According to the latest report released by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, centering on how marketing can more effectively generate qualified sales leads through compelling thought leadership content, only 12% of marketers believe they have high-performance content marketing engines that are strategically programmed to target the right audiences with relevant and persuasive content.
In fact, the CMO Council, partnered with NetLine Corporation, finds most companies lack unanimity on what constitutes an actual sales lead. They are also not teaming effectively with sales and business development groups to create alignment on demand generation strategies, themes and advocacy agendas.
Content, from white papers to social media posts and mentions, remains the power behind strategies and campaigns to reach, embrace, excite and educate buyers and specifiers. The Content Marketing Institute revealed that 70% of B2B marketers say they are creating more content than they did one year ago, says the report.
According to the Custom Content Council, B2B marketers invest an estimated $16.6 billion annually on digital content publishing for the specific purpose of acquiring business leads and influencing customers and prospects. The report shows that B2B marketers spend an average of 28% of their total marketing budgets on content marketing, and 55% of marketers anticipated this figure would rise through the course of the year.
84% of the respondents say their organizational goal for content marketing is brand awareness, with 83% pointing to lead generation, 69% looking to impact customer retention, and 52% hoping to influence upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
The report says that there could be a fundamental disconnect between content development strategies and what the intended results of demand-generating campaigns should be (high-quality leads). The definition of a high-quality lead, according to the marketers surveyed, is currently defined as a:
What is clear from this definition of a high-quality lead, says the report, is that an ongoing, sustained and intentional relationship is required to generate the level of depth, engagement and intent that is required. In fact, only 20% of marketers believe that a high-quality lead is defined as a contact that is complete and accurate with only email and phone details.
This presents a conflict between a content development strategy that is largely uniform and devoid of specification of industry, target or prospect, and the organization’s definition of a lead that requires specific, personalized and intentional engagement through content and insights to encourage prospects to advance and identify their needs and requirements.
N.B. It would be a disservice to suggest that this Research “Brief” could adequately capture the effective detail that the CMO Council has included in its report. The report features findings from a survey of senior-level marketers across a broad range of industries on how content marketing strategies are being managed, how content performance is being measured, and to what degree content is packaged, promoted and syndicated to generate optimal lead flow.
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