By Bob West
I’m writing this post just hours after having one of the most exciting conversations about content marketing that I’ve ever had with a Meister Media client. While the content marketing train continues gathering steam throughout the consumer marketing world and even among B2B firms with significant budgets, most companies in our industries remain focused on traditional trade marketing tactics such as trade shows and catalogs.
Media buying surveys indicate that roughly 80% of B2B marketers invest in digital, but only 20% of our clients buy digital media, so the concept of content marketing may seem unreachable to them. The aforementioned discussion illustrates that this is not the case, however. This client (no, I’m not going to name them and let their competitors know about this shift in their marketing plans, but everyone in their industry knows who they are) is reallocating significant chunks of its budget to support content marketing.
Why the change? Two primary reasons: First, they’re emphasizing digital marketing more than ever. The more [advertising] you do electronically, the more you need content, they told me. Yes! While digital marketing can certainly work to promote products or promotions, this company knows that true engagement comes from educating and informing.
Secondly, this company simply doesn’t think traditional tactics perform as well today as they have, so they’re working hard to diversify their marketing toolkit. (We spent a lot of time talking social media strategies and tactics.)
Results from their early efforts have been promising, but they’re confronting two key obstacles that challenge many content marketers: staffing and content management. The staffing issue will wait for another post, but recent research from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) shines a light on the key to the management issue.
B2B marketers who have a documented [content marketing] strategy are more effective and less challenged with every aspect of content marketing when compared to their peers who only have a verbal strategy or no strategy at all, according to the report, B2B Content Marketing 2015: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends — North America.
CMI’s research found that many companies work with a verbal strategy, which ultimately ends up serving more as a suggestion or guideline rather than a formalized policy or direction. Of those [content marketers] who have a documented strategy, 60% consider their organization to be effective, according to the research. In contrast, only 32% of those who have a verbal strategy say they are effective.
CMI’s conclusion is clear creating and documenting a content strategy for your company can double the program’s effectiveness and the value you derive from it, which makes perfect sense. While many of you are already using some content marketing under a different name (press release, catalogs, a company newsletter, etc.), you’ll likely struggle to reach your ultimate goal with a clear strategy and tactics for achieving the goal.
Bob West is the director of interactive sales at Meister Media, and he can be reached at 440-602-9129 or firstname.lastname@example.org