The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation
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The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation

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Learn how B2B marketers are harnessing the power of content marketing to demonstrate thought leadership, raise brand visibility and generate qualified leads. ...

Learn how B2B marketers are harnessing the power of content marketing to demonstrate thought leadership, raise brand visibility and generate qualified leads.

To what extent are companies outsourcing content creation or licensing third-party content assets? How are they utilizing these assets? How much are they spending? How are they measuring performance? Are their investments paying off? What are the challenges? The research findings help answer these and many other questions.

Based on the experiences of leading marketers at more than 250 companies

Authored by one of the industry's foremost research analysts and thought leaders

More in: Marketing
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  • 1. 1 The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation Key Research Findings and Analyst Insights MEDIA PARTNERS:
  • 2. 2 Greetings Welcome to The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation. Several months in the making, this collaborative research effort was designed to provide a rich, up-to-date snapshot of how B2B companies are creating, licensing and utilizing content assets in their incessant quest to demonstrate thought leadership, raise brand visibility, and, perhaps most importantly, generate qualified leads. While there was already good research out there on B2B content marketing (kudos to the Content Marketing Institute, in particular, for their outstanding work over the past 5 years), we found that there remained a number of unexplored areas that warranted further investigation.We believed that capturing the right data – from hundreds of marketers with first-hand experience – and gaining actionable insights into these areas could benefit not only our company, given our purview, but countless others, as well. To what extent are companies outsourcing content creation or licensing third-party content assets? How are they utilizing these assets? How much are they spending? How are they measuring performance? Are their investments paying off? What are the challenges?Who is furthest down the path? The research findings help answer these and many other questions while providing B2B marketers with valuable guidance for taking their content marketing and lead generation activities to the next level. Best of luck! Jeff Zabin Founder and CEO Starfleet Media
  • 3. 3 Greetings We’re excited to have partnered with Starfleet Media on The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation. Our mission is to provide resources and continuing education and support for sales and marketing professionals around the world. Reports like this help us keep a finger on the pulse of what's happening, as well as the challenges faced by sales and marketing teams. If you're in the B2B space and focused on content marketing and lead generation for your business, whether you're part of a sales team or part of a marketing team, know that you're not alone.There's a lot of valuable information contained in this report and we hope that it helps you as you develop your marketing strategies for the remainder of 2014 and work to fine-tune your budgets, resource allocations and marketing strategies for 2015. And if you're looking for a deeper dive into topics related to content marketing, lead generation and developing effective integrated marketing strategies, we hope you'll attend one of our upcoming events.The events are designed for sales and marketing leaders just like you. We hope to see you there. Shawn Elledge CEO Integrated Marketing Summit & Demandcon
  • 4. 4 36% 91% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Retain existing customers Acquire new customers Big-Picture Objectives The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation – Starfleet Media 4 What are your company’s primary objectives for investing in content marketing in the first place? First and foremost, content marketing is about getting new prospects in the door • Companies are more than 2.5-times more likely to be focused on using content marketing for new customer acquisition than for customer retention purposes.
  • 5. 5 Granular Objectives 47% 56% 64% 72% 81% 86% 89% 93% 0 20 40 60 80 100 Educate the marketplace Reduce traditional marketing costs Demonstrate thought leadership Improve search engine ranking Drive increased website traffic Generate better leads Generate more leads Raise brand visibility What are your company’s primary objectives for investing in content marketing in the first place? How successful have companies been in achieving these objectives? • Fewer than one-eighth (12%) of survey respondents report that they have been “very successful”in achieving their primary objectives for content marketing. • Fewer than one-third (30%) of survey respondents report that they have been “successful”in achieving their primary objectives for content marketing. • More than one-third (35% )of survey respondents report that they have“not been successful”in achieving their primary objectives for content marketing. The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation – Starfleet Media 5
  • 6. 6 The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation – Starfleet Media 6 Fast Fact Marketers rate“raise branding visibility”as their number one objective with content marketing. This is true across nearly all industries, all geographies and all company sizes.
