Have you ever heard (or voiced) these complaints about content marketing? “If only we had more more budget .” “If only we had more people.” “If only we had more time to prove this worked.”
Many content marketers believe these factors are the secret to success. And, according to our latest research on corporate marketers, there seems to be a correlation.
But remember that correlation is not causation.
Let’s take a closer look at the details from Enterprise Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends with Insights for 2021 . (Enterprise refers to for-profit B2B and B2C companies with 1,000 or more employees.)
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Most successful corporate content marketers are the most mature
I’m not talking about growing up with a gray hair or two. I don’t even mean how long a content marketing program has existed. Let’s look at what “the most successful corporate content marketers are the most mature.”
The survey defines success as achieving the desired content marketing outcomes/goals of your organization. A third reported extremely or very successful in the last 12 months. We designate these respondents as the best performers.
Seventy-nine percent of this group consider their organization to be at a complex or mature content marketing stage (vs. % of total enterprises asked).
Below is a description of the maturity period used in the survey:
- First steps: Implement some aspect of content, but haven’t started making content marketing a process yet
- Young: Experiencing the pain of growing up but the challenge of creating a connection strategy and a measurement plan
- Juvenile: Get business, see early success, become more sophisticated with measurement and scale
- Mature: Experiencing success, unchallenged with integrated throughout the organization
- Delicate: Provides accurate measurement for enterprise expand the scope of the agency
Note: Maturity describes how advanced a program is – and that is not necessarily tied to the age of the program.
Top performers focus on the content marketing function
When we compared the top performing corporate marketers with all business respondents, we noticed a noticeable difference in team size and organization.
Content teams at top performing organizations are more likely to become concentrate . Forty-four percent of the top quintile “have a focused content marketing team that works with multiple brands/products/departments throughout the organization.” Only 29% of the total business respondents did.
The best performers have larger (and growing) content marketing teams
Forty-eight percent of top performers reported having six or more full-time employees dedicated to content marketing compared with 32% of all respondents.
And top performers are less likely than all respondents to rely on small or a one-man content marketing team to serve the tire microorganization (10% vs 22%). They are also less likely to report that no one is spending full time on content marketing (9% vs 17%).
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Forty-eight percent of top performers report that the size of their content marketing team has increased over the past 12 months compared to 35% of all respondents. Only 10% reported a decrease in group size compared to 16% of all respondents. Please note that we conducted this survey in July 2020, several months after the pandemic.
The best performers have larger content marketing budgets
The top performers seem to have larger budgets for content marketing: 71% reported a budget of more than $100,000 at the beginning of 2020. Only 54% of the total team reported a budget at the size. there.
When they took their survey in July, only 13% of the best performers (and 17% of all businesses surveyed) predicted spend less about content marketing in the second half of 2020 than they did in the first half.
They changed quickly when the pandemic hit
Sixty-four percent of the best performers strongly agreed with their organization quick change due to the pandemic, compared with 52% of all respondents. Top performers were also more likely than all respondents to agree completely that the changes they made were effective (58% versus 37%).
The best performing artists focus on building loyal audiences
Overall, the adjustments top performers have made during the pandemic have not been radically different from those made by all corporate marketers. However, more top performing artists rewatched their customers/buyers (24% vs 16%).
While it’s not a huge difference, it shows the efforts of the top performers to understand them. changing needs of the audience . Several differences emerged between the best performers and all respondents in other relationship-building areas not specific to pandemic response.
Fifty-seven percent of the best performers have established a online community – significantly higher than 43% of all respondents already. (The survey defined an online community as “a space where your audience can interact with each other and with your brand in the form of discussions, posts, surveys, etc.”)
Similarly, many other top performance reports use content marketing ultimately successful 12 months to build loyalty with existing clients/customers (79% vs 69% total respondents).
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What do the findings mean for content marketing success?
You can point to this study as a way to strengthen your “if only…” content marketing mindset. But this is the hard truth. That would be a mistake.
Yes, top performers reported higher budgets and larger groups than corporate marketers overall. But remember, the top performing artists also tend to have more mature content programming. That means they are experiencing success, measuring the results and scaling their efforts.
When you can track results and show success (even with a small, relatively inexpensive pilot program), it’s easier to secure additional budget for testing new ideas.
Instead of just your budget or team size as limiting factors, look at what you’re doing with that budget and team:
- Are you building your content marketing strategy? targets important to the business?
- Do you have to build it on personalities that tell you what your audience cares about and what they need or want from you?
- Can you measure your progress toward those goals?
- Are you telling st define your content marketing goals and progress to the rest of the business?
Focus on these factors, and you may find that the size of the content marketing program doesn’t matter; it’s what you do with what you have.
Get all the results from Enterprise Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends with Insights for 2021. Click here to listen.
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Cover photo by Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute