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CONTENT MARKETING TRENDS 2015
Benchmarks From The Agency Perspective
Agencies tend to lead the charge in marketing trends. This research reveals the inside
priorities of agencies related to content marketing. Learn how agency professionals
plan to overcome new obstacles to achieving important content marketing objectives
based on their broad-range of client experience.
MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
You may adapt, copy, distri bute and transmit this work. However, you must attribute the work as produced by Ascend2
Marketing Automation Strategy Benchmarks for Small & Medium Business
MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring
MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research
Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring
MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research
Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring
TABLE OF CONTENTS
33
About the research .................................................................................................. 4
Most-important content marketing objectives ..................................................... 5
Rating the success of content marketing ............................................................. 6
Most-challenging obstacles to success .................................................................. 7
How budgets are changing ..................................................................................... 8
Most-effective types of content used ..................................................................... 9
Most-difficult types of content to create .............................................................. 10
Resources used for creating content ................................................................... 11
Content effectiveness versus degree of difficulty ............................................... 12
Most-useful metrics for measuring performance ................................................ 13
Research methodology and demographics ........................................................ 15
About the research partners ................................................................................. 16
About the Research
Budget constraints and content creation are challenging new obstacles to agency client success. As a result, these
two issues will likely effect your own small business. How do agency professionals plan to overcome these new
obstacles to achieving important content marketing objectives?
To find out, SharpSpring and Ascend2 fielded the Content Marketing Trends Survey and completed interviews with
290 marketing professionals; 74 of whom work for agencies that provide marketing solutions to other organizations.
The charts in this edition of the study, titled Content Marketing Trends 2015 Benchmarks from the Agency
Perspective, represent the broad range of client experience agencies provide.
All the best,
Scott Berry, Managing Director
MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research
Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring
What are the MOST IMPORTANT OBJECTIVES of a content marketing strategy?
Generating quality leads for clients is the most-important
content marketing objective for agencies.
SPRING FORWARD
Quality leads fuel the
entire sales process.
Without leads, the
whole sales process
grinds to a halt. Market-
ing automation helps
you generate more
leads, and identify the
anonymous traffic you
already have.
64%
51%
45%
31%
28%
26%
22%
18%
MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research
Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring
90% of marketing agencies rate content marketing
as successful.
SPRING FORWARD
Measuring the success
of marketing initiatives
is notoriously difficult.
Marketing automation
changes that, by identi-
fying exactly which
campaign generated
each lead. See the full
ROI for each campaign,
and know what works
and what doesn't.
How do you RATE THE SUCCESS of content marketing to achieve important objectives?
31%
59%
7%
37%
3%
MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research
Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring
Content can be expensive
and difficult to create, so
it's crucial to get all the
mileage out of it you can.
Offering it as gated
content and breaking off
pieces to use as part of
Nurturing campaigns are
two ways you can make
content work harder. With
marketing automation,
you'll know the right
people are getting the
right content at the right
time.
What are the MOST CHALLENGING OBSTACLES to content marketing success?
Budget and resource constraints are the biggest obstacles to
content marketing success.
SPRING FORWARD50%
45%
35%
28%
26%
26%
22%
20%
MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research
Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring
How are content marketing BUDGETS CHANGING?
Agency clients are spending more than ever on content
marketing.
SPRING FORWARD
As clients shell out more
for content marketing, it's
more important than ever
that they see results.
Agencies have to be able
to prove that they're using
client money well and that
they're driving revenue
with those dollars. Come
to the table armed with the
full picture of how many
leads and sales each
campaign produced.
Double down on what
works, cut loose what
doesn't.
62%
38%
0%
MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research
Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring
What are the MOST EFFECTIVE types of content used?
SPRING FORWARD
Sending prospects case
studies is an extremely
powerful way to demon-
strate the value of your
products and services.
Agencies and clients use
these in drip campaigns to
engage prospects and
help push them down the
sales funnel. Videos offer a
briefer engaging way to
show off that you have
what they want.
Heavy-hitting content like case studies and videos lead the pack as
the most-effective forms of content.
54%
49%
43%
39%
31%
27%
22%
9%
MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research
Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring
What are the MOST DIFFICULT types of content to create?
SPRING FORWARD
Videos and webinars are the most difficult content for
agencies to create.
It's important for all
content to get delivered
where and when it will
make the biggest
difference, but it's even
more important when
that content is difficult
to create. It takes a lot
of resources to produce
content that works, so
make sure that it's
driving leads, boosting
engagement, and
closing sales.
64%
64%
47%
31%
22%
11%
9%
8%
MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research
Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring
What are the MOST EFFECTIVE RESOURCES for creating content?
Almost all agencies recommend outsourcing some or all of
content creation.
