For brick-and-mortar businesses, location may be everything. But online, content is king. Many customers researching products online want information not just about the products or services themselves, but also on how to solve problems or reach goals related to those offerings. As a result, marketers have begun to increase their focus on online content generation. HiveFire's "B2B Marketing Trends 2011 Survey" polled 366 marketers to determine the common challenges, preferred tactics, and emerging opportunities facing content marketers and content curators as they shift some of their attention from traditional marketing tactics to content marketing.

Content marketing refers to the creation and publication of original content to enhance brand visibility; content curation is the process of finding, organizing, and sharing online content. According to the survey, content marketing leads in popularity among marketing tactics, with 82 percent of respondents now implementing content marketing. This is followed by search marketing (70 percent), events (68 percent), and public relations (64 percent). Traditional methods like print, television, and radio advertising lag, with only 32 percent of respondents implementing such tactics.

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The survey also reveals that:

  • Seventy-nine percent of marketers polled share the majority of their content online.
  • Nearly 80 percent say driving leads is the most important marketing objective
  • Twenty-eight percent of respondents cite limited budget and 23 percent cite limited staff as the two main challenges facing marketers.
  • Fifty-six percent of respondents agree that content curation is their preferred content marketing tactic. This marks a 17 percent increase in adoption as compared to HiveFire's Content Curation Adoption Survey 2011, conducted six months ago.
  • Although content marketing is widely used and increasing in popularity, spending on it remains low. Half of marketers dedicate less than 30 percent of their budget to content marketing.
  • Of the 133 content curators polled, 69 percent cited the availability of time as their biggest challenge, yet 74 percent said content curation is successfully driving results.
  • Fifty-eight percent of content curators measure their results with either a third-party tool or have a proprietary methodology.

Key takeaway: For B2B marketers, the move toward content marketing comes with two objectives in mind: engage customers and prospects (82 percent), and drive sales (55 percent). Content marketing is a cost-effective way to accomplish both.