A new study by Forrester finds that only 4% of B2B content marketers are “true masters of content marketing.” The other 96% are “doing” content marketing, but not at an advanced level.
This stat reveals a disconcerting trend. Most B2B marketers think they are more advanced in content than they are in application.
As Forrester puts it, “Content marketing self-confidence outpaces actual capabilities.” 51% of those surveyed rate their content marketing as “very mature,” yet the vast majority (87%) feel challenged to produce content that actually engages. Moreover, the majority of marketers report creating content to supply specific channels (like websites, social media, landing pages) individually. This disrupts the flow of information and and results in a disjointed buyers journey.
“While just more than half of respondents rated their content marketing practices as mature, we weren’t convinced that actual practices would prove their perceptions to be correct,” wrote Laura Ramos, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester.
The research is important because it highlights a dangerous discrepancy, and illuminates the fact that a majority of marketers must evolve and strengthen their content marketing operations to stay competitive.
Content marketing is a crucial strategy in today’s “new buyer journey” landscape. As business buyers can now access an abundance of digital information at any time, they’re empowered to make the majority of their purchase decisions on their own. To attract and engage these more knowledgeable buyers, companies must transition from product-centric tactics to trust-building tactics.
The companies that are doing content marketing well, will get in front of their customers. The ones who aren’t, will fail.
Forrester suggests that marketers focus on the following five areas to strengthen content marketing efforts and deliver better revenue results:
- Consistently incorporate customer feedback into editorial processes.
- Document the content strategy and hold business teams accountable to guidelines.
- Establish an editorial board chartered with extending best practices companywide.
- Arm field teams with technology and processes that fuel demand and manage content.
- Refine metrics to demonstrate clear correlations between content and business outcomes.
The easiest way to integrate these recommendations into practice is to build out a real content marketing operation. A content marketing operation is the organized process for producing, distributing, and analyzing content while increasing productivity, delivering measurable results and reducing organizational friction. Investments in content marketing software can aid in the execution of these steps, automate processes, and ensure trackable returns.
The Forrester study, published yesterday, surveyed 113 B2B senior-level marketers. It features additional interviews with 10 companies to provide examples of content marketing strategy in action, and is available for purchase ($499) on their website.