Content marketing is now an important element of every business strategy. Its non-interruptive nature means brands are able to build strong relationships with their audiences, building brand loyalty and driving profitable customer action.
But how are brands turning their content marketing strategies into action and how do they measure results? What do they think the future holds?
Axonn Research's 2013 Content Marketing survey has canvassed the opinions of 424 marketing professionals and business leaders who work in-house (75 per cent), with an agency (nine per cent) or have managerial roles (16 per cent) within the company.
It emerged almost nine out of ten companies are using content marketing to attract or engage customers, creating material to achieve objectives including improved SEO and better social engagement. However, many companies still lack a clear strategy, experience and means to measure results.
From our research we have identified the following major trends in 2013:
There is wide-scale awareness of content marketing
many companies are still to adopt a clear strategy, although many firms have plans to develop a blueprint
there is a diverse spread of content being produced
content is almost uniformly identified as an effective marketing technique, which is being quantified by a number of different indicators.
AdWords spend, and print, television and radio advertising are being cut back to make way for content marketing, although for the most part, content marketing spend is being absorbed by the company, rather than the marketing budget.
Commenting on the results, Axonn CEO Fergus Parker said: "Since the term's inception in 2009, 'content marketing' has become one of the main ways organisations attract and engage with their online audiences. Particularly interesting for me is that our latest research shows two-thirds of all companies are still focused on news and blogs, with time and resources by far the largest challenge in delivering effective strategies. I expect to see a significant shift in focus around content types, specialisation and resource given to content marketing next year."