Curata has released the results of its third annual content marketing benchmark study [download page]. As part of the study, which surveyed about 500 marketers in the fall of 2013 – respondents were asked to rank a list of objectives in order of priority. As with previous research showing that content marketing is becoming a more lead-driven endeavor, Curata’s study finds that the top priority for content marketers this year is to drive sales and/or leads. Customer engagement came in a very close second.
Respondents – the majority of whom are B2B marketers – were asked to rank the objectives on a 6-point scale where 1 represented the highest priority and 6 the lowest. Driving sales and/or leads emerged with an average ranking of 2.4, just ahead of engaging customers/buyers/influencers, which averaged a ranking of 2.5.
The next objectives on the list, in descending order of priority, were:
- Boosting brand awareness (3.2);
- Establishing and sustaining thought leadership (3.7);
- Increasing SEO and web traffic (3.9); and
- Decreasing cost of acquisition for new customers (5.3).
The study separately measured marketers’ perceptions of content marketing’s impact across those various objectives. Interestingly, content marketing’s impact appears to have grown the most in awareness building, with 85.1% of respondents noting an increased impact in this area over the prior year. Conversely, relatively fewer have seen content marketing’s increased impact on lead quality (62.3%) and quantity (61.5%), which may explain the focus on leads this year.
There was more enthusiasm among respondents when it came to the impact their efforts had on customer and buyer engagement. More than 3 in 4 claimed an increase in content marketing’s impact in this area, with fewer than 2% noting a decreasing impact.
Given that content marketing’s impact appears to be increasing across all the areas, it’s not surprising that budgets are also rising. Almost 6 in 10 marketers said they would increase their investment in content marketing this year; that’s consistent with prior research from MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute, which also found 6 in 10 B2C and B2B content marketers planning to increase their spending this year.
About the Data: Curata surveyed a total of 502 marketers in the fall of 2013. 53% of marketers were B2B companies, 12% were B2C, and 28% listed themselves as both. More than 1 in 5 respondents come from companies with more than $100 million in revenue.