Lee Odden

The Number One Secret to B2B Content Marketing Success Plus 150 B2B Marketing Statistics

Lee Odden     B2B Marketing

B2B Content Marketing Secret

Who doesn’t like a secret? Especially the single, most important content marketing secret to success for B2B companies.

This year’s Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report from Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs offers us that one, most important piece of advice and more. So what’s the secret? Simple:

Document your content marketing strategy and follow it closely. 

If you’re feeling a bit underwhelmed, here’s the thing:

  • 35% of B2B marketers in this year’s survey said they have a documented content marketing strategy
  • 48% said they have a content marketing strategy, but it is not documented.

OK fine, most companies have some idea of how their content marketing efforts fit into the marketing plan.  What’s the big deal?

This is the big deal with documenting your content marketing strategy:  “Content marketers who have a documented strategy are eight times more likely (60% vs. 7%) to rate themselves as being effective content marketers vs. those who have no strategy, written or otherwise.” MarketingProfs

That’s not the only data-supported nugget from this report.  After reviewing the 150 plus statistics, here are few actionable opportunities for B2B Marketers that stood out:

Let’s Hear it for Webinars!

  • Webinars or webcasts are the second most effective content marketing tactic (64%)
  • And yet they are one of the least often used, ranking 12th out of 14 tactics

Are You Playing “Follow the Heard” Content Promotion?

  • 84% of marketers distribute content through Facebook, yet only 32% of marketers rank Facebook as one of the most effective social channels
  • Print or other offline promotion ranks the #2 top content promotion tactic, yet print ranks fifth out of six for effectiveness
  • Similarly, banner ads are the third most popular content promotion tactic, but banner ads rank last for effectiveness

What About eBooks?

  • eBooks don’t make it into the list of content marketing tactics used (out of 14 listed)
  • But they do rank as one of the top 10 most effective content marketing tactics

Four of the Top B2B Content Marketing Challenges Are Directly Addressed Through Participation Marketing

  • 54% of B2B companies say producing engaging content is a top content marketing challenge
  • 50% of B2B companies say producing content consistently is a top content marketing challenge
  • 42% of B2B companies say producing a variety of content is a top content marketing challenge
  • 41% of B2B companies say a lack of budget is a top content marketing challenge

Creating a variety of engaging content on a consistent basis without a huge budget is exactly where content co-creation comes in to play for B2B marketers. This “participation marketing” approach is exactly what we at TopRank Marketing used to promote the Content Marketing World conference and the MarketingProfs B2B Forum, which is happening this week in Boston.

In fact, I will be giving a presentation at the B2B Marketing Forum on how we co-create conference eBooks, Friday Oct 10th at 2:00pm, “Influencing B2B Influencers and the Magic of Co-Created Social Content“.  The group of B2B marketing smarties at this event is really impressive, including Ann Handley, Michael Brenner, Laura Fitton, Doug Kessler, Jason Miller, Joe Pulizzi, David Meerman Scott, Viveka von Rosen, Jon Miller, Pam Didner and many more.  I hope to see you there!

2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends - North America

We’ve reviewed the report and pulled out over 150 individual statistics  and present them here in a format that is easy to tweet, create image tiles for sharing on social networks or include in your next presentation.  Yes, Google will probably think we’re cramming keywords, but this post was written for B2B marketers, not Google. We hope you find it useful.

150+ B2B Content Marketing Statistics for 2015

86% of B2B companies are using content marketing
(last year this was 93%)
14% of B2B companies are not using content marketing at all

Content Marketing Effectiveness

38% of B2B companies are effective at content marketing.

Broken down:

  • 8% of B2B companies are very effective at content marketing
  • 30% of B2B companies are effective at content marketing
  • 42% of B2B companies are neutral about their content marketing effectiveness
  • 17% of B2B companies are not very effective at content marketing
  • 2% of B2B companies are not at all effective at content marketing

Content Marketing Strategy

  • 35% of B2B companies have a documented content marketing strategy
  • 48% of B2B companies have an undocumented content marketing strategy
  • 14% of B2B companies do not have a content marketing strategy
  • 42% of B2B companies’ content marketing strategy guide content marketing efforts very closely
  • 51% of B2B companies’ content marketing strategy guide content marketing efforts somewhat
  • 4% of B2B companies rarely use their content marketing strategy

Content Marketing Resources

47% of B2B companies have a dedicated content marketing group.

Broken down:

  • 12% of B2B companies have an independent content marketing group
  • 35% of B2B companies have an dedicated content marketing group that works horizontally across the organization
  • 15% of B2B companies do not have a dedicated content marketing group but plan on having one
  • 38% of B2B companies do not have a dedicated content marketing group with no plans on adding one

Where Does Content Marketing Sit in the Organization?