  • 7. 7 Content Popularity How many content assets? Which ones have proven to be the most valuable? • Companies across all industries report that they produced or licensed an average of 4.5 new content assets over the past 12 months. • Cross-industry software providers produced or licensed an average of 7.5 new content assets over the past 12 months while industry-specific software providers produced or licensed an average of 5 new assets during this same period. • Non-software providers produced or licensed an average of only 3.5 new assets • Survey respondents ranked company-branded eBooks, case studies and third- party research reports as having created the most value for their companies. Which, if any, of the following content assets has your company put to use in the past 12 months? 9% 14% 21% 32% 39% 41% 53% 63% 69% 0 20 40 60 80 Infographic(s) – licensed from a third party Buyer’s guide(s) – company-branded only Research report(s) – company-branded only Webinar /other video(s) – with a third party Research report(s) – licensed from a third party Infographic(s) – company-branded only eBook(s) – company-branded only Webinar /other video(s) – company-branded only Case studies / client success stories The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation – Starfleet Media 7
  • 8. 8 To Gate or Not to Gate What percentage of the content assets listed on the previous page are gated (registration required to download) versus ungated (no registration required)? Content assets need to be gated to generate leads (but not to be valuable) • Infographics are rarely gated but nonetheless rated valuable by 92% of marketers for their ability to drive website traffic and create brand awareness. • Case studies are also rarely gated but rated valuable by 90% of marketers for their ability to substantiate benefits and results via client testimonials. • Some content assets, such as recorded webinars, may be ungated on some platforms (e.g., YouTube) and gated on others (e.g., the company website). 80% Gated (registration required to access content) 20% Ungated (no registration required to access content) The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation – Starfleet Media 8
  • 9. 9 The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation – Starfleet Media 9 Fast Fact Most companies are using content marketing to generate not only more leads but also better-quality leads – as a magnet to attract those needles in a haystack. In fact, 82% of marketers seeking to improve lead quantity are also seeking to improve lead quality.
  • 10. 10 Outsourcing Functions Which, if any, of the following content marketing and lead generation functions did your company outsource over the past 12 months? 18% 21% 27% 51% 64% 68% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 Search engine marketing Content landing page creation Content marketing strategy Demand generation Content asset design Content development (writing and editorial) The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation – Starfleet Media 10 Outsourcing of certain functions is on the rise, regardless of company size • Marketers report that their plans to outsource over the next 12 months will increase slightly in the areas of demand generation (54% plan to outsource) and content marketing strategy (35% plan to outsource). • Marketers report that their plans to outsource over the next 12 months will remain roughly the same in all other areas. • Very large and large companies are nearly as likely to outsource content development and design functions as midsize and small companies that may lack in-house resources (63% compared to 69%).
  • 11. 11 Distribution Tactics Which, if any, of the following content distribution tactics has your company used over the past 12 months to generate leads? 4% 6% 6% 7% 7% 10% 12% 14% 17% 18% 26% 34% 38% 40% 46% 58% 69% 72% 84% 85% 90% 92% 96% 0 20 40 60 80 100 Promoted Tweets Print advertising / promotion Outsourced telephone marketing / promotion Paid banner ads Facebook sponsored posts LinkedIn Ads Content discovery platforms (e.g., Outbrain, Taboola) Paid content placement in trade media Content syndication platforms (e.g., Madison Logic, Netline) Pinterest Bylined articles in trade publications SlideShare Search engine marketing on Google (i.e., AdWords) Press releases Google+ LinkedIn Groups YouTube / Vimeo LinkedIn updates Email newsletters and/or other email marketing Facebook posts Blogging on company website Tweets Sales and account management team outreach The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation – Starfleet Media 11 “Let me send you follow-up materials”is the top content distribution tactic • Social media sites account for half of the top ten content distribution tactics. • Nine of the top ten content distribution tactics are essentially free vehicles; only press releases can be said to fall into the“paid promotion”category.