SPRING FORWARD
The key to delivering
results is leveraging your-
self and your agency the
right way. Many agencies
are now using outside
content-creation resources
to free up their time for the
parts that only they can
provide. When you aren't
so busy designing content,
you can spend more time
designing campaigns and
strategies, and your clients
will see the difference.
MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research
Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring
Most effective types of content versus most difficult to create.
An effective content marketing strategy is a balancing
act between results and budget.
SPRING FORWARD
In an ideal world, you
could use as much of
every type of content as
you want, but obstacles
like time and budget
mean we have to make
smart decisions about
what to work on. Instead
of guessing at which
content is paying off, use
marketing automation to
see exactly how well
content is performing, so
you can generate more
results from the same time
and money.
54%
49%
43%
39%
31%
27%
22%
9%
MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research
Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring
What are the MOST USEFUL METRICS for measuring content marketing performance?
The best indicators of content marketing success are traffic
volume, conversion rates, and lead quality of that traffic.
SPRING FORWARD
At the most basic level,
content marketing has
two main goals. First,
generate more leads.
Second, convert those
leads into sales. That
means the best way to
gauge success is by
looking at the three main
pieces involved: leads,
conversion, and sales.
51%
45%
43%
36%
28%
28%
24%
16%
MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research
Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring
Research Methodology And Survey Demographics
Ascend2 benchmarks the performance of popular digital marketing strategies and
practices using a standardized questionnaire, research methodology and 3-Minute
Survey format. Findings are examined in a quantitative context by experienced ana-
lysts and reported objectively.
This survey was conducted online from a panel of more than 50,000 US and interna-
tional marketing, sales and business professionals. The following is a breakout of
the demographics represented in this report:
Primary Marketing/Sales Channel
• B2B (Business-to-Business) 80%
• B2C (Business-to-Consumer) 20%
Number of Employees
• More than 500 4%
• 50 to 500 14%
• Fewer than 50 82%
Role in the Agency
• CEO / COO / CMO / CSO etc 58%
• Marketing VP / Director / Manager 23%
• Sales VP / Director / Manager 7%
• Marketing or Sales Staff 9%
• Other 3%
About The Research Partners
MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research
Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring
Simple Marketing Automation for Agencies- Powerful, affordable marketing tools that help you automate workflows,
drive more leads and convert them to sales.
Learn more at www.SharpSpring.com
Research-Based Demand Generation for Marketing Solution Providers- Marketing software firms and marketing
agencies partner with Ascend2 to reliably generate new business opportunities.
Learn more at www.Ascend2.com
Helping Organizations Compete & Grow- Real world marketing and sales services to help your business reach,
attract and win valuable clients.
Learn more at www.MarketCrest.com
15

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Content Marketing Trends- Research and Benchmarks

  • 1. CONTENT MARKETING TRENDS 2015 Benchmarks From The Agency Perspective Agencies tend to lead the charge in marketing trends. This research reveals the inside priorities of agencies related to content marketing. Learn how agency professionals plan to overcome new obstacles to achieving important content marketing objectives based on their broad-range of client experience. MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring
  • 2. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. You may adapt, copy, distri bute and transmit this work. However, you must attribute the work as produced by Ascend2 Marketing Automation Strategy Benchmarks for Small & Medium Business MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring
  • 3. MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring TABLE OF CONTENTS 33 About the research .................................................................................................. 4 Most-important content marketing objectives ..................................................... 5 Rating the success of content marketing ............................................................. 6 Most-challenging obstacles to success .................................................................. 7 How budgets are changing ..................................................................................... 8 Most-effective types of content used ..................................................................... 9 Most-difficult types of content to create .............................................................. 10 Resources used for creating content ................................................................... 11 Content effectiveness versus degree of difficulty ............................................... 12 Most-useful metrics for measuring performance ................................................ 13 Research methodology and demographics ........................................................ 15 About the research partners ................................................................................. 16
  • 4. About the Research Budget constraints and content creation are challenging new obstacles to agency client success. As a result, these two issues will likely effect your own small business. How do agency professionals plan to overcome these new obstacles to achieving important content marketing objectives? To find out, SharpSpring and Ascend2 fielded the Content Marketing Trends Survey and completed interviews with 290 marketing professionals; 74 of whom work for agencies that provide marketing solutions to other organizations. The charts in this edition of the study, titled Content Marketing Trends 2015 Benchmarks from the Agency Perspective, represent the broad range of client experience agencies provide. All the best, Scott Berry, Managing Director
