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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2020-02-05

Content marketing has become a growing priority for businesses of all types and sizes. And for good reason: Consumers are savvy, have more choices than ever and, in the B2B world, studies show that 92% of B2B purchases start online. Content marketing gives businesses the means of communicating directly with prospects and customers to show their expertise and build a relationship -- even before a purchase.  


Whether you’ve been producing content steadily or are ready to start a new initiative, I’ve found it’s always helpful to have a pulse on what’s working for fellow marketers. A new Content Marketing Institute study shines a light on the highs and lows for B2B content marketing. Here are four insights from the report that jumped out at me.


  • Quality content yields better results. B2B buyers can see through content that has a clear company-led agenda. Additionally, many buyers are eagerly searching for clear, relevant information to help them make business decisions. In the study, 88% of the most successful content marketers report prioritizing the audience’s informational needs above the organization’s promotional message. My takeaway: good content marketing emphasizes content. Leverage your expertise to provide real value with content that shares best practices, tips and tricks, or guidance to assist your prospects in understanding and overcoming their current business challenges, as well as how your business offers a solution. 


  • Create content for multiple audiences. B2B marketers reported creating content for an average of four audiences, with a higher average in large companies (5) and lower in small companies (3). Nearly 75% of marketers craft content based on specific stages of the customer journey with half of that content created for the top of the funnel. My takeaway: focus on your audience. Not all content will resonate with all groups. One of the easiest and best ways to test that is with email, which can be segmented by various types of identifying value (such as job, location, interests or demographics) or through A/B testing.


  • Effectively targeted distribution may be an issue. The top three organic content distribution channels B2B marketers reported using are: social media (91%), their organization’s website/blog (89%), and email (87%). But the report found that effectively targeted content distribution may be an issue for 29%. My takeaway: content marketing falls short if it doesn’t reach the right audience. Ensure the content you’ve invested in creating actually reaches your intended audience. A powerful new tool for reaching the right audience is intent monitoring, which uses buyers’ online activities to uncover purchase intent signals to identify buyer interest.


(Side note, email is ideal for repurposing content from your website or blog posts and sharing it directly with subscribers, or with a new audience through acquisition email data.)


  • Content marketing is still on the rise. More than half (59%) of B2B marketers who measure content marketing ROI rate their ability to demonstrate ROI as excellent or very good. And nearly half of all respondents expect their content marketing budget to increase in 2020. My takeaway: success with content marketing can be achieved through quality content and delivering it to the right audience, such as prospects who are researching solutions to their challenges – solutions that align with what your organization offers.


Thank you to Content Marketing Institute for this benchmark data. It’s clear businesses taking the time, effort and resources to create content want it to reach the intended audience. And as someone deeply involved in the world of email and the data that powers it, I see great value in email as the means for reaching the right audience with the right content.


Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate email data can enable you to achieve better email marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Take a look at our video tutorials to find out how you can optimize your acquisition email marketing initiatives.


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