SMBs Struggle to Implement Effective Content Marketing Programs

Though most small and medium-sized companies recognize the importance of content marketing, many struggle when developing strategies for overcoming the inherent challenges.

The saying never gets old-content is still king. But for many companies, this reigning marketing strategy often comes with many challenges. While the majority of marketers understand and embrace the importance of their content marketing programs, implementing an effective plan and maintaining the proper level of engagement typically raises roadblocks.

IMN recently conducted its multi-industry content marketing survey to explore how marketers view their content strategies and their means of success measurement. The study highlights the importance of content marketing in the small and medium-sized business realm, also citing the potential for great opportunity as companies move to improve their strategies in an attempt to drive deeper customer engagement.

The following statistics examine how content marketers across industries view their strategy, including structure, goals, challenges, and program measurement practices:

  • Overall, 78 percent of respondents indicate that content marketing is either a medium or a high priority when it comes to their overarching marketing plans.
  • Thirty-five percent of those polled say that when implementing a content marketing strategy, their biggest challenge is finding engaging content, while 33 percent claim internal resource constraints are their main issue.
  • For 26 percent of respondents, the primary goal of their company's marketing strategy is to generate customer and prospect engagement, while 25 percent aim to increase awareness, and 17 percent plan to boost customer loyalty.
  • While 52 percent of participants have not implemented a separate content marketing strategy for each content channel, only 32 percent of respondents have created a content marketing calendar that tracks the topics to be covered, when, and by whom.
  • Based on industry-specific responses, the financial services (75 percent), insurance (50 percent), and software (50 percent) industries are the most advanced when it comes to having separate content marketing strategies for each channel.
  • However, the automotive (14 percent), banking (14 percent), and franchise (0 percent) sectors were the least likely to have separate strategies in place.
  • In general, websites, newsletters, and social media ranked as the most effective content marketing vehicles, while open rate metrics for email blasts and the number of incoming leads remain the most popular forms of content marketing program measurement.

Key takeaway: Content has become the heart of nearly all businesses, large or small. No matter the type of content produced, this material acts as the voice of each given company, thereby speaking to customers through every item published. If content marketing strategists plan to strengthen customer relationships, this content must convey relevant information that connects with each customer, for direct and indirect interactions shape loyalty and company culture. Much like personal relationships, these SMBs have the opportunity to keep the spark of interest alive by communicating in fresh, innovative ways that deepen engagement. However, companies must constantly evolve according to customer wants and needs, or else risk letting the relationship fizzle at the company's expense.