B2B marketers who use content marketing are lessening their reliance on traditional marketing tactics, and developing highly-qualified leads for less money.
What is content marketing? Here's how the Content Marketing Institute defines it:
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience - with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
And here's how content marketing firm Junta42 describes it:
Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.
Examples of content marketing include blog posts, white papers, videos and photos -- all done to generate leads, enhance a brand's visibility, and demonstrate a company's subject matter expertise.
Content marketing has become the most-used tactic of B2B marketers, according to HiveFire, a Cambridge, Mass.-based Internet marketing software solutions company. In a survey of marketing professionals about the state of B2B marketing, content marketing is now a more popular tactic than search marketing, public relations, events and paid advertising.
According to the study, "driving leads" is the #1 marketing objective for companies (78%). This response was more than twice the next two (each at 35%), "establishing/maintaining thought leadership" and "boosting brand awareness."
But it terms of marketing challenges, the survey indicated the biggest one is "limited budget" (28%), followed by "limited staff" (23%).
Content marketing is becoming popular for 2 primary reasons:
- It's helping companies achieve their marketing objectives
- It costs B2B marketers less than traditional marketing tactics such as trade shows, events and advertising.
In terms of sales cycles, companies with long and short sales cycles are using content marketing, even firms with longer sales cycles like B2B marketers:
- 83% of respondents who cited their firm having a year or longer sales cycle used Content Marketing.
- 86% of those who cited a sales cycle of 1-3 months were users.
- 66% of respondents with a 1-7 day sales cycle use Content Marketing.
Click here to download a copy of "The Future of B2B Marketing: Content Marketing."