More than 8 in 10 B2B marketers around the world invest in content marketing, and more than three-quarters of those not currently using content marketing plan to do so in the next 12 months. That’s according to a new study [download page] from Regalix, which finds that lead generation is the top objective of content marketing this year.
That marks a change from last year’s survey, in which respondents said that the top goal for content marketing was to nurture prospects and influence purchases. (That goal this year is joint third on the list, behind lead generation and creating awareness.)
The results are in line with earlier research from Kapost [download page]. In its survey of 286 B2B marketers, Kapost found that 81% are investing in content marketing this year, making this the most widely adopted program. And the top marketing priority among respondents? Lead generation.
Meanwhile, there are other interesting trends identified in the latest Regalix report. For example, the 500+ B2B senior marketers and business leaders surveyed see social media rising to challenge email as an effective medium for distributing content.
Asked which of various media channels were most effective for them last year, respondents pointed first to email (34%), followed by websites (28%) and then social media (21%). That aligns with findings from MarketingCharts’ B2B Digital Marketing Insights Report, which revealed that email is the primary revenue driver for B2B firms.
This year, though, when asked which media channels will be indispensable for distributing content, there was a virtual tie between email (28%) and social media (27%). So while email appears to be decreasing in importance as a distribution channel, respondents are bullish on social’s role this year. Mobile, though, is virtually ignored on this front, consistent with data in the MarketingCharts report suggesting that mobile is not yet a potent force in B2B marketing.
The Regalix study also finds that email is on the decline as a content format. Last year it proved to be the most effective format, slightly edging blogs (21% and 20%, respectively). But this year, just 13% see emailers as being the most indispensable format. Overtaking it will be videos, which 16% of respondents see as indispensable, almost double the share (9%) who found videos to be most effective for them last year. Also rising in importance, not too surprisingly, will be social media posts, which more respondents believe will be indispensable than white papers.
Coming up with that content isn’t all that easy, per the study’s results. Easily the top content marketing challenge identified is the production of quality content (62%), trailed by the production of enough content (45%). Producing engaging content was also the top-cited challenge in the Content Marketing Institute’s most recent B2B content marketing study.
For more on B2B content marketing data, see MarketingCharts’ B2B Digital Marketing Insights Report.
About the Data: The Regalix data is based on a survey of 532 senior marketing executives and business leaders. Some 45% of respondents are from North America. More than 6 in 10 come from companies with $10-$100 million in revenues, and about one-quarter (26%) from companies with at least $1 billion in revenues. The software and internet (37%) industry is the most heavily represented.