  • 12. 12 Fast Fact Marketers use social media (92% tweet) far more extensively than paid search (38% use Google AdWords) to help generate leads. They employ an average of 3.5 social media platforms to promote their content assets. The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation – Starfleet Media 12
  • 13. 13 Optimization Tactics 28% Do it 72% Don't do it 12% Do it 88% Don't do it SEO / landing page optimization Progressive profiling 42% Do it 58% Don't do it A/B and/or multivariate testing Which, if any, of the following content optimization tactics has your company used over the past 12 months to generate leads? The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation – Starfleet Media 13 What are“optimization tactics”? Good question. Here are some basic definitions. • Landing page optimization is a category that, technically, includes progressive profiling and A/B testing. With SEO, however, the focus is on performance improvement via keywords, title tags, META descriptions, headlines, URLs, etc.. • Progressive Profiling is technology that makes it possible to display new form fields to prospects based on the information previously collected on them. • A/B and multivariate testing refer to randomized experiments with different variants of a landing page to determine which version performs the best.
  • 14. 14 Third-Party Content Percent of marketers who“agree”or “strongly agree”that unbiased third- party content is generally perceived as more credible than company- branded content 89 Percent of marketers who“agree”or “strongly agree”that unbiased third-party content generally produces higher-quality leads than company-branded content 76 Percent of marketers who view the lack of exclusivity with multi- sponsored third-party content as problematic (with 22% viewing the sharing leads as problematic) 27 The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation – Starfleet Media 14
  • 15. 15 Related Spending The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation – Starfleet Media 15 Spending on content marketing will increase for most companies— some by a lot • Almost two-thirds (63%) of marketers plan to allocate a greater portion of their marketing budgets to content marketing over the next 12 months. • Almost one-quarter (23% )of companies plan to more than double their spending on content marketing over the next 12 months. • None of the survey respondents indicated that their companies plan to reduce their spending on content marketing over the next 12 months. 16% 3% 9% 17% 14% 13% 10% 8% 7% 3% 0% 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 Don't know 10 percent or less 11 to 20 percent 21 to 30 percent 31 to 40 percent 41 to 50 percent 51 to 60 percent 61 to 70 percent 71 to 80 percent 81 to 90 percent More than 90 percent What percent of your company’s overall marketing budget was allocated to content marketing during the past 12 months?
  • 16. 16 Measuring Success The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation – Starfleet Media 16 “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” - Peter Drucker • “Number of leads” is easier to track than “quality of leads,” although the latter is clearly the more important metric; “Quality of leads” and “sales conversions” go hand in hand. • Large and very large companies are nearly twice as likely as small and very small companies (62% compared to 34%) to calculate marketing ROI. 31% 35% 44% 52% 66% 78% 84% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Brand awareness / social shares / media mentions SEO ranking Cost savings / marketing ROI Website traffic Quality of leads Sales conversions Number of leads What metrics does your company currently use to track and measure the performance of your company’s content marketing campaigns?
  • 17. 17 The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation – Starfleet Media 17 Fast Fact Marketers rate“number of leads”as the number one metric for tracking and measuring the performance of their content marketing campaigns. This metric is closely followed by“number of sales conversions.”
  • 18. 18 Related Challenges The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation – Starfleet Media 18 When it comes to lead generation, content is king • While resource constraints are more likely to be an issue for large and very large companies than for small and very small companies (72% compared to 86%), companies of all sizes and across nearly all industries struggle almost the same when it comes to creating compelling content. • The ability to generate high-quality leads, as well as sufficient numbers of leads, is almost always a function of having compelling content. 32% 41% 48% 62% 69% 79% 81% 86% 0 20 40 60 80 100 Tracking and measuring results Budgetary constraints Managing campaigns effectively Time constraints Generating enough leads Generating high-quality leads Creating compelling content Resource constraints What have been your company’s biggest challenges with content marketing?
  • 19. 19 Notable Disparities The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation – Starfleet Media 19 Industry-wide software providers produced or licensed nearly twice as many new content assets over the past 12 months, on average, than non- software providers (7.5 compared to 3.5 new content assets). Industries Compared to sales professionals, marketing professionals are 18% more likely to view“raise brand visibility”and 13% more likely to view“demonstrate thought leadership”as primary objectives with content marketing. Roles Large and very large companies are 3- times as likely as small and very small companies (55% compared to 18%) to use A/B testing and other optimization tactics to improve the performance of their content marketing campaigns. Company Sizes* *Very small (less than $1 million in revenue); Small ($1 million to $10 million); Medium ($10 million to $100 million); Large ($100 million to $1 billion); Very large (more than $1 billion)
  • 20. 20 Research Participants Research for this benchmark report was conducted in Q2 2014. It is based on survey responses from a range of marketing and sales professionals, many of whom subscribed to the author’s previous research on marketing, CRM and sales improvement. A total of 261 qualified respondents from North America (71%), Europe (23%) and other parts of the world (6%) – and from very large (16%), large (21%), medium (18%), small (27%) and very small (18%) companies – completed the survey, which can be found here. The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation – Starfleet Media 20 CMOs 4% Marketing EVPs, SVPs or VPs 12% Sales or business developmentEVPs, SVPs or VPs 5% Marketing or advertising directors 12% Sales or business development directors 7% Marketing or advertising directors 16% Heads of lead generation 5% PR / Communications directors or managers 4% Marketing, managers, associates or staff 21% Other 14% Software 13% Business services 4% Hardware 4% Construction 2% Educational / learning 4% Engineering / architectural 2% Financial / accounting 9% Food & beverage / restaurant 4% Government 4% Healthcare / pharma 5% Insurance 3% Manufacturing 5% Publishing / media 4% Real Estate 2% Wholesale 4% Telecommunications 3% Transportation / logistics 3% Travel / hospitality 3% Other 17% Titles /corporate functions Industries
  • 21. 21 Media Partners DemandCon is an interactive community of knowledgeable marketing and sales professionals who want to advance their understanding of demand generation, lead management and sales and marketing alignment.Today we have a database of over 500,000 marketing and sales professionals in the U.S. and Europe.We offer free webinars, an e-newsletter and in person events.To learn more, please visit www.demandcon.com. IMS is the signature summit for marketing and advertising professionals in both B-to- B and B-to-C markets throughout the U.S. IMS provides actionable insights, expertise and cutting-edge information in a convenient, affordable two-day educational format.To learn more, please visit www.integratedmarketingsummit.com. The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation – Starfleet Media 21 BtoB Sales and Marketing is a leading online resource dedicated to the continuing education and support of B2B sales and marketing professionals in the U.S. and around the world.To learn more, please visit www.btobsalesandmarketing.com.
  • 22. 22 About the Author Jeff Zabin is founder and CEO of Starfleet Media. He previously served as CEO and research director at Gleanster, a leading IT market research firm, and as VP and research fellow at Aberdeen Group, which is part of Harte-Hanks, a $200M marketing services company. His bestselling business books on data-driven marketing improvement have been translated into more than a dozen languages and he has authored more than 350 influential research reports and articles over the past decade. He can be reached at jz@starfleetmedia.com. Starfleet Media is the leading provider of content marketing programs tailored to meet the inbound marketing and lead generation needs of B2B companies in selected niche markets. Participating companies underwrite Smart Decision Guides™ – compelling, comprehensive and unbiased content assets that help people make informed buying decisions – allowing them to raise brand awareness, educate target audiences, increase website traffic, generate qualified leads and acquire new customers in a cost-effective manner. Our proven demand generation methodology, extensive partner network, and next-generation SEO infrastructure ensure that Smart Decision Guides“get found”by the right prospects. To learn more, please visit www.starfleetmedia,com. The 2014 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation – Starfleet Media 22