With the release of their latest annual report [pdf] on B2C content marketing, the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs offer the ability to measure the similarities and differences between both groups in their approaches to content marketing. Interestingly, while the two differ in some tactics and priorities, they do converge in some areas.
Overall, more B2B (86%) than B2C (77%) marketers are using content marketing this year, and B2B content marketers are more likely than their B2C counterparts to have a documented strategy (35% vs. 27%).
Despite both groups allocating a similar share of their budgets to content marketing (25% B2C; 28% B2B) and producing more content than a year ago (roughly 7 in 10 from each group), they continue to suffer from low effectiveness ratings and ability to measure ROI (a well-documented pain point). Indeed, fewer than 4 in 10 B2B and B2C content marketers believe they’re effective, and fewer than one-quarter of each group reports some success at tracking ROI. But while measuring content effectiveness is the top challenge for B2C content marketers, B2B marketers feel that they’re most challenged by producing engaging content (tip: don’t make it too salesy).
On average, content marketers in the B2B space report using a slightly larger array of tactics (13) than those in the B2C space (11). Social media and e-newsletters are the most widely adopted for both groups, an interesting finding given that the top organizational goals for content marketers differ greatly by targeted audience. (B2C marketers are focusing on customer retention, loyalty and engagement, while B2B marketers name brand awareness and lead generation their top goals.)
Also of note: in-person events – rated the most effective tactic by B2B marketers – are the second-ranked tactic by effectiveness among B2C content marketers, ahead of others such as blogs, videos, and website articles. The most effective for the B2C group, though, is the e-newsletter.
B2C marketers do appear to be getting more out of their social efforts than B2B marketers, though. Social ranked 4th out of the various tactics in perceived effectiveness for those targeting a consumer audience, but did not even crack the top 10 among those targeting business executives. Keeping with the social space, the results continue to show that Facebook is favored for B2C, while LinkedIn is the leader in the B2B space. Those platforms were not only the most widely used by the respective groups, but also considered the most effective.
Turning to paid promotion and distribution methods, the surveys indicate that search engine marketing (SEM) and print or other offline promotions are the most widely used forms by both B2C and B2B content marketers. Notably, SEM ranks as the most effective by both groups, with social ads second for B2C marketers and promoted posts (such as promoted Tweets) ranking second for B2B marketers.
Overall, it seems that despite having different goals and challenges, B2B and B2C content marketers are favoring many of the same tactics.
See here for additional coverage of the B2B content marketing survey conducted by MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute.
About the Data: The fifth annual content marketing survey, from which the results of the MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute report were generated, was mailed electronically to a sample of marketers using lists from Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs, the Business Marketing Association (BMA), Brightcove, Blackbaud, EnVeritas Group (EVG), The Association for Data-driven Marketing & Advertising (ADMA), the Direct Marketing Association UK (DMA), Industry Week, New Equipment Digest, WTWH Media, and Corporate Financial Group.
A total of 5,167 recipients from around the globe — representing a full range of industries, functional areas, and company sizes—responded throughout July and August 2014. The above article presents the findings from the 307 respondents who said they were B2C marketers in North America and the 1,082 respondents who said they were B2B marketers in North America.