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B2C Content Marketing: What a Difference Commitment Makes [2019 Research]

Editor’s note: We’ve updated our research study for 2023.

The outlook for B2C content marketing looks bright if budgets are any indication. Fifty-seven percent of B2C marketers surveyed expect their 2019 content marketing budget to increase over 2018, and 29% of those expect it to increase by more than 9%.

We don’t yet know where those increases will be spent, of course. But our latest research reveals that 56% of B2C marketers who increased spending over the last 12 months did so in the area of content creation.

Another interesting finding: B2C content marketers are focusing on their customers. Eighty-one percent of B2C marketers surveyed say they’re concerned with creating content that builds loyalty with existing clients or customers.

81% of B2C marketers say they’re concerned w/ #content creation that builds loyalty. @CMIContent 2019 #research Click To Tweet

In a recent CMI study, most marketers surveyed said they focus on top-of-funnel goals such as demand generation and brand awareness, while fewer said they focus on post-sale loyalty goals.

That so many B2C marketers are concerned with creating content to nurture relationships they’ve established makes sense: A 2017 Accenture study found that 66% of U.S. consumers spend more on brands to which they feel loyal.

66% of U.S. consumers spend more on brands to which they feel loyal via @Accenture. #research Click To Tweet

These are just a few of the findings in CMI’s B2C Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report based on the ninth annual content marketing survey conducted in partnership with MarketingProfs earlier this year.

Some of the most interesting insights from the research come from a look at the differences among organizations with varying levels of commitment to content marketing.

A strong commitment means more success

Sixty-four percent of B2C marketers report that their organization is extremely or very committed to content marketing. Those marketers also reported a higher level of overall content marketing success than their peers at less committed organizations.

These marketers also are more likely to report using content marketing successfully to reach goals such as educating the audience and building customer loyalty.

If your organization hasn’t achieved the content marketing success it seeks, look closely at the differences in responses between more committed and less committed organizations. You might find some ideas on where to focus your efforts.

Work on real buy-in

Only 16% of content marketers at less committed organizations feel strongly that they have buy-in from the upper layers of their organization. And that makes sense: Buy-in that’s less than solid almost guarantees low commitment to content marketing.

16% B2C marketers at orgs less committed to #contentmarketing feel strongly they have exec buy-in. @CMIContent Click To Tweet

Takeaway: If you’re struggling to convince your management to get behind content marketing, try one of these resources:

Get comfortable using metrics to improve your work

Even at less committed organizations, the B2C content marketers surveyed are likely to measure content marketing ROI (55% say they do); however, only 16% say they’re extremely or very proficient at using their current metrics.

Takeaway: To improve your effectiveness with metrics, be clear on your organization’s big-picture goals for content marketing. Then make sure you measure things that indicate whether you’re meeting those goals. For help matching goals and metrics, try one of these resources:

To improve effectiveness w/ metrics, be clear on your org’s big-picture goals for #contentmarketing. @LisaBeets Click To Tweet

Focus on loyalty

Like B2C respondents overall, most marketers working at less committed organizations agree they’re concerned with creating content that builds loyalty (79%); however, only half (51%) say they’ve used content marketing successfully to build loyalty with existing customers in the last 12 months.

Only 51% B2C marketers say they use #contentmarketing successfully to build loyalty in last 12 mos. @CMIContent Click To Tweet

Takeaway: Among all respondents, 63% say they’ve been successful with this goal over the last 12 months. That means there’s room for improvement even at organizations that are committed to content marketing. But what does content that builds loyalty look like?

2018 Content Marketer of the Year finalist Evan Parker shared some insights into how NASCAR keeps its fans’ interest with content. A constant stream of engaging and entertaining videos and other content keeps its audience coming back for more, even between events. Of course, to know which pieces are generating the best results for your goals, you need to determine what’s working. Here are some ideas to help:

Remember to educate

Although 67% of respondents at B2C companies less committed to content marketing say they use educational content to nurture audiences, only about half (53%) say they’ve used it that way successfully in the last 12 months. In contrast, 65% of marketers at organizations very committed to content marketing report success in educating their audiences.

Takeaway: Make sure your content fills an informational need for your audience, not just a marketing need for your brand. Some companies take education so seriously, they build a strategy around offering online or in-person classes (Zappos, Apple, and Williams Sonoma are a few.)

Make sure your content fills an informational need for your audience, not just a marketing need. @LisaBeets Click To Tweet

Commitment in action

Content Marketing World 2018 had more B2C attendees than in any prior year. Anyone who believed content marketing is primarily for B2B marketers (hint: it never really was) would do well to think again. As our latest findings show, content marketing is alive and well at all kinds of organizations.

View the B2C report for more insights, including:

  • How many marketers are using social media stories, video snippets, and other newer content types
  • Which paid methods of content distribution marketers use most
  • What technology they’re using to manage their content marketing efforts and more

Find all of CMI research here. Sign up to receive our free weekday newsletter to ensure that you receive the earliest notification about new research plus tips, trends, and tools to help your content marketing program.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute