketing World, Sept. 3-6. See the agency programming details to learn more, including details on an agency-only happy hour. Use code CMIBLOG to save $100 on registration.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute