B2B Marketing Trends for 2014, Part I
In fact, the new report B2B Content Marketing 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends cites a well-documented content marketing plan as a key driver of success for top B2B marketers. The study, conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, examines a number of content marketing trends leading into the New Year.
Beyond Adoption. Content marketing is booming. According to the report, 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing as a part of the overall strategy. 78% of those who were creating content last year are creating more content now. And this makes sense for B2B marketing. Content is a great way to achieve business objectives. But if everyone’s using content marketing, then those that use it well are the ones that stand out.
Make Plans. We began this blog by talking about planning for the New Year, and that’s because planning is essential. While only 44% of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy, the ones that do are the most effective. Your content strategy encompasses how you develop content, what kinds of content you develop, as well as how you deploy and manage content. It’s worth planning each aspect of your content strategy. But how do you begin to plan?
To Plan, Set Objectives. Much like setting a New Year’s resolution, the key to making a plan is to know where you want to be in the future. What are your goals as a business? The highest ranked objective for B2B marketing in general is brand awareness, followed by lead generation, customer acquisition, and thought leadership. By setting a specific goal in mind for your B2B marketing, it’s easier to measure the effects of your campaigns and your content. Ultimately, it’s up to you and your company to decide where you want to concentrate your efforts.
To Measure, Identify Metrics. When we suggest measuring the effects of your content marketing, this begs the question: How do I measure? First, identify the metrics that are most relevant to your B2B marketing goals. Web traffic and social shares are commonly-used metrics, but you also have access to information about the quantity and quality of your leads, the amount of time spent on your site, and what actions are taken by web users. Use analytics and reports generated by your eCommerce solution to optimize and refine your content marketing.
An Interesting Note About Direct Sales as a Metric. In the Content Marketing Institute report, “direct sales” was ranked as the 7th most popular metric to measure campaigns. But digging deeper revealed some interesting facts. The least effective marketers ranked direct sales as the 4th most popular metric while the most effective ranked it 8th. The most successful B2B marketers used direct sales as a metric less than other marketers. This underscores the point that content marketing is more about establishing trust, creating relationships and nurturing leads. This, in turn, builds the foundation for those direct sales to occur.
New Year, New Plan. The new report shows that planning is an important part content marketing success. But what type of content works especially well with B2B marketing? And what top challenges do B2B marketers have to overcome? Fortunately you won’t have to wait until 2014 for the answers. Stay tuned for Part II of our blog series, Making New Years’ Plans: B2B Marketing Trends for 2014, and learn more about how to stay ahead of the competition with content marketing.