Content Marketing in B2B Enterprises: Results from the Latest Research [Content Marketing Podcast 224]
A new report from the Content Marketing Institute gives some insight into the content marketing attitudes and practices of B2B enterprise organizations.
Welcome to Episode 224 of the Content Marketing Podcast!
If you joined us for last week’s podcast, you’ll recall we talked about crisis management, looking at a cautionary tale around a little company called United Airlines, and the role of content marketing in building solid online reputations — before a crisis hits. (Need to get caught up?)
Today we’re looking at the latest report from the Content Marketing Institute and sharing some insights on the content marketing practices of B2B enterprise organizations.
Give today’s episode a listen to hear:
- Hey, Houston peeps, early bird pricing for the MarTech Conference has been extended to May 8. Who wants to join me there?
- How to grab your copy of our complimentary audio and e-book “B2B Content Marketing: From the Blog to the Bottom Line“
- Our latest News Feed segment:
- Snapchat launches augmented reality feature World Lenses (click here to learn more)
- Facebook announces its own augmented reality initiative (click here to learn more)
- Content Hit of the Week: “How Small Marketing Teams Can Achieve Big Content Wins” by Jacob Warwick on the MarketingProfs blog
- The latest report from the Content Marketing Institute offers insights into the content marketing practices of B2B enterprises (you can download a copy here)
- How enterprises compare with the larger B2B population that CMI reported on in the Annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report
- Tip of the Week: How to use content to guide prospects through the B2B sales funnel (to learn more, check out B2B Content Marketing: From the Blog to the Bottom Line)
Please remember that this podcast is about you — your questions, your frustrations, your hopes and dreams for your content marketing program. So please take a moment to send me your feedback, questions, or comments via email, on our Facebook Page, or via Twitter.
Today’s Video Transcript
Content Marketing Podcast 224: Content Marketing for B2B Enterprises: Results from the Latest Research
April 27, 2017
This is the Content Marketing Podcast, episode number 224: Content Marketing for B2B Enterprises: Results from the Latest Research
Hello, and welcome to the Content Marketing Podcast. This is the show where we help you grow your tribe and your bottom line through insanely good content. I am your host, Rachel Parker of Resonance Content Marketing, and today is April 27, 2017.
Hello, hello, or as we say in Texas, “howdy,” and thank you for joining us for today’s episode of the Content Marketing Podcast. First of all, a special invitation to my Houston folks: On May 25 I will have the honor of presenting at Martech Houston, this is a fantastic one-day conference focused on the latest marketing strategies for small and medium-sized businesses, and I would love to see you there! For more information, visit bit.ly/MARTECHHOUSTON. Early bird pricing has been extended until May 8th, so grab your spot asap.
Just a reminder this podcast is available on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Google Play Music, so if you like what you hear, please click on over and subscribe. I also invite you to download our complimentary audio and e-book, B2B Content Marketing: From the Blog to the Bottom Line. Download today to learn how to drive engagement at each stage of the B2B sales process. To snag your free copy, go to contentmarketinggift.com.
Last week we talked about crisis management, looking at a cautionary tale around a little company called United Airlines, and we talked about the role of content marketing in building and maintaining our online reputations. If you happened to miss that episode, feel free to check it out on iTunes or via the RSS feed.
Today we’re sharing some insights from the latest research on content marketing in B2B enterprise organizations. But first, it’s time to check in with our News Feed for this week’s rundown of news you can use.
News Feed –
Oh, man, this week it is on! We have been reporting about the ongoing arms race between Snapchat, and Instagram/ Facebook and just this past week it all got to a whole new level. So Snapchat announced the latest volley in its ongoing battle with Instagram and that was something called “World Lenses.”
