The content marketing sector is growing dynamically, a fact confirmed by regular research by the  Content Marketing Institute. The results of surveys from the end of 2013 conducted among B2B marketers were included in a joint report by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs:  “B2B Content Marketing 2014: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America”.

Infographic showing major data from the report is available here.

The changes include more than a dynamic growth – a steady increase of expense on content marketing is a long-known phenomenon. Content marketers are becoming more and more confident in their multiplatform activities. Content marketing itself has also become gradually more popular – it is used by as many as 93% of marketers and 42% of them believe it to be effective.  Effectiveness is largely related to strategy – marketers who have documented content strategy (44% of the respondents) feel more confident and are more convinced about the effectiveness of their actions than those who have no such strategy (66% vs 11%).
According to CMI research, an average number of tactics, or the ways of providing content, is kept on a steady level: in 2012 it amounted to 12, in 2013 – to 13. They mainly include social media others than blogs, online articles, blogs and eNewsletters (read here about why it is good to prepare an eNewsletter). The use of infographics has increased – from 38 to 51%. What’s important, marketers are becoming more confident in using those tactics, despite the fact that in the past four years the largest effectiveness has been attributed not to the most popular social media, but to direct contact events. Experts Joe Pulizzi and Ann Handley believe this proves the existence of the so called confidence gap. It is interesting that the best content marketers in the sector believe blogs to be more effective to offline events (79 vs 76%), while only 29% of their colleagues with worse results believe in the effectiveness of blogs. Despite the high rate of social media use, marketers are still uncertain whether they are effective. The difference is visible when we take the size of a company into account: large companies (over 1000 employees) believe the most effective social media channel to be LinkedIn, followed by YouTube, while small companies (below 100 employees) – SlideShare and Twitter, which was mentioned 10% less frequently by employees of large companies.
Other conclusions:

  • the major goal of organisations in the past four years is to increase brand awareness among customers. But 80% of the most effective marketers think the major goal is to generate leads (64% of marketers with weaker results agree);
  • more content is being made. 73% of marketers create more content than in the previous year, particularly those with the best results;
  • small companies are more self-reliant. As Joe Pullizi noticed a few years ago, large companies outsource content creation more often than small ones. Writing and designing is commissioned most often;
  • more than half of marketers plan to increase outlay on content marketing. Right now as much as 30% of the marketing budget is spent on that type of marketing;
  • the greatest challenge to face – in general classification – is the lack of time and creating an adequate amount of content. But companies of various sizes perceive challenges differently: for large companies it is creating content that would be engaging, small ones need to face the fact that a small team and little time does not allow them to carry out all content marketing activities.