Manufacturers, hardly the sexiest B2B marketers, are throwing themselves into content, judging by the new study from the Content Marketing Institute, sponsored by IEEE GlobalSpec. And they’re using email to get there.
Of 155 North American companies surveyed, 86% now use content marketing. And of those that do, 75% see email as one of the three most effective formats for achieving their goals.
Social media is second, with 36% putting it in the top three, and in-person events are next, cited by 36%.
Email is the most widely used channel format, with 95% relying on it to distribute content.
Social media scores more highly here, with 93% utilizing it.
Finally, 78% of the respondents use email technology to manage content, compared with 49% who deploy a content management system. Only 30% use marketing automation software. Of course, the most widely used technology is analytics tools (90%).
So the stats are on the side of email. But there are some downsides that have to do less with email than with the companies themselves.
Only 19% of the firms polled have a documented content strategy. In contrast, 47% have an undocumented one. Yet 27% expect have a documented plan in place within 12 months.
Worse, over half these content kings don’t measure content-generated ROI.
Why, when content is getting an average 22% of their marketing budgets? Of the companies polled, 42% say “we need an easier way to do this,” according to the CMI. And 37% admit “we don’t know how to do this.”
Another 30% say that no formal justification is required (for content), and 21% that it’s too time-consuming.
That’s surprising, given that these are manufacturing firms, not mom-and-pop grocery stores. Yet 70% feel they show that they content marketing has increased audience engagement and the number of leads. But they’re not as able to show that it has boosted sales.
And only 38% are increasing their content marketing budgets this year, with 3% reducing them, 46% maintaining them and 13% who are unsure.
Finally, a paltry 4% rate themselves as sophisticated at content marketing, and 18% as mature. Another 30% see themselves as adolescent, 34% as young and 12% as taking their first steps.
At the same time, 38% say they’re extremely or very committed, and 51% that they’re somewhat so. And 11% are not very or not at all devoted to it.
In addition, over half contend that they somewhat or much more successful at content marketing than they were last year. About a third are stuck in place.
Over half rely on a small or one-person unit to serve the whole organization. But 20% have a centralized group, and 11% have both a central group and individual teams. Plus, 7% say each brand has its own team.
But back to email. Here are the types of content emails sent:
What types are content are the most effective? The top three are pre-produced videos (52%), social media posts (43%) and illustrations/photos (39%).
Writers and artists, take note: Of the activities likely to be outsourced, content creation and design take the lead.