If you’re familiar with Snapchat Lenses, where you tap on your face before you take a snap and you can put like doggy ears on you, or flowers, or otherwise enhance that photo or that video. This is the same concept, but it’s for your environment instead of for your face. So using the rear-facing camera on your phone, you can add 3-dimentional elements. Currently they have words, rainbows, clouds, and seeds that sprout into flowers as you toss them out, pretty cool stuff. It is also known as augmented reality. So if you see blog posts out there talking about augmented reality, or “AR” for those of us too lazy to write all those pesky letters, that’s what they’re talking about.
Now to use it, just open the Snapchat app and switch to the rear-facing camera, then tap once to pull up the available lenses. So it will actually scan the environment and figure out the best placement for those lenses, which you can then move around, and then if you do a video, you can actually move around these elements. It’s really quite cool.
Starbucks was among first brands to capitalize on World Lenses with a promo for its Unicorn Frappucino, so very cool stuff. Now will it catch on with marketers? We shall see …
Meanwhile, over in Menlo Park, Facebook announced its own augmented reality features. Facebook was leading its Facebook F8 Developer Conference last week and Mark Zuckerberg had an announcement of his own, and that is that they are adding some augmented reality features to the Facebook camera. The Camera Effects platform is launching as an open beta and, it looks like new AR capabilities are currently available only to designers and developers. So those are available through Facebook’s AR Studio and Frame Studio. So the average Joe and the average Jane user won’t be seeing Facebook exactly copying World Lenses just yet, but stay tuned, because more developers are going to have access to these capabilities and we all have yet to see what they come up with. Stay tuned for the ongoing saga of Snapchat versus Instagram/Facebook.
Content Hit of the Week:
Okay, our Content Hit of the Week is a post called “How Small Marketing Teams Can Achieve Big Content Wins.” This is by Jacob Warwick on the MarketingProfs blog.
Now a lot of you have shared with me that you function with very small teams, and I’ve actually seen data that shows majority of content teams are pretty small including those in large organizations. So folks need some help getting these teams optimized and streamlined to where they can produce all this content without you know going crazy or other disadvantageous side effects.
So in this post, Jacob offers some simple, practical advice for surviving and thriving as a small content marketing team, and one point that really resonated with me was “to use outside resources.” And actually that got me to thinking most of the clients I work with actually have full-time content creators on staff. They have folks who do this full time in an office every day. But what happens is, they just have more work than they can handle, but not quite enough work to justify hiring more people, and that is an ideal opportunity to bring in some outside help, to bring in a content marketing agency to fill in those gaps.
So if you find yourself in this situation, see if you can get the budget to bring in some outside help. Of course that is what Resonance does, and if I can help you in any way please do let me know. Anyway this blog post is a very good read, and I will of course provide the link in the blog post for this episode (https://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2017/31934/how-small-marketing-teams-can-achieve-big-content-wins)
That’s it for this week’s update — if you stumble across something you think might be of interest to your fellow content marketers, please tweet it to me at @rachparker so that we can share.
Now it’s time for this week’s spotlight segment: Content Marketing for B2B Enterprises: Results from the Latest Research
Content Marketing Institute. It really is the gift that keeps on giving. Every fall, CMI comes out with the highly anticipated results from their content marketing survey. Every fall they release these reports one for B2B, and one for B2C, and I think they actually do some industry-specific reports as well. But it is all a big survey and then they share the results.
Find out why Joe Pulizzi calls The Content Marketing Coach “a simple yet effective
guide to an approach that most businesses get flat out wrong.”
Well today they’re sharing results from that survey specifically for B2B enterprise organizations, which they define as those B2B organizations with 1,000 or more employees. So I really want to share with you some of these insights for two reasons.
(1) If you are in a B2B enterprise organization, you might hear something you can apply for your own team and your own work.
(2) If you are one of the smaller B2B organizations out there, you may see some opportunities to get a leg up on some of your competitors, because some of these results are pretty surprising. So if you are in the B2B field, no matter whether you are in an enterprise or you are in a smaller organization, you will definitely find something of interest in these results that I am about to share.
