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B2B Content Strategies Have Room for Improvement

Few B2Bs have a high-performance content strategy, leverage most effective content types

August 3, 2015

A multitude of departments at business-to-business (B2B) firms rely on marketing content success. But before B2Bs dive into content marketing efforts, they may want to take a step back and start with an effective strategy—something recent research suggests many aren’t doing.

Leading Content Types Developed/Leveraged for Lead Generation by B2B Marketers in North America, Q2 2015 (% of respondents)

Among B2B marketing leaders in North America surveyed by the CMO Council, Content ROI Center and NetLine in Q2 2015, just 12% described their content marketing strategy as a high-performance engine. Instead, respondents were most likely to say their strategy was steadily paced and planned, and nearly three in 10 relied on individual performers, where content is developed based on the needs of an individual or department.

Less-than-superb content strategies may be preventing B2B marketers from leveraging the most effective content types—or even measuring them at all. When asked about the leading types of content created for lead generation, respondents were most likely to cite product brochures; however, when asked about which content types delivered great leads, just 9% gave such content this honor.

Content Types that Deliver Great Leads According to B2B Marketers in North America, Q2 2015 (% of respondents)

Slide presentations were the second most popular content type, but one of the least effective, as just 15% of respondents said these delivered great leads. Instead, content pieces that weren’t as “salesy”—such as white papers, videos, analyst reports and webcasts (the least-created content type)—were tops for generating great leads.

Measurement itself was an issue too: 25% of respondents didn’t know the level of leads generated by white papers, while nearly half said the same about analyst reports and 57% about ebooks.

Leading Factors that Derail Lead Flow Success According to B2B Marketers in North America, Q2 2015 (% of respondents)

It makes sense, then, that the leading challenges to lead flow success related largely to content marketing issues, including content not being developed for target audiences, a lack of relevance for audiences and a lack of an overall content strategy in general.

Similarly, in July 2015 polling by Ascend2, 33% of B2B marketing professionals worldwide said limited content creation capabilities were an obstacle to lead generation success. In the same study, 43% of respondents cited content marketing as an effective tactic for lead generation, but 43% also said it was one of the most difficult.

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