When it comes to B2B Content Marketing, the bad news is a skills gap is emerging as most senior marketers are far behind in the effort to produce content that engages buyers. The good news is, we can only go up from here.
In a recent content marketing benchmark study, the Online Marketing Institute, teamed up with Forrester Research and the Business Marketing Association to understand how well B2B marketers gauge their content development skills and maturity.
113 senior marketer survey respondents provided insight on the following five dimensions. How do they:
1.) Understand customers' interests and needs;
2) Align content themes to buyer concerns and business objectives;
3) Develop content that engages buyers;
4) Distribute it to intersect with their purchase journey; and
5) Monitor how they interact with it.
Surprisingly, the results venture far from the age-old theory that “Content is King” and rather show us that from a B2B perspective, the role of content marketing is far behind showing its value when it comes to consistently delivering information with prospects and customers.
Here are some of the key findings show that most B2B Marketers:
- Do not have Content marketing in their job description. A startling 72% of surveyed marketers say less than half of their marketing staff plays a primary role in content marketing today — leaving content to simply talk of products and features, rather than interesting insights buyers seek. It's no surprise, then, that 87% say they struggle to produce content that truly engages their buyers.
- Are too focused on acquisition and less about the whole customer lifecycle . Sixty-two percent admit to producing content on a campaign-by-campaign basis while 47% said that they focus primarily on creating content for distribution channels like their company website, online advertising, email, and social media. Another 16% said they mainly develop sales collateral.
- Fail to help & teach the customer how to be successful with their product. While 71% of surveyed marketers say their content features case studies or customer stories, only 3% admit this is a primary focus of their efforts.
- Struggle to create long-term loyalty. While more than three-quarters of respondents say they frequently communicate to their customer base, only 5% make this a priority, proving that marketers are too focused on acquisition rather than creating long-term loyalty.
See here for full press release.
The Skills Gap
It’s hard to ignore the deficiencies the report suggests. And as long as this talent gap exists, CMO’s and Marketing Leaders will need to take a long & hard look at the skills, staff, and resources directed at content marketing development.
“The gap between content marketing awareness and good content marketing execution is not surprising. It's something we run into every day at the Institute - what we call the digital skills gap,” said Online Marketing Institute Founder & CEO, Aaron Kahlow. “There simply aren't enough trained content marketers to do the leg work. But the imperative for education is here and seen across the board, from entry level to CMO.”
With only 4% of those we surveyed are true “masters” of content marketing, the rest of the content marketers out there have a lot of catching up to do. Some companies leading the charge – Computer Sciences Corp, Deltek, Kapost, Sungard Availability Services, and Verizon – have shared their best practices with us, all of which can be found in the full survey report and with plenty of real life examples to learn from.
So, B2B marketers, if you are reading this, you may be asking, “What can I do to improve & raise the maturity of my content marketing strategy?”
In the spirit of our digital marketing education mission, we encourage you to invest in the advancement of your career, overall success of your team and business as a whole by educating yourself on the latest fundamentals, strategy, and tactics in content marketing. To get started, we recommend checking out OMI's current Content Marketing Classes and Content Marketing Certification.
In a subsequent post, we will talk in more detail about how you can help to fix this skills gap problem and execute smarter.
And for those BMA and OMI members, as well as qualified marketers who are interested, you can access a complimentary copy of the research report on the BMA website here.