First let me clarify what we’re sharing here. These are the results from B2B Enterprise Content Marketing 2017: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America, that is the entire title of the report. It is presented by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs and was sponsored by Knowledge Vision.
As I present these results, of course I didn’t share everything in the report, but I homed in on several of them that represent a divergence between B2B enterprise organizations and the larger B2B community, which was reported on back in the fall when CMI released its B2B content marketing report. So I’m going to be referring back and forth to these two reports. By the way, if you want to download a copy of either or both of these reports, I will be including the URL’s in the blog post for this episode, so feel free to check that out.
- Insight #1: So the first insight is, okay no surprises here: 88 percent of B2B enterprises are using content marketing, and that is right there in line with the rest of the B2B community. For the larger B2B report the number was 89 percent. And of the nonusers, so of the 12 percent who are not using content marketing 55 percent reported that they plan to begin a content marketing program within the next 12 months. So of those who are not currently doing content marketing, the majority have got it on their radar and they are planning to add it within the next 12 months. In terms of the percentage. actually in the content marketing game B2B enterprises are right up there with the rest of the B2B community and those who are not, most of them are planning to do so.
- Insight #2: The second insight I want to share is that of these B2B enterprise organizations, only 2 percent would describe their content marketing maturity level as “sophisticated,” and only 26 percent would describe their level as “mature”, and I think the other options were like “adolescent”, “young”, or “just getting started” , something like that. So most of these organizations have at most developed a business case, they are not there with strategy and they are not there with measurement, and that kind of surprised me because these folks in these B2B enterprise organizations, they are some pretty sophisticated marketers, they go to the big conferences. They are there when Gary Vaynerchuk takes the stage at the Salesforce Conference. They’re very savvy on the importance of content marketing and the importance of doing it well and being strategic, and very thoughtful about their process, but it looks like they are just kind of stuck in that mid-range adolescent level.
So I would say if you are a David going up against the Goliath in the B2B world, this could be a chance to get a leg up on your competition, if you’re kind of stuck in that mid-range and looking in to move forward, then knowing that those larger competitors are in the same space lets you say “hey, let’s up our game, let’s complete that strategy, let’s start measuring, let’s start doing the things we know we need to do, to create a sophisticated content marketing program, so that we can compete with these big boys.”
- Insight #3: Okay, let’s see, another insight is that — this was surprising — only 53 percent of the B2B enterprise organizations surveyed would describe their organizations as either “extremely committed” or “very committed” to content marketing the other choices by the way were “somewhat committed,” “not very committed,” and “not at all committed”. That is barely more than half of these B2B enterprises.
Now in the overall B2B study the result was 63 percent. So enterprises are actually behind the curve in the B2B community in terms of their level of commitment to content marketing, and this was really poignant to me because I hear so many marketers in mid-sized companies saying “oh, if only we had so-and-so’s budget” (so-and-so being their big “Goliath” competitor) or “if only we had their budget,” “if only we had their staff, man we’d absolutely be killing it with content marketing.” Well, these folks have the budgets, and they have the staff and yes, I know it’s more complex than that. It’s not like they have a money tree where they go pull off dollar bills or euros or whatever it is. But they have the resources, but they are not — they don’t have that level of commitment — barely half of them are either extremely or very committed to content marketing, And personally I think it’s due to what I call organizational sclerosis.
I have worked for big companies and it’s a situation where, yes, the budgets are there, the staff is there, the resources are there, but everything has to be approved by five different committees and there is always one person saying “well, you’ve got to prove to me that this is going to work, before we are going to go all in,” and you know, my snarky response is “well, what proof do you have that that banner ad’s going to work, or that $25,000 print ad is going to work?” but that’s just my perspective. But there are a lot of hurdles to getting a vibrant and committed content marketing program going in these organizations, and I think a lot of these forward-thinking marketers who see where the future is going, I think they are finding a lot of road blocks, in terms of getting their organization on track with a solid content marketing strategy. So I thought that was very interesting.
