Four Key Discoveries from “The Economist’s” Global Content Survey of Brand Marketers and Their B2B Audiences
The Economist, in association with New York-based marketing research firm Peppercomm, recently conducted a global survey of top business leaders and marketers on the topic of content marketing. 500 global business executives were surveyed to find out what they look for from content providers, and 500 global marketers were asked about how they build their content strategy. Findings were published in a study titled “Missing the Mark: Global Content Survey of Brand Marketers and their B2B Audiences.“
Let’s take a brief look at four key discoveries from “Missing the Mark”:
1. Though marketers are increasing their investment in content, content strategy remains poorly understood organizationally
93% of brand marketers surveyed have plans to either maintain or increase their budget for content marketing. Despite this heavy investment in content creation, less than a third of marketers believe that the purpose of the brand’s content is highly understood within their organizations.
2. There is a massive disconnect between the content that business executives seek and the content that marketers provide
The majority of global business leaders surveyed (75%) report that they turn to content to research complex business ideas within their industries. Specifically, executives find the most value in content that helps them to better understand the general views and practices of their peers. Also, content that presents two sides of complicated industry issues and content that confirms or sheds new light on business strategies are considered to have value.
Conversely, 71% of executives have a strong distaste for content that reads like a sales pitch. Unfortunately, most marketers produce content in order to sell. 93% of marketers surveyed reported that they connect their content directly to a product or service.
3. There is an equally large disconnect between the goals of content marketers and the KPIs they use to measure success
85% of marketers surveyed believe that the primary purpose for creating content is to strengthen their brand and build positive awareness of the company.
Yet, 70% directly measure the effectiveness of their content by the number of leads it generates. By evaluating the success of content marketing strictly by leads, brands end up creating the exact type of sales-centric content that business leaders dislike. Many of these brands simply have no better alternative, as a third of global marketers report that they simply do not know (or do not have access to) the proper KPIs to accurately assess their content marketing campaigns.
4. Content medium is very important to business executives
At the end of the day, traditional digital content mediums still resonate best with global business leaders. 85% of those surveyed prefer text-based articles, while only 5% polled find video to be useful for helping to make business decisions. The majority (78%) of executives surveyed prefer to browse content on their laptop or desktop computers, with only 7% reporting a preference for smartphone consumption.
As marketers, we must double down on our efforts to raise awareness within our organizations about the value of content marketing. We must also strive to find or develop a mix of KPIs that will not necessitate turning our content in a sales pitch.
Even more importantly, we are presently faced with a unique opportunity to make our content stand out from the crowd simply by providing executives with the type of content they are looking for. By putting our customer first, resisting our natural urge to sell and presenting our content in a way that aligns with reader preference, we maximize our chances to build influence and brand equity.
You can follow Ken Bowen, Manager of Editorial Content, MECLABS Institute, on Twitter at @KenBowenJax.
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