Most of what constitutes content marketing today is noise. While papers are drafted, reports are written, social media is scheduled and ads are bought, the marketing needle sits still. That’s because noise doesn’t stand out, drive interest or engage audiences. But that doesn’t mean content marketing isn’t worth the effort.
A joint report between Heinz Marketing and ON24, “Cut Through the B2B Noise: Drive Engagement, Action, Conversion and Loyalty,” found that while content marketing today is suffering in general, there is a path to success.
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The Bad News Around Content Marketing Today
The report found that most ineffectual content marketing programs aren’t organized around data, measurements and audiences. Without a proper content infrastructure in place, marketers, in the short-term, are taking a step back from where they should be.
First, the report found only one in four content marketing professionals are confident in their strategy. Up to 47 percent of respondents rate their strategy as “somewhat effective.” Another 20 percent say their strategy isn’t effective at all.
Second, marketers are having a hard time generating relevant content. The report found that more than 45 percent of respondents are somewhat or not confident at all that they’re creating relevant content. By contrast, only one in five respondents say they’re very or extremely confident they’re creating content relevant to target audiences.
Third, marketers aren’t confident in their ability to measure the impact of content. According to the report, more than 70 percent of surveyed marketers say they’re only somewhat or not at all confident in their ability to measure the impact of their content marketing efforts. Only 13 percent of respondents say they’re extremely or very confident in measuring content impact.
All this adds up to an ecosystem where marketers lack confidence in their content. According to the report, more than 65 percent of marketing professionals claim to be only somewhat confident or not confident that their content is driving desired revenue results.
What Is Working In Content Marketing
But it’s not all doom and gloom. The small percentage of B2B content marketing programs that are successful share remarkably similar patterns. These programs, according to the report, tend to prioritize engagement, personalize content and are aligned around a customer story.
The report found that, of the marketers who have high confidence in the ability of their programs, successful content is usually shared through certain formats and channels. These media clearly have a preference for two-way, interactive engagements with audiences — increasing the time spent with high-performing content.
But what makes for high-performing content? The report found that the most successful content programs focus intensely on personalizing the experiences. In fact, many of the marketers who report content marketing success say they focus more on the experience than they do for scale and efficiency — especially when it comes to high-target accounts.
Part of what makes this personalization possible, the report found, is the ability to empathize with the buyer’s story. For example, instead of sharing the company’s story, successful content marketers develop content focusing on the prospect’s story first. Doing so lengthens the buying cycle, but it builds interest and engagement in accounts that matter.
Finally, found that great content marketing programs are a team effort. Marketing, sales and customer departments tend to be heavily aligned and share a consistent story across channels. The added benefit of tightly-integrated teams, in fact, is the ability to use the same content and story from team to team, providing customers and prospects with a consistent experience.
Most content marketing efforts today are in a bad place. They’re disorganized, uncertain and need a foundational platform to build from. Over the next few weeks, ON24 will explore the basics of building a content marketing program that breaks through the B2B noise and connects with the audience. Keep an eye on this space to learn more.