  • 23% of B2B companies content marketing is accountable to the owner/C-level executives
  • 19% of B2B companies content marketing is accountable to product marketing
  • 18% of B2B companies content marketing is accountable to demand gen marketing
  • 15% of B2B companies content marketing is accountable to PR and corporate communications
  • 6% of B2B companies content marketing is accountable to social media and social CRM team

Top Goals for Content Marketing

  • 84% of B2B companies say brand awareness is the most important content marketing goal
  • 83% of B2B companies say lead generation is the most important content marketing goal
  • 81% of B2B companies say engagement is the most important content marketing goal
  • 75% of B2B companies say sales is the most important content marketing goal
  • 74% of B2B companies say lead nurturing is the most important content marketing goal
  • 69% of B2B companies say customer retention and loyalty is the most important content marketing goal
  • 57% of B2B companies say customer evangelism is the most important content marketing goal
  • 52% of B2B companies say upsell/cross-selling is the most important content marketing goal

How B2B Marketers Measure Content Marketing Performance

  • 63% of B2B companies use website traffic to measure content marketing success
  • 49% of B2B companies use sales lead quality to measure content marketing success
  • 48% of B2B companies use higher conversion rates to measure content marketing success
  • 43% of B2B companies use sales to measure content marketing success
  • 40% of B2B companies use sales lead quantity to measure content marketing success
  • 39% of B2B companies use SEO ranking to measure content marketing success
  • 39% of B2B companies use time spent on website to measure content marketing success
  • 35% of B2B companies use inbound links to measure content marketing success
  • 33% of B2B companies use qualitative feedback from customers to measure content marketing success
  • 30% of B2B companies use subscriber growth to measure content marketing success

Content Marketing ROI for Business Marketers

  • 5% of of B2B companies are very successful at tracking content marketing ROI
  • 16% of of B2B companies are successful at tracking content marketing ROI
  • 33% of of B2B companies are neutral about their ability to track content marketing ROI
  • 21% of of B2B companies are not very successful at tracking content marketing ROI
  • 10% of of B2B companies are not at all successful
  • 15% of of B2B companies do not track ROI

Content Creation 

70% of B2B companies are creating more content over the last 12 months.

Broken down:

  • 27% of B2B companies are creating significantly more content
  • 43% of B2B companies are creating more content
  • 21% of B2B companies are creating the same amount of content
  • 5% of B2B companies are creating less content
  • 4% of B2B companies are not sure if they are creating more or less content

Audience Targeting with B2B Content

  • 6% of B2B companies target 10 audiences with separate content marketing strategies
  • 7% of B2B companies target 7-10 audiences with separate content marketing strategies
  • 26% of B2B companies target 4-6 audiences with separate content marketing strategies
  • 46% of B2B companies target 2-3 audiences with separate content marketing strategies
  • 7% of B2B companies target 1 audiences with separate content marketing strategies
  • 8% of B2B companies are unsure of how many audiences they target

The average number of audiences B2B companies target with different content marketing strategies is 4

B2B Content Marketing Tactics

  • 92% of B2B companies use social media content (other than blogs) as a content marketing tactics
  • 83% of B2B companies use eNewsletters as a content marketing tactics
  • 81% of B2B companies use articles on your website as a content marketing tactics
  • 80% of B2B companies use blogs as a content marketing tactics
  • 77% of B2B companies use in-person events as a content marketing tactics
  • 77% of B2B companies use case studies as a content marketing tactics
  • 76% of B2B companies use videos as a content marketing tactics
  • 69% of B2B companies use illustrations or photos as a content marketing tactics
  • 68% of B2B companies use white papers as a content marketing tactics
  • 65% of B2B companies use online presentations as a content marketing tactics
  • 62% of B2B companies use infographics as a content marketing tactics
  • 61% of B2B companies use webinars or webcasts as a content marketing tactics
  • 48% of B2B companies use research reports as a content marketing tactics
  • 47% of B2B companies use microsites as a content marketing tactics

The average number of content marketing tactics used is 13

The Most Effective Content Marketing Tactics

  • 69% of B2B companies say in-person events are an effective content marketing tactic
  • 64% of B2B companies say webinars or webcasts are an effective content marketing tactic
  • 60% of B2B companies say videos are an effective content marketing tactic
  • 60% of B2B companies say blogs are an effective content marketing tactic
  • 58% of B2B companies say case studies are an effective content marketing tactic
  • 58% of B2B companies say white papers are an effective content marketing tactic
  • 58% of B2B companies say research reports are an effective content marketing tactic
  • 58% of B2B companies say eNewsletters are an effective content marketing tactic
  • 55% of B2B companies say eBooks are an effective content marketing tactic
  • 54% of B2B companies say Microsites are an effective content marketing tactic

