Best Practices in Content Marketing

Leveraging the power of content to drive business opportunities and grow brand presence

Overview

Digital content is the key to engagement in today's connected marketplace. According to Cision, content marketing exceeded $300 billion in 2019. According to a survey by the Content Marketing Institute, most successful B2B marketers spend 40 percent of their budgets on content marketing. Meanwhile, the rapid proliferation of digital channels and formats — along with the insatiable appetite of customers in every market for fresh and relevant content — is pushing marketers to invest even more.

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The CMO Council's Content ROI Center is dedicated to advancing the discipline of content marketing. We are a go-to source of thought leadership, insight and services to help marketers more fully leverage the power of content to drive business opportunities, influence purchasing decisions, and grow brand presence. 

The Center is working with marketing leaders and experts around the world to develop advanced practices, identify best-in-class tools and resources, and create more compelling and strategic thought leadership and creative content campaigns. The Council offers a variety of strategic consulting, creative and outsourcing services designed to help marketing organizations optimize the way they develop, deliver and promote digital content to engage customer markets. (See here)

Among CMO Council research insights that underscore the problems and shortcomings in current content marketing initiatives:

  • Only 12 percent of marketers believe their content marketing programs targets the right audiences with relevant and persuasive content.
  • Only 21 percent say they are sufficiently partnered with their sales counterparts in developing and measuring demand generation programs.
  • Most view their content marketing process as ad hoc, decentralized and driven by internal stakeholder, rather than customer, interests.
  • While 88 percent of business buyers say online content impacts vendor selection, just nine percent think of vendors as trusted sources of content.

The ROI Center provides commentary and advice on the top 10 essentials for effective authority leadership-driven content marketing:

  1. Partner with credible + trusted sources
  2. Produce relevant + compelling strategic insights
  3. Add customer-contributed views + validation
  4. Present authoritative, newsworthy and enriched content
  5. Engage qualified, verified and predisposed audiences
  6. Target the whole influencer, specifier + buyer ecosystem
  7. Embrace multi-channel distribution, promotion + syndication
  8. Authenticate content consumption and buyer engagement
  9. Ensure lead legitimacy and compliance
  10. Cultivate, Activate and convert prospect flow

 

Content Services and Sponsorship Opportunities

To start a conversation about our Content ROI Services and learn more about sponsorship opportunities:

Email Bryan DeRose (bderose@cmocouncil.org) or call him 1-408-677-5330

 

CMO COUNCIL RESEARCH ON CONTENT MARKETING EFFECTIVENESS

 

BRINGING NEW COMPLIANCE TO LEAD MARKETING SCIENCE

According to a new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council report, “Are Garbage Leads Trashing Your Brand?”, marketers are now rethinking their lead generation strategies, techniques and sources to ensure better lead compliance and brand trust. New demands for marketing accountability and responsibility require structured opt-in and permission-based, legally compliant processes from third-party lead gen providers.

According to the CMO Council, the problem with questionable lead sourcing practices is getting worse by the day. A recent study from The Leads Council found that 47.1 percent of marketers believe lead quality from third-party lead gen campaigns is declining. They complain that leads are being oversold, with some questioning the ethics behind lead collection. Even worse, irresponsible lead gen providers can drag unsuspecting brands into legal hot water.

Truth is, B2B marketers rushing to acquire mass leads at the cheapest price have created the problem, notes the CMO Council. They’ve helped spawn a lead gen market full of bad actors, or at least bad practices that mock governance around lead compliance, lead capture, lead verification and lead qualification. As marketers continue to pour dollars into audience data acquisition — the market grew 17.7 percent last year to $11.9 billion — expect more bad behavior.

 

BRAND ATTRACTION FROM ENRICHED INTERACTION

A survey report by the CMO Council—entitled “Brand Attraction from Enriched Interaction”—reveals marketers still lag in creating multi-channel, digital marketing campaigns that reach and resonate with diverse, micro-audiences worldwide. Only 19 percent said they are extremely good or very good in this area. In contrast, 45 percent gave lackluster grades on their ability to captivate and engage customers, partners and employees through fully integrated mobile, web and social channels. This compares to just 21 percent who said they were very proficient.

The study was designed to assess the degree to which marketers are embracing new digital channels and content management technologies to realize the full value of rich media engagement, crowd-sourced content, and mass-customized commerce through higher levels of personalization and tailored interaction. Most notably, the study reveals that only 5 percent of respondents have highly, or tightly integrated, content and commerce compared to 64 percent who say they have plans or existing programs to improve this. 

A second CMO Council study entitled “From Content to Creativity: The Role of Visual Media in Impactful Brand Storytelling,” reveals that marketers believe visual assets -- including photography, illustrations, infographics and videos -- are core to customer engagement and will increase in usage. Video will most dramatically increase in importance in the near future, according to 79 percent of senior marketers. Infographics (60 percent), photographs (50 percent), and illustrations (41 percent) will also increase in usage. 

