By now, most B2B marketers are well-versed in the benefits of content marketing. The initiative has been steadily growing for a few years, and recent research from Curata’s 2012 B2B Marketing Trends Report shows that 87 percent of marketers are currently leveraging some form of this tactic.
Content marketing allows marketers to navigate challenges, such as a limited budget and staff, that would otherwise impact their ability to meet their goals, including driving sales and leads. But aside from driving sales, marketers also cite establishing thought leadership and boosting brand awareness as top marketing objectives. While these goals can be met through content marketing programs, the B2B Marketing Survey found that 43 percent of its respondents do not know whether their content marketing strategies have actually increased inbound leads. Beyond that, the same percentage does not measure the outcome of their content marketing programs.
Measurement Must Play Larger Role
While it’s great to see a continued uptake of marketers leveraging content marketing, measurement programs must be put into place in order for marketers to prove overall organizational value. It is not enough to put initiatives in place and simply hope they work; tracking their success is an integral part of the process. As content marketing continues to mature and grow in popularity and execution, measurement programs will be necessary, not just nice-to-haves. It will be critical for marketers to show that the content marketing strategies they employ are enabling their organizations to reach their marketing objectives.
Content Curation Takes Center Stage
For many content marketers, content curation is proving to be one of the best ways to conduct a content marketing program. Content curation is the act of finding, organizing, and sharing online content to relevant audiences. Content curators are one subset of content marketers who are finding that a longer program is directly tied to a more successful program. Forty-three percent of content curators are measuring their content curation programs, and 32 percent of those curators have been successfully curating for more than two years. Furthermore, 34 percent of all curators have been curating for less than six months, showing a strong uptake among early adopters who will likely make measurement a continued focus of their programs, as tangible goals will help those programs grow.
Traditional Tactics Lose Steam
As content marketing continues to gain traction, the use of traditional tactics, such as print/radio/TV advertising, is actually decreasing. Compared to the same B2B Marketing survey in 2011, the use of these tactics declined from 32 percent last year to 26 percent this year. It’s not just the traditional tactics that may seem outdated and are being used less. The use of nontraditional marketing forms, such as search engine marketing, are declining as demonstrated by a decline from 70 percent in 2011 to 67 percent this year. The drop in these tactics leaves room for the continued growth of content marketing and content curation, which is an effective, cost-efficient way for marketers to build their content marketing strategies.
Looking To The Future
The world of B2B marketing is shifting, and marketers are finding new ways to reach their audiences. Because of limited staff and budgets, marketers are forced to make do with the resources they have, which makes efficient, cost-effective initiatives, tools, and solutions all the more necessary. Content curation is emerging as a lead content marketing tactic, and it is enabling marketers to meet their marketing objectives and ultimately drive leads and sales. The next critical step for content marketers, who have now gained a solid understanding of how to best leverage content marketing tactics, is to put measurement programs in place to clearly define how they are achieving their goals.
If you’re interested in reading more of the results from the B2B Marketing Trends 2012 Report, please download the survey here.