- Insight #4: Okay, the next insight I want to share is that only 53 percent of these B2B enterprise organizations always or frequently focus on creating content for their audience versus their brand. Think about that: it’s the audience versus brand as a focus of their content. So when these big boys are out there and producing content, it’s only focused on their audience 53 percent of the time. Now yes, that’s a majority, but good golly, what are they doing the rest of the time?
Well, the rest of the time it’s obvious they are doing the equivalent of picking up the old bullhorn and telling everybody how amazing their brand is, and wow! If you think about an eight-hour day, they spend just a little over four hours focused on the audience, and the rest of the time they are talking about themselves.
I thought we were past that, guys, I really, really did. So they are out there creating content about themselves and their brands, and their new products, and their new initiatives, blah, blah, blah, blah. You know that’s not content marketing. I mean that’s called a brochure that you put lipstick on and call it a blog post, sorry to say.
Now for the larger B2B population that CMI reported on back in the fall, 69 percent focus on creating content for their audience versus their brand. So again here, this is where B2B enterprises have some catching up to do. They’ve got to get in the content marketing mindset and focus on their audience, and I’d be willing to bet that these enterprises that are out there using “content as a bullhorn” are wondering why it’s not working. And I wonder how many of these folks are just going to throw up their hands and go “Oh, content marketing doesn’t work,” and they didn’t even try to do it right. Amazing!
- Insight #5: Let’s see what do I have next, 64 percent of the respondents always or frequently prioritize delivering content quality over quantity, that is compared to 76 percent in the greater B2B population. So once again, these folks have the budget. They can afford good writers; they can afford good designers, they can afford good videographers. But in terms of creating quality content, only 64 percent of them are there. So, again, what are the rest doing? They are cranking stuff out, just to crank it out. I guess if you focus on quantity over quality, it’s like let’s just get something out there, and again I think that just comes back to short-sightedness in leadership.
You know people know just enough about content marketing to say “Okay, we need to be blogging on a weekly basis.” Now the quality of that — “nah, you know just get something out there, get some key words in it, make it look nice, put some nice images on there and just get it out there.”
Again quite surprised at how far behind these B2B enterprise organizations are, compared to the rest of the B2B population. Okay, I have two more insights to share with you
- Insight #6: Speaking of budgets, B2B enterprises actually spend a smaller percentage of their budgets on content marketing, compared to the rest of the overall B2B population. B2B enterprises spend an average of 22 percent of their marketing budgets on content marketing, whereas the larger B2B population spends an average of 29 percent. So again, enterprises are falling behind, they are not putting in the dollars or euros, or pesos or whatever the currency is. They are not putting those funds into producing quality content on a consistent basis, and again that really surprised me, but then again I think it comes down to these road blocks that these marketers are coming up against.
I think that it’s a real struggle and it’s a real problem for organizations that are kind of just stuck in traditional marketing mode and who don’t see the advantages of a strong content marketing program. Now in my experience that tends to shift when they see one of their competitors really killing it with content marketing and competing on a higher level. So maybe things will slowly start to come up in this B2B enterprise sphere.
- Insight #7: The final insight that I want to share with you is that only 32 percent of B2B enterprises surveyed plan to increase their content marketing spending over the next 12 months, this is compared to 39 percent of the overall B2B population. So they are spending a smaller percentage of their marketing budgets, and less than a third are planning to increase it. So it’s looking like more of the same, folks, that is what it looks like to me.
What can we all take away from this?
If you are in one of those B2B enterprise organizations, it should become pretty clear that your sector is behind the curve when it comes to content marketing for B2B businesses. So you know if you’ve been encountering roadblocks that prevent you from stepping up your game, from producing more quality content, from doing more of the things that we just talked about. This might be a good time to revisit those road blocks and see if there is anything that you can do about them. What you can do to help advance your agenda among those higher ups who might be stuck in old school marketing mode and who might not see the advantages.