  • 5. MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring What are the MOST IMPORTANT OBJECTIVES of a content marketing strategy? Generating quality leads for clients is the most-important content marketing objective for agencies. SPRING FORWARD Quality leads fuel the entire sales process. Without leads, the whole sales process grinds to a halt. Market- ing automation helps you generate more leads, and identify the anonymous traffic you already have. 64% 51% 45% 31% 28% 26% 22% 18%
  • 6. MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring 90% of marketing agencies rate content marketing as successful. SPRING FORWARD Measuring the success of marketing initiatives is notoriously difficult. Marketing automation changes that, by identi- fying exactly which campaign generated each lead. See the full ROI for each campaign, and know what works and what doesn't. How do you RATE THE SUCCESS of content marketing to achieve important objectives? 31% 59% 7% 37% 3%
  • 7. MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring Content can be expensive and difficult to create, so it's crucial to get all the mileage out of it you can. Offering it as gated content and breaking off pieces to use as part of Nurturing campaigns are two ways you can make content work harder. With marketing automation, you'll know the right people are getting the right content at the right time. What are the MOST CHALLENGING OBSTACLES to content marketing success? Budget and resource constraints are the biggest obstacles to content marketing success. SPRING FORWARD50% 45% 35% 28% 26% 26% 22% 20%
  • 8. MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring How are content marketing BUDGETS CHANGING? Agency clients are spending more than ever on content marketing. SPRING FORWARD As clients shell out more for content marketing, it's more important than ever that they see results. Agencies have to be able to prove that they're using client money well and that they're driving revenue with those dollars. Come to the table armed with the full picture of how many leads and sales each campaign produced. Double down on what works, cut loose what doesn't. 62% 38% 0%
  • 9. MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring What are the MOST EFFECTIVE types of content used? SPRING FORWARD Sending prospects case studies is an extremely powerful way to demon- strate the value of your products and services. Agencies and clients use these in drip campaigns to engage prospects and help push them down the sales funnel. Videos offer a briefer engaging way to show off that you have what they want. Heavy-hitting content like case studies and videos lead the pack as the most-effective forms of content. 54% 49% 43% 39% 31% 27% 22% 9%
  • 10. MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring What are the MOST DIFFICULT types of content to create? SPRING FORWARD Videos and webinars are the most difficult content for agencies to create. It's important for all content to get delivered where and when it will make the biggest difference, but it's even more important when that content is difficult to create. It takes a lot of resources to produce content that works, so make sure that it's driving leads, boosting engagement, and closing sales. 64% 64% 47% 31% 22% 11% 9% 8%
  • 11. MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring What are the MOST EFFECTIVE RESOURCES for creating content? Almost all agencies recommend outsourcing some or all of content creation. SPRING FORWARD The key to delivering results is leveraging your- self and your agency the right way. Many agencies are now using outside content-creation resources to free up their time for the parts that only they can provide. When you aren't so busy designing content, you can spend more time designing campaigns and strategies, and your clients will see the difference.
  • 12. MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring Most effective types of content versus most difficult to create. An effective content marketing strategy is a balancing act between results and budget. SPRING FORWARD In an ideal world, you could use as much of every type of content as you want, but obstacles like time and budget mean we have to make smart decisions about what to work on. Instead of guessing at which content is paying off, use marketing automation to see exactly how well content is performing, so you can generate more results from the same time and money. 54% 49% 43% 39% 31% 27% 22% 9%
  • 13. MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring What are the MOST USEFUL METRICS for measuring content marketing performance? The best indicators of content marketing success are traffic volume, conversion rates, and lead quality of that traffic. SPRING FORWARD At the most basic level, content marketing has two main goals. First, generate more leads. Second, convert those leads into sales. That means the best way to gauge success is by looking at the three main pieces involved: leads, conversion, and sales. 51% 45% 43% 36% 28% 28% 24% 16%
  • 14. MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring Research Methodology And Survey Demographics Ascend2 benchmarks the performance of popular digital marketing strategies and practices using a standardized questionnaire, research methodology and 3-Minute Survey format. Findings are examined in a quantitative context by experienced ana- lysts and reported objectively. This survey was conducted online from a panel of more than 50,000 US and interna- tional marketing, sales and business professionals. The following is a breakout of the demographics represented in this report: Primary Marketing/Sales Channel • B2B (Business-to-Business) 80% • B2C (Business-to-Consumer) 20% Number of Employees • More than 500 4% • 50 to 500 14% • Fewer than 50 82% Role in the Agency • CEO / COO / CMO / CSO etc 58% • Marketing VP / Director / Manager 23% • Sales VP / Director / Manager 7% • Marketing or Sales Staff 9% • Other 3%
  • 15. About The Research Partners MarketCrest Presents Ascend2 Research Conducted in Partnership with SharpSpring Simple Marketing Automation for Agencies- Powerful, affordable marketing tools that help you automate workflows, drive more leads and convert them to sales. Learn more at www.SharpSpring.com Research-Based Demand Generation for Marketing Solution Providers- Marketing software firms and marketing agencies partner with Ascend2 to reliably generate new business opportunities. Learn more at www.Ascend2.com Helping Organizations Compete & Grow- Real world marketing and sales services to help your business reach, attract and win valuable clients. Learn more at www.MarketCrest.com 15