Zero strategy – this is probably the biggest challenge when it comes to content marketing. We are like kids at a school break, while we should be like army headquarters. To make that happen, you need to trust experts.
Is content marketing advertising or PR? 
 This is where the research results differ – ICMF report claims that content marketing and traditional advertising are going to mesh, they will become gradually coordinated and integrated. Meanwhile, the report by IAB shows that in Poland content marketing is seen as an image building tool, not a sales tool. 64% of marketers believe that CM builds brand image, while only 34% that it influences the traffic on website and 24% – that it impacts sales results.

Last year the Interactive Advertising Bureau Poland (IAB Polska) and the International Content Marketing Forum (ICMF) ran independent research on the current situation and the future of content marketing. The goal was to define the potential of this type of marketing communication and how it is executed by marketers.

We looked at the results carefully, also because Aude is a member of IAB Polska and our CEO Ula Radzińska is the head of the Content Marketing Poland Association, which belongs to the ICMF. The two reports have a similar range and subject area, but the perspective differs – the research by IAB Polska was focused on the Polish market, while the one by ICMF encompassed European countries (including Poland) and the USA.

We believe the two reports point to 3 facts that are particularly worth thinking about – with not entirely the same conclusions. Which report is more accurate? We will be able to tell in a year or three.

• First – moderate sector development

Both reports conclude that expenses on content marketing are going to grow, but the Polish report is more careful – the surveyed sector representatives (189 marketers took part in the surveys) are convinced that the role of content marketing is going to be gradually more important. Over 40% declared to spend more on CM than last year. However, only 13% of companies planned to spend on content marketing more than half of their marketing budget.
Meanwhile, the research by ICMF, presenting Poland against foreign markets, shows a sharp growth in Polish firms’ investments in content marketing. All the European companies which took part in the research declare to increase their CM expenses by the year 2020, but the growth declared is by 20-30%, while in the case of Polish and Croatian firms – by as much as 66% and 69%, respectively. 
We hope this estimation becomes true.

• Second – no strategy at all 
The surveys reveal that companies which use content marketing tools act a little bit like kids at a school break: they go there, sit down here, kick a ball, send a text. This is creative chaos that may bring results, but only if you’re lucky. And this is the way content marketers act. Shocking? Indeed…
According to IAB Polska, most companies are rather chaotic when it comes to content marketing activities, and the responsibility for CM usually spreads among several people – as a result, even though over 80% of Polish companies declare to use content marketing tools, as many as ⅓ claim not to have any CM strategy at all. Comforting is the fact that Poland is no exception here – the report by ICMF shows that only in the USA 59% of companies declare to act according to a marked out CM strategy. The result for Poland is 41% – but that still leaves more than half of Polish companies that use content marketing with no strategy whatsoever.

“Many companies see strategy building as developing a plan. It would be all right, if they didn’t forget about the last element – the KPIs,” says Urszula Radzińska. “I would even say that the way you measure whether your operations are successful determines the way you operate. Companies tend to forget that. Or they want someone who has never done this and has no such experience to develop a strategic plan. Without strategy there’s no way you can defend your content marketing budget in front of a reflective leader. Hence the idea to bring Rebecca Lieb and Stephanie Losee to Poland this year to run an all-day strategy building workshop. It’s an opportunity to create your own strategic plan and to write it down on paper.”

• Third – let experts act

One thing that drew our attention in the report by IAB was the non-optimistic result when it comes to hiring external experts to carry out content marketing actions. It turns out only 8% of Polish companies hire external experts to carry out content marketing activities! It’s time to convince the remaining 92% that it’s worth using… our help.
For instance, to have interesting content that stands apart on the market – right now there are few innovative content marketing projects, and the most frequently used distribution channels are the good old and “safe” social media (86%), company website (66%) and e-mailing (65%).
 We are ready to reach for more innovative solutions, how about you?