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Almost two-thirds of B2B marketers believe that content marketing is an effective tactic for the top of the funnel, yet it also is proving to be useful for activities further down the funnel. Indeed, it’s the bottom-of-the-funnel goals that are growing the most for B2B marketers in North America this year, per a recent report from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs.

The survey of more than 650 B2B marketers in North America reveals that, while more respondents achieved top-of-the-funnel goals such as creating brand awareness (86% in 2019 vs. 81% in 2018) and generating demand or leads (70% in 2019 vs. 68% in 2018), the biggest improvement was with goals residing towards the bottom of the funnel.

One year ago, 58% of B2B marketers said they used content marketing to achieve their goal of nurturing subscribers/audiences/leads. That percentage jumped to 68% this year. Similarly, 63% of respondents say they were able to build loyalty with existing clients by using content marketing this year, compared to the 54% that could say the same last year. Furthermore, more than half (53%) say they successfully used content marketing to generate sales/revenue (up from 45% last year).

These findings are particularly interesting considering that the research shows that fully half of all content created by B2B marketers in the last 12 months has been for the top-of-the-funnel. Conversely, only one-quarter was created for late-stage (14%) or post-sale (11%).

Creating Content For Each Stage of the Journey

With B2B buyers citing misleading content as one of their biggest issues with content, the majority (92%) of B2B content marketers get high marks for always or frequently fact-checking their content to ensure accuracy. Far fewer (48%), however, are making the effort to create content based on specific stages of the customer journey. This is despite other research suggesting that it’s advisable for marketers to make sure they have content that fits within the entire buyer’s journey.

Of the content that marketers are creating, the top 2 that were used most often in the last 12 months, social media content (95%) and blog posts/short articles (89%), have been found to be the highest performing at the beginning of the buyer’s journey in building brand awareness. Email marketing, which was the #3 most used form of content in the past year, is said to be the highest performing content type for nurturing leads.

In-person events, used by almost three-quarters (73%) of the marketers surveyed, was found to be the most effective channel for B2B marketers in previous research by Bizzabo. Events also ranked as one of the top 3 highest performing content types across all stages of the buyer’s journey in this most recent survey.

Other Highlights

Here are some other findings from the report:

  • Slightly more B2B organizations have started documenting their content marketing strategy this year (41%) compared to last (39%).
  • Nearly 3 in 5 respondents rate their organization’s level of content marketing success as moderately successful, with one-quarter of respondents rating it as very successful (21%) or extremely successful (5%);
  • Almost 7 in 10 (69%) say their organization’s content marketing success is more successful than it was one year ago.
  • Some 71% of respondents say their organization prioritizes delivering relevant content when and where a person is most likely to see it, while another 52% say they provide customers with optimal experiences across their engagement journey.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Results are based on a survey of 679 B2B content marketers from North America whose organization has used content marketing for at least one year.

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