Content Marketing and Social Media

  • 94% of B2B companies use LinkedIn to distribute content
  • 88% of B2B companies use Twitter to distribute content
  • 84% of B2B companies use Facebook to distribute content
  • 72% of B2B companies use YouTube to distribute content
  • 64% of B2B companies use Google+ to distribute content
  • 41% of B2B companies use SlideShare to distribute content
  • 33% of B2B companies use Pinterest to distribute content
  • 24% of B2B companies use Instagram to distribute content
  • 20% of B2B companies use Vimeo to distribute content

The Most Effective Social Networks for Content Marketing

  • 63% of B2B companies say LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform
  • 55% of B2B companies say Twitter is the most effective social media platform
  • 48% of B2B companies say YouTube is the most effective social media platform
  • 42% of B2B companies say SlideShare is the most effective social media platform
  • 40% of B2B companies say Vimeo is the most effective social media platform
  • 32% of B2B companies say Facebook is the most effective social media platform
  • 25% of B2B companies say Pinterest is the most effective social media platform
  • 24% of B2B companies say Instagram is the most effective social media platform
  • 20% of B2B companies say Google+ is the most effective social media platform

Content Publishing and Promotion

42% of B2B companies publish new content daily or multiple times per week.

Broken down:

  • 16% of B2B companies publish new content daily
  • 26% of B2B companies publish new content multiple times per week
  • 17% of B2B companies publish new content weekly
  • 19% of B2B companies publish new content multiple times per month
  • 12% of B2B companies publish new content monthly
  • 8% of B2B companies publish new content less than once per month

Top Content Promotion Tactics

  • 58% of B2B companies use search engine marketing to distribute /promote content
  • 52% of B2B companies use print or other offline promotion to distribute / promote content
  • 49% of B2B companies use traditional online banner ads to distribute / promote content
  • 48% of B2B companies use social media ads to distribute / promote content
  • 42% of B2B companies use promoted posts, like promoted tweets to distribute / promote content
  • 34% of B2B companies use native advertising to distribute / promote content
  • 13% of B2B companies use content discovery tools to distribute / promote content

The Most Effective Content Promotion Tactics

  • 52% of B2B companies say search engine marketing is the most effective paid advertising method to distribute content
  • 41% of B2B companies say promoted social posts are the most effective paid advertising method to distribute content
  • 38% of B2B companies say social media ads are the most effective paid advertising method to distribute content
  • 36% of B2B companies say content discovery tools are the most effective paid advertising method to distribute content
  • 30% of B2B companies say print or other offline promotions are the most effective paid advertising method to distribute content
  • 26% of B2B companies say traditional online banner ads are the most effective paid advertising method to distribute content

Content Marketing Budgets 

  • 2% of B2B companies are spending 100% of their marketing budget on content marketing
  • 4% of B2B companies are spending 75-99% of their marketing budget on content marketing
  • 10% of B2B companies are spending 50-74% of their marketing budget on content marketing
  • 14% of B2B companies are spending 25-49% of their marketing budget on content marketing
  • 19% of B2B companies are spending 10-24% of their marketing budget on content marketing
  • 25% of B2B companies are spending 1-9% of their marketing budget on content marketing
  • 3% of B2B companies are spending 0% of their marketing budget on content marketing
  • 23% of B2B companies are unsure what percent of their marketing budget they are spending on content marketing

Content Marketing Budgets in the Next Year

  • 9% of B2B companies expect their content marketing budget to significantly increase in the next 12 months
  • 46% of B2B companies expect their content marketing budget to increase in the next 12 months
  • 32% of B2B companies expect their content marketing budget to remain the same in the next 12 months
  • 2% of B2B companies expect their content marketing budget to decrease in the next 12 months
  • 11% of B2B companies are unsure about any changes to their content marketing budget

Top Challenges B2B Content Marketers Face

  • 54% of B2B companies say producing engaging content is a top content marketing challenge
  • 50% of B2B companies say producing content consistently is a top content marketing challenge
  • 49% of B2B companies say measuring content effectiveness is a top content marketing challenge
  • 42% of B2B companies say producing a variety of content is a top content marketing challenge
  • 41% of B2B companies say a lack of budget is a top content marketing challenge
  • 34% of B2B companies say gaps in knowledge and skills of internal team is a top content marketing challenge
  • 32% of B2B companies say finding trained content marketing professionals is a top content marketing challenge
  • 30% of B2B companies say lack of integration across marketing is a top content marketing challenge
  • 29% of B2B companies say lack of buy-in or vision from higher ups is a top content marketing challenge
  • 20% of B2B companies say technology related challenges are a top content marketing challenge

Here’s the full report with colorful graphs and all (2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America) from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs:

B2B Content Marketing: 2015 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America reports on the findings gathered from the fifth annual content marketing survey conducted by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs and sponsored by Brightcove. More than 1,800 B2B marketers in North America from diverse industries and a wide range of company sizes responded to the survey in July and August 2014.

Top image: Shutterstock

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About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.