Content marketers are doubling down on targeting strategies that deliver the most useful news, blogs and videos to consumers at the appropriate time. However, there has been a decline in content that tailors experiences for specific points in the journey a buyer takes from discovering a product to making a purchase.
Those are the main talking points from the latest study published by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), titled Technology Content Marketing 2018: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends. CMI regularly releases practical data from the content industry, and the latest report draws from its eighth annual marketing survey.
While the emphasis on targeted and well-timed content is the headline trend, the study begins by examining how marketers feel about their approach to content. It found that 78% of respondents believe they are achieving either moderate or great success with their efforts, with 28% falling in the higher band.
Encouragingly, more than two-thirds believe they have become “much” or “somewhat more successful” during the last 12 months. This finding suggests that marketers’ approach to content continues to mature. Previous studies have shown that more experienced brands are reaping greater rewards from their campaigns, so the method bodes well for ROI in 2018.
Creating quality content plays a significant role in successful content marketing, as 78% of the respondents said higher quality and more efficient article and video creation had been a factor in their success during the last year. Almost three-quarters said adjusted strategies had been a key factor, while 55% said they have become better at distributing content. All these factors are aspects of marketing that a third-party agency can use to help a brand.
The report’s main takeaway is that 63% said they are now placing more focus on delivering content at the right moments, which is a big increase from the 49% who said so in last year’s study. In contrast, just 50% are frequently creating content to support buyers at different points on their purchasing journey, which is down from 60% a year ago.
“It could be a semantical difference to some degree, but rather than the ‘old-school’ development of content for the buyer’s journey, we’re seeing a focus on dynamically serving up content in the audience’s time – no matter what stage they happen to be in,” Chief Strategy Advisor for the Content Marketing Institute, Robert Rose said. “We’re also seeing a general maturing of the market and a shift to ‘other’ types of content programs like account-based marketing.”
The study also found that leadership support for content marketing initiatives is strengthening, as 66% of all marketers say they now have ample time to drive the results they need. For marketers that are performing at the highest level, 88% responded that they had enough time to achieve marketing success.
There has also been a considerable increase in support for the least successful tech marketers. Finally, two-thirds of all respondents chose to outsource at least one of their marketing activities.