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Ascend2-Effective-Difficult-Content-Types-June2016Increasing lead generation and improving customer engagement continue to be the most important goals of a content marketing strategy, with lead generation has taken the lead this year, per the latest report [download page] from Ascend2 and its Research Partners. That’s in line with recent research from Regalix, in which lead generation was found to have increased in importance from last year as a content priority for B2B marketers.

Also supporting the Regalix survey’s results (and in contrast to research from the Content Marketing Institute), the Ascend2 study suggests that marketers are generally satisfied with the success of their content strategies. While few (16%) feel that they’re very successful compared to their competitors, an additional 50% believe that they’re somewhat successful on a competitive basis. On an encouraging note, almost 9 in 10 see content marketing’s effectiveness rising, including more than one-third whose effectiveness is increasing significantly.

There have been numerous studies that have measured the perceived effectiveness of various content types. This latest survey of 219 marketing influencers, the vast majority (84%) of whom are engaged in at least some B2B marketing, offers some interesting insights to add to the body of research.

In fact, this study indicates that research reports (46%) are considered an effective type of content by the broadest share of respondents, narrowly edging blog posts (45%). It’s an interesting finding, as content marketing studies don’t always single out research reports as a content option. The result brings to mind findings contained in MarketingCharts’ 2015 B2B Digital Marketing Insights Report, which showed 98% of B2B buyers agreeing that they would like to see more data and research to support vendor’s content.

Meanwhile, videos and podcasts were next on the list of top-perceived content types, according to the Ascend2 survey. This again is backed up by the Regalix research, which demonstrated that B2B marketers see video as becoming a more indispensable content type this year.

As with research reports, though, separate data from the Ascend2 survey indicates that videos/podcasts are difficult to create. Indeed, videos and podcasts headed the list of most difficult content types to create, followed by research reports, with these both considerably ahead of the next-most difficult types.

In comparing effectiveness and difficulty, it seems that blog posts are a strong contender, as the second-most effective content type and the easiest to create. Challenges in creating content need to be taken into account given multiple studies indicating that the creation of high-quality content is challenging for marketers. Moreover, the Ascend2 survey results show that the most significant barriers to achieving important content marketing goals are the lack of content creation resources (48%) and the lack of an effective strategy (48%).

Interestingly, the inability to measure effectiveness (36%) is perceived to be less of a barrier, despite research finding that content marketing is among the more difficult digital channels to measure for ROI.

About the Data: The Ascend2 data is based on a survey of 219 marketing influencers around the world. Some 69% are primarily B2B, while another 15% market to B2B and B2C equally. More than 6 in 10 (62%) respondents come from companies with at least 50 employees.

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