B2B Content Marketing on the Rise, but Big Companies Lag Behind

From B2B to B2C to BirdBnB, content marketing was all the rage in 2013. It’s no surprise then, that a year-end study by the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs revealed that content marketing was on the rise in 2013 and should increase in 2014.

What’s more surprising: Large companies are lagging behind in some crucial components of content strategy.

Let’s run the highlight reel.

Cash money content.

According to “B2B Content marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends-North America,” 73 percent of B2B marketers produced more content in 2013 than the previous year. In 2013, the average B2B marketing budget allocated 30 percent to content marketing, and 58 percent of B2B marketers plan to increase that budget within the next 12 months.

(That sound you hear is all the search marketers and traditional agencies crying, mashed up with the celebratory cheers of everyone in the Contently office.)

Having a documented content strategy paid off. (Shocking, right?) But only 4 in 10 large enterprises had one.

While 93 percent of businesses said they used some type of content marketing (up from 91 percent in 2012), only 42 percent said they felt as though they were successful in their efforts. But hey, that’s up from 36 percent in 2012, so … progress!

B2B marketers who had a documented strategy in place were far more likely to consider themselves effective (66 percent vs. 11 percent), however less than half (44 percent) had such a strategy. Call me crazy, but it might be time for everyone to create one of those.

Surprisingly, the big boys were the biggest offenders. Only forty-one percent of B2B companies with more than 1,000 employees had a documented content strategy, compared with 48 percent of companies between 10 and 99 employees.

That’s just further proof that a pile of cash isn’t a replacement for an editorial calendar, even if it is much more fun to roll around in.

B2B organizations that had someone overseeing content marketing were more successful. (Duh.) But only 6 in 10 large enterprises did.

Eighty-six percent of the most successful B2B marketing companies had someone overseeing their content marketing strategy, and 73 percent of B2B organizations now have an employee with such responsibility. That meshes well with the “Rise of the Chief Content Officer” trend we’ve been seeing.

Smaller companies again seemed to be ahead of the competition in this area, as 78 percent of them had someone overseeing content strategies in 2013, compared to larger companies of 1,000 employees or more. Again, kind of baffling, but expect a big change in 2014.

Use of infographics and social media increased.

B2B marketers used every social media platform more often in 2013. In fact, the average number of platforms used went up to six, as compared to five in 2012. The social media sites that had the biggest increase for B2B this year were SlideShare, Google +, and Instagram.

Other than social media, the tactic that saw the largest increase in 2013 was infographics. This year, 51 percent of B2B marketers used infographics — up from 38 percent in 2012.

Many challenges remained the same.

The reasons marketers gave for not having successful content marketing campaigns were similar to the ones they gave in 2012. The number one challenge facing B2B marketers in content marketing is a lack of time (69 percent said it was a challenge). Other than the lack of time, other major challenges included producing enough content (55 percent) and producing quality content (55 percent).

Man, if only someone had a solution for those problems. (SELF-PROMOTION ALERT)

Contently arms brands with the tools and talent to become great content creators. Learn more.

Image by garryknight / Flickr.com

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