Content marketing enables B2B marketers to achieve many goals, and as time goes by more marketers are seeing the benefits of using content marketing successfully. The most recent B2B content marketing benchmarks report [download page] from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) along with MarketingProfs and ON24 shows that more marketers report this year having achieved goals such as building credibility and trust, generating leads and building customer loyalty through content marketing.
About 8 in 10 (81%) North American B2B content marketers surveyed reported that successful content marketing has helped them build credibility/trust. This is compared to the 75% of respondents who said the same in a similar survey in 2019. It’s also a noticeable leap from the 68% who said successful content marketing helped build credibility in 2018.
Similarly, more marketers this year report generating leads or demand (75%) through content marketing than did last year (70%). Content marketing has also helped more marketers build loyalty with existing customers (68% in 2020 vs. 63% in 2019) as well as drive attendance to one or more in-person or virtual events (56% in 2020 vs. 52% in 2019).
That said, there are a couple of areas in which content marketing performance seems to have slipped this year. Fewer marketers said they used content marketing to nurture leads/audience/subscribers this year (60%) compared to last year (68%). And, the percentage of marketers who generated sales/revenue through content marketing also dipped slightly (51% in 2020 vs. 53% in 2019).
Perhaps seeing the benefits of content marketing, about one-quarter (24%) of marketers said that their organization has shifted paid ad dollars to content marketing in the last 12 months. Additionally, the percentage of companies that have done this increased to 28% each for medium (100-999 employees) and large (1,000+ employees) organizations.
When it comes to spending, more than half (53%) of respondents claim that they did not change their spending in the first half of 2020 in response to COVID-19. Of the remaining share, 29% decreased their spending on content marketing and 18% increased their spending.
While organizations are still dealing with the immediate impact of COVID-19, an overwhelming majority (91%) of those surveyed believe the pandemic will at least have a slight long-term impact on their organization’s content marketing success. Nevertheless, marketers are looking ahead, citing content creation (70%), website enhancement (66%), events (digital, in-person, hybrid; 66%), and content distribution – organic/non-paid (46%) as top areas of content marketing they anticipate investing in during 2021.
The full report can be downloaded here.
About the Data: 2020 data is based on a July survey of 740 B2B content marketers based in North America.