 

LEAD FLOW THAT HELPS YOU GROW

A detailed study from the CMO Council and the Content ROI Center finds most companies are struggling to originate compelling thought leadership content that engages the right customer decision makers and produces quality lead flow that can advance sales performance. Not only do marketers lack unanimity on what constitutes an actual sales lead, but they also are not teaming effectively with sales and business development groups. In most cases, these internal stakeholders lack synergy and alignment around demand generation strategies, themes and advocacy agendas.

Entitled “Lead Flow That Helps You Grow,” the North America-based research found:

  • Only 12 percent of marketers believe they have high-performance content marketing engines that are strategically programmed to target the right audiences with relevant and persuasive content. They are also not using multiple distribution and syndication channels for maximum reach, impact and return.
  • Most view their content marketing process as ad hoc, decentralized and driven by internal stakeholder interests.
  • Just 21 percent of marketers say they are total partners with their sales and business development counterparts when it comes to developing the strategy and measuring the effectiveness of demand generation programs.
  • Some 22 percent of marketers believe sales teams are too often a roadblock and detractor and are rarely a contributor to the content marketing value chain.

While 75 percent of marketers view the number of downloads or registrations as the most important measure of content marketing success, they admit to many key failings that impact this metric. The top five include not:

  • Developing customized content for target audiences (48 percent of respondents)
  • Allocating sufficient budget to create engaging and authoritative content (48 percent)
  • Producing content that is relevant or meaningful to different audiences (44 percent)
  • Reaching the right decision makers across the organization (43 percent)
  • Leveraging the right distribution channels and syndication opportunities to maximize reach (39 percent)

 

THE CONTENT CONNECTION TO VENDOR SELECTION

CMO Council research—entitled “The Content Connection to Vendor Selection”—provides insights into how different types of marketing content impact critical phases of vendor identification, qualification and consideration, as well as the path to selection and purchase.

The research found that content downloaded from trusted sources on the Internet was essential to pre-sales discovery, qualification and selection of vendors. It also showed that the sourcing, sharing and consumption of content occurred mostly among three types of informally structured buying groups within enterprise organizations.

According to the CMO Council, B2B marketers annually invest an estimated $16.6 billion in digital content publishing to acquire business leads, influence customer specification and consideration, as well as educate and engage prospects. Despite spending about 25 percent of their marketing budgets on content creation, the CMO Council notes most companies lack the necessary strategies, competencies and best practices to effectively engage their markets, and very few have content performance metrics in place to measure effectiveness and calculate ROI.

The study validates earlier CMO Council research that revealed 88 percent of 400 business buyers believe online content plays a major to moderate role in vendor selection, yet just nine percent of respondents think of vendors as trusted sources of content. Furthermore, CMO Council studies show that the most influential types of content across both the awareness and evaluation phases of the buying journey are third-party validated research reports and studies.

 

BETTER LEAD YIELD IN THE CONTENT MARKETING FIELD

Early CMO Council research reveals that business buyers give vendors poor marks for the value and trustworthiness of their online content, rating content produced by professional organizations and industry groups as more usable and relevant.

The report—entitled “Better Lead Yield in the Content Marketing Field”—looks at the critical need for marketing organizations to bring more discipline and strategic thinking to content specification, delivery and analytics. 

Despite spending about 25 percent of their marketing budgets on content creation, most companies lack the necessary strategies, competencies and best practices to effectively engage their markets. And very few have content performance measures and metrics in place to scorecard effectiveness and calculate ROI. 

According to the CMO Council’s report, organizations need to have well-conceived, customer-centric themes and subject areas, strong content origination capabilities and partnerships, more effective delivery networks, and measurable content performance tracking systems.

 

DEFINE WHAT’S VALUED ONLINE

A milestone CMO Council online survey, entitled “Define What’s Valued Online,” gained insights from more than 400 business buyers across a wide range of industries and functional areas worldwide. It clearly evidenced that online content plays an essential role in influencing Bt2B purchasing decisions.

The survey revealed:

  • 85 percent of respondents say online content plays a major to moderate role in vendor selection.
  • Some 28 percent say they share content with more than 100 colleagues while another 31 percent share it with 25 to 100 people.
  • Peer-powered organizations are the most trusted and valued sources of online content; 67 percent of respondents named research and white papers from professional organizations among their most trusted content sources compared to just 9 percent who named vendor white papers.
  • Other trusted and valued types of content include papers from industry organizations (50 percent); customer case studies (48 percent); analyst reports (44 percent); and independent product reviews (41 percent).

Research: Reports

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Facts & Stats

Visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.

Source: HubSpot

42 percent of customers indicated that a lack of personalization is more likely to drive them away from a purchase than poor design or a lack of optimization

Source: Forbes

Content marketing generates three times as many leads as paid search advertising.

Source: HubSpot

62 percent of top performing B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.

Source: Content Marketing Institute