Content marketing is defined by the Content Marketing Institute as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” First used by B2C companies to increase sales, improve cost savings, and boost customer loyalty, content marketing has become an integral part of B2B marketing in the last few years. B2B businesses have learned how content marketing can be integrated into marketing activities for specific industries, such as technology marketing, financial services marketing, law firm marketing, and legal marketing. Today, content marketing is a vital part in a well-oiled B2B marketing strategy. Let’s look at the current content marketing climate as reported by B2B companies in the 2020 B2B Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.
Facts and Strategies of Content Marketing as Implemented in the B2B Marketing Setting
The number of B2B marketing teams with a documented marketing strategy is increasing.
Since 2008, the Content Marketing Institute has been reporting on the prevalence of content marketing practices amongst B2B organizations. This year, they have found that 69% of the most successful B2B organizations have a documented content marketing strategy, compared to 65% in 2019 and 62% in 2018. Among all respondents, 41% of B2B organizations have a documented content marketing strategy in place, compared to last year’s 39% and 2018’s 37%. This is indicative of how those with content marketing as part of their B2B marketing strategy are seeing the importance of documented activities across the board.
B2B organizations use several types of content marketing tools in monitoring B2B marketing success.
Analytics tools are important for B2B marketing success. For organizations who have content marketing strategies in place, 86% report that analytics tools such as web analytics and dashboards aid in monitoring performance. 85% of B2B organizations use email marketing software, while 80% use social media publishing and analytics. 65% use a customer relationship management system (CRM) and 51% use a content management system (CMS).
B2B organizations outsource some content marketing activities as part of their B2B marketing process.
Not all marketing activities are the same. Therefore some organizations outsource B2B marketing activities to the specialists. B2B marketing firms often provide specialist services, such as technology marketing, legal marketing, or financial services marketing, depending on the industry they operate in. The report reveals that 50% of B2B organizations outsource at least one content marketing activity and that content creation is the activity that is most likely to be outsourced.
Organizations have different content marketing types in mind for every B2B marketing objective.
There are four major objectives in content marketing, as per the Content Marketing Institute, namely to build brand awareness, to secure leads, to nurture leads, and to convert leads. For every objective, B2B organizations utilize different marketing activities. For example, blog posts and short articles, as well as social media content are most often used to build brand awareness. To secure leads, in-person events and webinar and online events are used. For nurturing leads, B2B organizations prefer to use email newsletters and at times, blog posts. To convert leads, case studies and webinars are often used.
B2B marketers prefer using LinkedIn for organic content marketing.
The report found that across the board, LinkedIn is the top social media platform for B2B organizations when it comes to distributing content, whether through organic or paid means. 95% of B2B organizations use LinkedIn for organic content marketing, while 76% of B2B organizations use LinkedIn for paid B2B marketing activities.
B2B Marketing Moving Forward
From 2020 and beyond, B2B marketing continues to evolve to accommodate what the customer needs. Every content marketing objective should be to continue to provide value to the customer in his or her moment of need. According to Forbes, the next trend in B2B marketing is “customer centricity,” which refers to the “structural alignment around audiences” or marketing automation, digital marketing, and content marketing efforts. But B2B organizations cannot always do it alone.
B2B marketing can be broken down to particular industries. A B2B marketing company may specialise in developing law firm marketing or legal marketing strategies for firms. Financial services marketing activities are also very specific, as they cater to those looking to invest or are already investing and are potentially return customers for add on products. Technology marketing is designed for B2B businesses who delve into new technologies for other businesses. In these cases, it’s best to consult a B2B marketing firm with specialists who have years of experience in dealing with these specific types of strategy development. Get in touch with your B2B marketing firm today to know more.