A lot of thought has gone into your marketing and marketing communications plans, but now – only a few months into the new year – you begin to wonder… Are you really equipped for the challenges ahead?
Recent activity on the U.S. and international stock markets, extreme weather patterns, the upcoming elections – all are causing caution and pessimism regarding future purchases.
Moreover, today’s marketplace is radically different from the one we’ve been used to. Today’s buyers have become proactive, searching for information before they buy. This buyer-driven environment has given rise to an overwhelming number of new (and often confusing) media strategies.
One of them, content marketing, has taken center stage among B2C, B2B and nonprofit marketers. But, despite its current popularity, questions remain – What content formats should be used? What should the message be? And, for that matter, does content marketing actually work?
Content Marketing Goals, Usage and Challenges
The most recent study the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs indicates that marketers’ primary goals for using content marketing are to improve:
- Lead generation
- Brand awareness
- Lead nurturing
- Customer engagement and loyalty
Marketers see content marketing as being useful for a variety of purposes, which might indicate a lack of focus.
Confirming this, the study showed that many different formats were employed for content marketing efforts, with different types of marketers using different formats.
For example, among both B2C and B2B marketers the following content marketing formats were employed nearly all (eighty to ninety percent):
- Social media, other than blogs
- Articles on website
In-person events, blogs and Infographics were also used both groups, although to a lesser extent (sixty to eighty percent).
Both groups were also likely to use webinars/webcasts and online digitalmarketingwar.com, but in this case they were more popular among B2B marketers. And, case studies and white papers were far more likely to be used B2B marketers than B2C marketers.
Not surprisingly, given the broadness of the goals for content marketing and the variety of formats employed to achieve these goals, marketers feel they are ill equipped to operate in this new environment. Their most pressing challenges are “producing engaging content”, “measuring content effectiveness”, “producing content consistently”, and “measuring the ROI of content marketing plans”. About one-third also mention “lack of budget” and “producing a variety of content”.