In today’s competitive business world, marketers everywhere are finding it harder and harder every day to break through the clutter of messages and online marketing channels to connect with their audience and be heard.
The current state of marketing today, according to the majority of marketers, is: “Overwhelming”. The marketing & sales landscape has changed dramatically in the recent past, and the strategies that worked for businesses just a few years ago are simply no longer effective. The ways in which consumers and buyers get their information, assess potential suppliers and make buying decisions is entirely different than it used to be. It is estimated that buyers are now, on average, 70% – 90% through the buyer journey before they’ll even engage with an organization – which means that marketing now has to bring the customer through the majority of the buyer lifestyle until they’re ready to buy.
Only in the final stages of the purchasing process do buyers even want to engage with sales, significantly changing the role of and responsibilities of marketing in today’s business environment. What used to take place in person via in-person sales meetings is now increasingly happening through digital channels. This massive shift in buyer behavior puts immense pressure on content as the first (and often second and third!) sales call for a company. For consumers and business-to-business decision-makers, online content provides a welcome alternative to superficial ads and high-pressure sales pitches.
Like 88% of the marketing professionals out there, you are likely using some form of content marketing, but you’re not seeing the results your business needs. For the majority of marketers, content marketing is their biggest challenge. Like most, you may be lacking a documented content strategy, struggling to produce engaging and consistent content, or lacking insight about the competition that your sales team needs to market better and win competitive deals.
Another top pain of marketers today is the lack of integration across marketing in their business. Proper integration across marketing channels has been proven to increase performance and results, yet many businesses fail to unify their messaging and marketing centered around the customer. For content marketing to succeed, it must also be consistent and integrated throughout your company’s media and marketing channels. Hence the importance of “integrated content marketing”.
Top challenges facing marketers today
Marketers face a significant number of challenges today. As outlined earlier, content marketing is their biggest challenge. But, what exactly is “content marketing”?
According to Joe Pulizzi, author of the best-selling Epic Content Marketing, he defines content marketing as: “the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” A content marketing strategy can leverage all story channels – print, online, video, infographics, in-person events, interactive, social media, etc.– and be employed at any and all stages of the buying process, from attention oriented strategies to retention and loyalty strategies, according to Pulizzi.
Here are just a few content marketing statistics that all businesses looking to grow revenues and market share should be aware of today:
- 88% of B2B marketers currently use content marketing as part of their marketing strategy, yet only 32% have a documented content marketing strategy.
- Content Marketing Costs 62% Less Than Traditional Marketing, and per dollar spent generates approximately 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing.
- 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content.
- 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.
- Content marketing leaders experience 7.8 times more site traffic than non-leaders
- Only 30% of B2B marketers say their organizations are effective at content marketing.
- B2B marketers cite lack of time (69%), producing enough content (55%), and producing the kind of content that engages (47%) as their top three content marketing challenges.
- Year-over-year growth in marketing’s contribution to revenue is more than 6x higher for leaders compared to followers (10.2% vs. 1.6%).
- 78% of CMOs see custom content as the future of marketing.
- The top three B2B goals of content marketing: Lead Generation (85%); Sales (84%); Lead Nurturing (78%).
- The demand for infographics has increased 800% in the past year.
- By 2017, video content will represent 74% of all internet traffic.
With these changes in marketing trends and the many challenges facing marketers today, the solution for businesses is clear: adopting an integrated content marketing program centered on the customer. However, it’s not an easy task to accomplish without a clear strategy, needed resources and implementation plan. The steps that marketers need to take to be successful at content marketing encompass:
- Content Strategy: A documented content marketing strategy, including a focus on the competitive landscape and engaging the services of a senior content marketing expert.
- Content Creation: Aligning resources for the consistent creation of quality content, both written (blogs, articles, eBooks, case studies, etc.) and visual (infographics, charts/graphs, videos, animation, photographs, and more).
- Content Distribution: Once your custom content is created, you will need to leverage a comprehensive content distribution platform and carefully plan your digital & social media strategy to promote your content effectively.
If you’re a B2B or B2C marketer who’s interested in being a leader – and accelerating your lead generation, sales and growing your business – then a review of your content marketing strategy is essential.
Blue Wave Marketing is the perfect partner for your integrated content marketing needs. We bring over 20 years of expertise, and have developed all kinds of marketing solutions for a variety of midsize to Fortune 500 companies. For a free content marketing assessment and brief demo of our services, call us today!
You can contact us by visiting us at our website or calling us at 617-576-3100.