In the Future of Content Marketing survey, 39% of nearly 60 respondents indicated they did not have a defined content marketing strategy. If you have read my past three articles on content marketing (article 1, article 2, and article 3), then this percentage number is strikingly similar. This percentage further validates the findings of a recent survey by eConsultancy, which found 38% of 1,300 businesses, did not have a defined content marketing strategy.
Q: Do you and your organization currently have a defined content marketing strategy?
My guess is that the percentage number of 39% will shrink in 2013. Of those who did not have a defined content strategy, nearly 75% are planning to have one in 2013.
Q: Select the choice that best describe your and your organization's plans for implementing a content marketing strategy.
I am predicting to get on the same level playing field in 2013; CMO’s and marketers will need this entrance ticket.
As promised, I am about to share with you most of the findings. Many thanks to those who took the survey and for advancing further this important discussion.
I will offer commentary on a few items. What I am hoping is my sharing will spark a discussion. Please make use of the comment section to give your perspectives.
First, quick facts on who responded:
The majority of responses came from marketing managers at 27%
24% came from senior levels – ranging from VP marketing or Sales to CEO’s
The majority of companies responding were B2B (60%) or both B2B and B2C (32%)
One aspect of the survey I was interested in had to do with effectiveness. Of the 60% who responded to yes - indicating they had a defined content marketing strategy, nearly 16% did not believe it was effective. This contrasts with the findings of a more extensive survey by CMI of 36% not believing their content marketing was effective. While we cannot extrapolate much from these percentages, it is fair to say effectiveness will be an ongoing goal.
One of the questions that piqued my interest had to do with buyer understanding. Nearly 40% lack sufficient understanding or have only moderate understanding. While 57%, plan to do more buyer research.
Q: Which of the following best describes your and your organization's understanding of customers/buyers to inform your content marketing strategy?
What this tells, and my guess is even with a larger number of respondents the results will be similar, is organizations continue to struggle understanding their customers well. Well enough, that is, to inform their content marketing strategies. This data is an indicator organizations need to continue investing in buyer research. Without this critical step, content marketing and marketing strategies in general are less likely to succeed.
I advocate the point of view here buyer personas are a means for communicating your buyer research. CMO’s today need to help their organizations understand their customers better. Buyer personas are a communications platform to do so.
93% of the responses indicated their organizations were using content to reach customers. A sure sign content marketing has established itself as a required core capability.
Not surprisingly, 100% unanimously believed content marketing will grow as a requisite marketing capability.
The Big 3
In terms of types of content planned for 2013, blogging, social posting (Twitter and LinkedIn), and online videos turned out to be the big three. An indicator videos are making steady climbs as a form of content marketing. Note email newsletters remain a strong preferred method of reaching customers.
Q: Which types of content do you and your organization plan on using in 2013?
Expertise and Hiring
In the future, you can expect more organizations will seek expertise in content marketing. On the question of having adequate in-house expertise, nearly 50% believed they did not. At the same time, nearly 50% indicated plans were in the works for hiring talent specific to content marketing in 2013. What kind of talent you may ask? Of those who indicated having hiring plans, the top two were inbound marketing specialist and copywriters. Editors and journalists closely followed these roles.
Q: Which of the following talent do you and your organization plan on hiring?
With certainty, we can believe marketing in the future will look different than it does today. Recently Hubspot shared research data on the growing importance of new roles in marketing. One of which was of an inbound marketing strategist. Another is of a Lead Nurturing Specialist or more commonly referred to as a LDR (Lead Development Representative). This new role is proving to have a measureable impact on converting nurtured leads to sales ready leads.
75% of the responses indicated content marketing currently resided in Marketing. Emerging out of the shadows is 10% indicating content marketing resided in an internal content marketing department. 75% also believed content marketing should become its own expert discipline. What do you get when you thread these together? I believe you will see a rise in organizations allocating specific resources to internal content marketing expertise.
Although we are in early years of this emerging discipline, 25% indicated they have plans to create an internal content marketing agency or department. My belief is this percentage will grow as more organizations expand their hiring of content marketing talent noted above.
Q: Does your organization plan to create an internal content marketing department/agency in 2013?
What do these results say about the future of content marketing? First my turn:
A core content marketing strategy is essential
Conducting buyer research is an imperative
New roles and internal departments will evolve
2013 is a pivotal year for CMO”s to embrace content marketing
After reading this article and the results, I welcome hearing your comments and perspectives. Tell me what you think.
If you would like more information on the survey, please click on the banner below or email me directly. I will be happy to make a connection!