What can you do to bring them around to your side? And I know it is challenging because I have been where you are. I have worked for those large organizations and tried to push something through that people don’t want to hear, and it’s challenging, but if your organization is going to continue to compete, then you’re going to need to find a way to make it work. So that is what I say to my folks who are in B2B enterprises.
Now if you’re in a smaller company, if you are a David going up against one of these Goliaths, it should be clear to you that there are some chinks in that armor. There are some opportunities out there. Your biggest competitor may not be the content marketing powerhouse you may have assumed he was, they may not be as advanced as you are in your content marketing.
So this might be a good time to stay with the David metaphor and look for “a few round, smooth stones” to put in your slingshot, and look at their weaknesses, those big competitors, look at their weaknesses, look at where they’re falling short and say “Okay, how can we fill in those gaps? How can we slip in and be that hero that people are looking for, and that they’re not getting in your biggest competitors?”
So again, if you want to download a copy of either of these reports, the specific B2B enterprise report, or the more general B2B content marketing report. I will add those links to the blog post for this episode. To get to the blog post for this episode, go to resonancecontent.com/podcast, and you will find this episode, and you will find the links there for both the enterprise B2B report and the more general B2B report.
So if you have any questions or if you want to add to the conversation, or this is what I would love, if you are in a B2B enterprise organization that is killing it, that is succeeding with content marketing, I would love to hear from you, we might even do a show about you, imagine that? But if you want to add to this conversation, I’d love to hear from you, feel free to tweet me at @rachparker. Now it’s time for our Content Marketing Tip of the Week
Tip of the Week
One of the many ways that B2B marketers can leverage content beautifully is in feeding their sales funnel. So most B2C marketing is pretty simple. You show me a Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino, I think it looks good, I go buy one, pretty simple. Conversely, most B2B deals involve a process; it’s not one decision by one person, taken in one moment. It’s a process that in turn involves multiple individuals, and what content can do is help us address each of those audiences at each level of the decision-making funnel.
So you’ve probably taken a look at your sales funnel and how people get to you, and how they become clients, so think about the individuals at each level of your buyer’s journey. What questions do they have? What do they find confusing? What information is missing that you can provide, to help them take the next step in their decision-making process? And actually the resource that I referred to you earlier, B2B Content Marketing: From the Blog to the Bottom Line, goes into great detail of how to use content at each level of the sales funnel. So feel free to pick it up at contentmarketinggift.com. But once you have really gone into that sales funnel and thought about the individuals at each level, you can create and offer with useful, insightful content to help guide them every step of the way, and ideally by the time they are through the decision-making process, then your name is the only one that they want to go with.
Okay, campers, that’s it for me today — hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of the content marketing podcast. If you like what you’ve heard today, please feel free to subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher or Google Play Music or via our RSS feed. And if you REALLY like what you’ve heard, please leave us a quick review on iTunes, I would deeply, deeply appreciate it.
Also, remember that my book, The Content Marketing Coach: Everything You Need to Get in the Game … and Win, is available in book and Kindle format on Amazon. To learn more about the book and to download a free chapter, visit contentmarketingcoachbook.com.
As you know, I always like to leave you with a quote, and today we have another gem from Steve Jobs. He once said, “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” And if there is ever a place where we need quality, it is in the world of content. Again, this is Rachel Parker with Resonance Content Marketing. Thank you again for listening and we will see you again next week. Take care!
Remember to snag your copy of The Content Marketing Coach: Everything You Need to Get in the Game … and WIN! — now available on Amazon!
- Find out how to connect and convert with content marketing.
- Learn to cut through the clutter with intelligent content that resonates with your specific target audience.
- Get the secrets for turning followers into customers … and customers into evangelists.
About the Author
A self-described geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker has had a passion for content ever since she was old enough to hold a crayon (purple, please).
As Founder and CEO of Resonance, Rachel helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and author of the book The Content Marketing Coach: Everything You Need to Get in the Game … and WIN!
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