93% of B2B marketers are competing with you for the attention of online consumers.

That’s some serious competition.

Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs just released this latest statistic in their B2B Content Marketing 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America report. This current state-of-content-marketing survey shows the advances in 2013 that will shape the winning strategies for 2014 in the highly competitive world of content marketing.

Advances in 2013:

  • B2B content marketers are using more social media than last year. 
  • B2B content marketers use an average of 13 media types, with infographics showing the biggest jump in use over the past year. 
  • 73% of B2B content marketers are producing more content than they did one year ago. 
  • 58% of B2B content marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months. 

What ONE THING will most improve your content marketing efforts in 2014?

Most Effective versus Least Effective

One definitive benchmark that stands out in this report is the glaring difference between B2B content marketers that consider their content marketing initiatives to be effective compared to those who believe their initiatives are not effective.

  • 42% of B2Bs actively using content marketing believe they are effective or very effective in their content marketing results. 
  • 57% are not convinced of the effectiveness of their content marketing activities, with opinions ranging from not at all effective (2%) to the middle ground of unsure (41%). 

A big difference.

What ONE THING is unique to that 42% of effective content marketers versus the 57% who are “doing” content marketing, but not effectively?

Content Marketing Lifecycle

66% of the most effective content marketers have a “documented content strategy.” 86% have a dedicated person or team managing that strategy.

In other words, they have a formal, planned and managed strategy–a lifecycle of activities.

In contrast, the following graph indicates that only 11% of companies in the least effective group use a documented content strategy, and only 46% have a dedicated team or individual to manage the effort.

These percentages show that companies may find content marketing to be less effective since a systematic strategy and dedicated support team/manager has not been a focus. Lack of a structured strategy can produce “random acts of marketing” with everyone doing their own thing, resulting in the ineffective results they are seeing.

 A seven-step content marketing lifecycle of Goals, Strategy, Calendar, Plan, Produce, Publish and Measure will produce that “documented content strategy.” Each successive step builds on previous actions, producing a comprehensive, repeatable content marketing strategy. In brief:

  • Goals: What you want to accomplish, and how you’ll measure success (set KPIs in place). 
  • Strategy: Define target audiences, select media channels to use, determine topics/subjects to address and what resources (talent, technology, budget) are available or what are additional needs. 
  • Calendar: Create an editorial calendar to manage content production and distribution, with one person or team overseeing the process. This keeps everyone focused and on the same page. 
  • Produce: Create your content according to strategic planning/editorial calendar. 
  • Publish: Publish and promote your content. 
  • Engage: Interact with your audiences where they are with what they need. 
  • Measure: Track metrics tied to goals that show effectiveness of your content. 

Other quantified differences in the report that are impacted by implementing a content marketing lifecycle include:

  • Effective content marketers use an average of seven social media platforms: least effective average four platforms. 
  • Effective content marketers use 15 content media types, least effective use only 10. 
  • Effective content marketers have 39% of their marketing budget spent on content marketing while the least effective content marketers only dedicate 16%. Note: Report indicates increasing budget for 2014 is planned by 58% of B2B marketers. 
  • 61% of the least effective group is challenged to produce engaging content; effective companies have about half that challenge, at 35%. 

Content Marketing in 2014

By implementing a content marketing lifecycle, you’ll pull all efforts into a planned, managed initiative that will impact every facet of your content marketing strategy, including all the people, processes and resources that make it happen. Defining goals in the beginning with assigned KPIs (key performance indicators) that align with those goals will provide measurements to get a true picture of how effective your overall content marketing initiative really is, and pinpoint where improvements can be made. No more guesswork.

We’ve examined only one segment from this Benchmarks report, but it is THE ONE THING to best improve your content marketing over the next year, especially if you find yourself in the 57% that are not really sure of the effectiveness of your content marketing activities.

Join the Conversation:

  • In what ways do you evaluate the effectiveness of your content marketing activities? 
  • What factors in this report will help to formulate your 2014 content marketing plans? 
  • What reasons do you have for not instituting a content marketing lifecycle strategy into your content marketing? 

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