Two-thirds of marketers believe that their organisations do not have enough content to support demand-generation activities, while around half rate their overall output as either “fair” or “poor”, a new study by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) has found.
Demand generation is defined as the marketing programs deployed by brands to drive awareness and interest in a suite of products or services, and it is a common tactic in B2B and longer B2C sales cycles.
The broader takeaway from the latest CMI report is that while brands are setting out to be a leader in their respective markets, they often struggle to put themselves ahead of the competition due to a failure to “go beyond good” and strive for great demand-generation output.
Currently, a large portion of demand-generation content creation is focused on the early stage of the buyer’s journey when generation awareness and interest is the primary goal.
Respondents said that 52% of all content was devoted to early-stage activities in 2019, a 5% rise from 2018, and almost double that earmarked for the middle stage of consideration and intent (27%) and the late stage of evaluation and purchase (17%).
The good news is that 77% believe that content is either “extremely” or “very important” to their ongoing demand-generation drive and that the majority say that content marketing is “moderately successful”, though there is obviously room for improvement.
One area where companies could look to refine their approaches to demand generation is by creating greater quantities of content to really move the needle.
A sizeable 63% of respondents said that there is not enough in the pipeline to meet current goals linked to demand generation.
Looking ahead to 2020, 30% of marketers said that a major challenge will be having enough money, time and team members to conduct demand-generation activities effectively, which is a case for outsourcing and agencies.
A few other issues and factors that will be present in marketers’ thinking next year include the need to generate “large quantities of content”, support higher rates of publication and distribution, and having the resources to create high-quality content consistently.
CMI also spoke about the pressures of short-termism at the end of the report – another factor that is holding companies back.
In a previous report, just 6% of respondents said that they are delivering monthly campaigns compared to the 41% who do so on a weekly basis.
The focus on the near term can be damaging as it prevents enterprises from looking to the long term and the need to develop and overhaul infrastructure and scale efforts to deliver the excellent campaigns needed to achieve success.
CMI noted: “Most demand-generation strategies are simply demand-identification programs. Marketing teams exert tremendous effort to optimize content experiences for search terms and questions, and to be ever more different, persuasive, and faster for anyone who has raised their hand to say, ‘I’m interested.’”
CMI concluded by urging marketers to pivot from “good” to “great” and from short-termism to long-term strategy with a particular focus on the skills and infrastructure needed to support content marketing.