New Research Reveals Content as a Vital Tactic in B2B Marketing

“Content is king” – you’ve probably heard this catchphrase hundreds of times that it already sounds like a broken record. Guess what? You’ll hear it more this year as a recent study revealed that 54% of B2B marketers are planning to increase their content marketing investment this 2013.

This is the joint research entitled B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends conducted by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and leading online marketing resource, MarketingProfs. If you own a B2B company or a B2B marketer, the study reveals interesting trends you should look out for. Further, it’s a good gauge for you if your content marketing strategies and tactics are up-to-date based on best industry practices.

Content Marketing is More Prevalent in the B2B Arena

91% of the respondents who were surveyed said that they use content marketing. This is even higher in specific B2B segments. For instance, in the B2B software business, 99% of the survey respondents said they conduct content marketing using at average of 12 tactics. Bigger companies use 18 tactics or more.

This is five points higher than the 86% of B2C marketers who said they are carrying out content marketing to promote their products and services.

This should serve as a wake-up call for you if you don’t have a content marketing strategy in place. According to B2B marketers, the main challenge they are facing right now is not the effectiveness or how engaging their content marketing tactics are. The primary hurdle they are facing this year is the ability to produce enough content to satiate the demand for it.

The B2B market, your market, is hungry for content and if you’re not publishing your own, you are missing a great opportunity to push the boundaries of your reach and earn more revenue.

B2B Content is Getting Social

In the previous year, article creation was the most widely used content marketing tactic or distribution channel. This year, social media will surpass article creation as the preeminent content marketing tactic among B2B marketers. 87% of B2B marketers distribute content through social networking sites with 49% believing that it is an “effective” or “very effective” content marketing strategy.

On average, B2B companies use five social channels to distribute their content with LinkedIn occupying the top spot followed by Twitter and Facebook. Pinterest, the newcomer in the arena of visuals-driven social networks, is used by 25% of B2B marketers.

Again, this is another wakeup call for you to rethink your content marketing strategy. If you think social media marketing is only for B2C brands, think again. According to social media marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk, social networking sites are probably the biggest threat to search engines (most specifically, Google). More and more customers, including business-to-business customers, are turning to social spaces when looking for products or services.

Further, social proof is becoming a much bigger influence on people’s decisions whether to buy something or not. They turn to what their peers are saying about you online. Having bad social media reviews is bad. Having no social media reviews is equally bad.

According to Gary Vaynerchuk, your business won’t survive in the next five years if you don’t have a solid social media marketing in place. It’s high time to create one if you don’t have yet or to strengthen your current strategy if you think it’s not good enough.

Video Content is the Fastest Growing Segment in Content Marketing

When people talk about content, it is often centered on the written form of content that they tend to forget that there are other forms of content including infographics, podcasts, photos and videos.

Speaking of videos, according to the research, video content is the fastest rising segment in content marketing. This year, it is projected that the use of video content will increase by as much as 70% with research reports and mobile content trailing behind with an expected growth in usage by 44% and 33% respectively.

Going back to the use of social media, the #4 most used social network in B2B content marketing is YouTube. With Twitter recently launching vine, B2B marketing experts are projecting that the use of video will skyrocket this 2013.

Video content is one of the marketing unsung heroes. Businesses think videos are nice and flashy and that the main purpose of using them is to add “aesthetic value” to a site or add a bit of sophistication to a marketing campaign. Video content marketing is all these and more. According to statistics:

  • The probability of a video content ranking on the first page of Google is 50% higher than that of textual content
  • Videos are 4X more engaging than static content
  • 65% of business managers said they visited a B2B merchant’s site after watching a video about its products and services
  • 75% of C-Suite Executives (CEO, CFO, CIO, CMO, etc.) said they watch industry videos online at least once per week

The key takeaway here is that video content produce real, tangible and revenue-generating business results. It drives traffic, increases engagement and delivers conversions.

Content Will Continue to Reign as King

According to the study, the “best-in-class B2B content marketers” are those who:

  • Invest slightly higher in content marketing compared to their peers
  • Utilize more diverse tactics and various social networks
  • Create tailor content depending on their target audience

These B2B marketers are successful in raising awareness for their companies, are able to generate more and better quality leads and ultimately acquire more customers and increase their bottom line.

Now, the catchphrase “Content is King” does not sound empty anymore. As a B2B company owner or a B2B marketer, now you know that marketing experts are not just saying this because it sounds nice. Content does play a crucial role in helping you achieve your business objectives and that your customers use content as a primary gauge of your brand or business online.

It could be rewarding to pay attention and capitalize on the trends mentioned above. Review your social media marketing strategy and evaluate if you’re doing enough. Also, explore other forms of content apart from the textual kind. Video content is on the rise and it is worth discovering how your business can benefit from it.