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A full 95% of marketing influencers say their content marketing engagement strategy is either somewhat successful (56%) or very successful (39%) at achieving such primary goals as improving brand awareness, increasing customer conversions and increasing sales revenue. But authority is key – and an important factor in achieving these goals, per a new report [download page] from Ascend2, is to have trustworthy content to support a claim.

Three in 5 (60%) of the 300-odd B2B and B2C marketing influencers surveyed for the report identified research/case studies as one of the types of content most trusted by target audiences.

While it’s possible that these results may be skewed by the survey sample (which consists in part of research subscribers), there’s previous research to support the idea that data builds authority and trust.

For example:

Meanwhile, separate research by Demand Gen Report and ON24 has also noted the power of case studies, which were rated the most valuable form of content for B2B buyers.

Webinars and online events were somewhat further down Ascend2’s list, with photos/infographics (34%), blog posts/articles (31%), email (30%) and videos (30%) being considered more trusted by target audiences in the minds of respondents.

That same study by Demand Gen Report and ON24 found that, no matter the form of content, customers want their limited and valuable time to be spent consuming content that is significant to where they are in the buying stage and backed up by research and data.

Some Challenges Hinder Success

Despite the success marketers seem to be having with their content marketing engagement strategies, they are not without their challenges. In fact, while 55% of respondents said that improving brand awareness is a primary objective, 42% also found it to be one of their critical challenges.

As Ascend2 points out, weighing the objective against how challenging it is to achieve can play a role in deciding which objectives will be included in the engagement strategy. So, primary objectives such as increasing customer conversions (48%) and improving demand generation (36%) – which are also considered less challenging (20% and 16%) – are more likely to be included in the strategy than objectives such improving sales lead quality and improving search engine rankings, which are considered less important yet more challenging.

Another general challenge not mentioned in this report – but presented in research by The Trade Desk – is when marketing goals do not necessarily align with the expectation of management. For example, while increasing brand awareness was one of the top goals for the marketers surveyed, it ranked as one of the lowest expectations for CMOs.

Combo of In-house and Outsourced Resources Most Effective

Even though many companies are bringing their media and creative in-house, the majority (63%) of respondents to the Ascend2 survey say they find using a combination of outsourced and in-house resources has been the most effective in improving content marketing engagement. Only one-quarter (24%) of respondents feel that using in-house resources only was most effective.

A possible reason why using a combination of in-house and outsourced resources is most effective at this point is because companies are struggling to bring in and retain talent in-house.

If you’d like to read more, download the report here.

About the Data: The research is based on a survey of 301 marketing influencers from an equal mix of B2B (39%), B2C (39%) and both B2B and B2C (22%) companies. The survey took place during the week of May 20, 2019.

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