The Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) 2016 reports on B2B (business -to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) content marketing trends reveal some important disconnects among demand, effectiveness and satisfaction with results. For instance, while 88 percent of B2B respondents indicated that they are using content marketing, only 30 percent say that their efforts are effective (down from 38 percent in 2015). While 80 percent said they have a content marketing strategy, only 32 percent have a documented strategy.
The situation on the B2C side is similar. Here, 76 percent said they use content marketing; 38 percent say their efforts are effective. While 81 percent say they have a content marketing strategy, only 37% have a documented strategy (though this is up from 27 percent in 2015). Even among those who claim a documented strategy, there is a wide range of perspectives about what that strategy actually entails. Truly strategic content marketing efforts remain elusive for many.
Sarah VanHeirseele is vice president of digital for Blue Chip. Content marketing strategy, says VanHeirseele, is “the clearly defined approach that aligns messages, media audiences and channels in a cohesive way.” The strategy, she says, sets the parameters for what the brand can say and how it will say it, as well as where messages will appear. While content marketing is all the rage these days, VanHeirseele says, “It’s very difficult to find examples of marketers who are nailing the strategy in terms of bringing the tactics back around to business objectives.” The focus tends to be on “going viral” rather than building a sustained effort to create long-term value, she says.
Ed Marsh is a HubSpot VAR (value-added reseller), the export adviser to American Express for its middle market program, and the founder of Consilium....
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