Why Content Marketing Is King
BY Mikal E. Belicove. October 20, 2011
When it comes to marketing strategies, content marketing has just
been crowned king, far surpassing search engine marketing, public
relations and even print, television and radio advertising as the
preferred marketing tool for today's business-to-business entrepreneur.
Late this summer, HiveFire, a Cambridge, Mass.-based internet marketing
software solutions company, surveyed nearly 400 marketing professionals
about the state of the business-to-business, or B2B, market, and
discovered that marketers are retreating from traditional marketing
tactics such as search marketing and have made content marketing
the most-used tactic in their brand-enhancing tool box. Fact is,
according to HiveFire's B2B Marketing Trends Survey Report, twice
as many B2B marketers now employ content marketing as they do print,
TV and radio advertising, according to the survey.
So what exactly is content marketing? It's the creation and publication
of original content -- including blog posts, case studies, white
papers, videos and photos -- for the purpose of generating leads,
enhancing a brand's visibility, and putting the company's subject
matter expertise on display. HiveFire's researchers found that an
impressive 82 percent of B2B marketers now employ content marketing
as a strategy in their marketing programs. Coming in at a distant
second place is search engine marketing at 70 percent, followed
by events at 68 percent, public relations at 64 percent and print/TV/radio
advertising at 32 percent.
Seventy-eight percent of respondents said driving sales and leads
was the top marketing goal of their organization, followed by boosting
brand awareness and establishing or maintaining thought leadership
(both at 35 percent). Another 28 percent said their primary goal
was to increase web traffic and 24 percent said it was to improve
Part of the popularity of content marketing is its ability to generate
qualified leads while engaging prospects in a branded environment
without busting the budget. Nearly half of the content marketers
interviewed said they dedicate less than a third of their budgets
to such marketing expenditures. In addition to frugality, B2B marketers
also believe most of their customers and prospects are online, which
is why they're focusing their marketing efforts on the Internet.
Finally, the survey shows that "content curation" --
which is defined as the process of finding, organizing and sharing
content -- continues to gain strength as a top marketing strategy,
up 17 percent from six months ago. Seen as a way for marketers to
fuel their marketing programs, content curation does have its problems.
Nearly 70 percent of content curators say lack of time hinders their
efforts, with 66 percent saying a lack of original and quality content
is a major drawback. Another 38 percent say difficulty in measuring
results is the stumbling block and 37 percent say lack of staff
to do the work is the hindrance.
Despite these issues, the survey makes clear that content marketing
is only going to become more important going forward, whether you
market to other businesses or to the public at large.