Content marketing is no longer a game that you can start and stop. As MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute found in their 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report, the most effective B2B marketing teams have a documented content strategy and stick to it consistently.
But for B2B content marketers across industries, the ceaseless rush to create more, distribute more, and think bigger is draining. When content marketing fatigue sets in, it helps to step back and take a look at the big picture. The impact of a smart content marketing strategy is cumulative, after all.
Here are 7 key stats on the business impact of B2B content marketing to help you keep your content machine running smoothly:
1. The average B2B buyer is 57% of the way through the purchase decision before even engaging with a sales rep. (CEB)
This means that marketing — and more specifically, content marketing — is a major driver of revenue. Forrester Research has gone even further, stating that buyers may be anywhere from “two-thirds to 90% of the way through their journey before they ever reach out to the vendor.”
The bottom line is that B2B buyers make research-driven decisions. The big-picture impact of content marketing is to actively inform and participate in buyers’ process. In other words, fail to deliver effective content, and you may be removed from consideration early in the research phase.
2. B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who do not blog. (Hubspot)
First and foremost, HubSpot’s research makes it painfully clear that when it comes to lead generation, companies with blogs far outperform those without.
If you have the bandwidth, blogging with greater frequency has a direct correlation with lead generation. HubSpot found that the number of median monthly leads for companies that blog daily is 78% versus 33% for companies that blog monthly.
3. 65% of B2B buyers report that the winning vendor’s content had a “significant impact” on their buying decision. (Demand Gen)
For B2B content marketers, this statistic could bode positively or negatively. If your content is helpful, informative, and easily-navigable, then content-driven touch points are likely to have a positive impact on the buying decision.
If, however, your brand’s content is flimsy, out-of-date, infrequent, or simply unhelpful, then who would want to take a leap of faith with your company?
4. 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. (Roper Public Affairs)
B2B buyers want information, not advertisements. What’s more, 70% said content makes them feel closer to a company, and 60% said content provided by companies helps them make smarter buying decisions.
Keep in mind that content marketing is an exercise in relationship-building. If you can establish brand loyalty through informative content, you can directly engage decision makers.
5. 59% of B2B marketers report lead generation as the #1 goal for content marketing. (The B2B Content Marketing Report, 2014)
If you’re like your peers, then lead generation is the ultimate name of the game for content marketing.Thought leadership (49%) and brand awareness (40%) follow behind, but lead generation is front and center.
This statistic is in alignment with advice from Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing. On the“Moneyball Marketing” panel at our 2014 marketing summit, Heinz noted that revenue contribution is the single metric that should take precedence over all others.
“The metric that we mostly focus on with the marketing groups we work with is sales pipeline contribution,” says Heinz. “One of the most exciting things I am seeing happen in marketing groups is a move away from measuring MQLs, or marketing qualified leads, as their primary measure, and more towards sales qualified leads.”
6. 92% of B2B companies produce content marketing in-house. (The B2B Content Marketing Report, 2014)
It can be tempting to throw up your hands and think, I can never keep up with my larger competitors with huge agency budgets. But the cold hard fact remains that the vast majority of B2B companies (92%) produce their content marketing internally. So stop lamenting, and start writing!
7. LinkedIn is ranked as the most effective social media platform for B2B marketers. (CMI & Marketing Profs)
LinkedIn is B2B marketers’ social channel of choice. It’s used by 94% of B2B marketers, and the 10 most-liked brands on LinkedIn are all B2B brands.
LinkedIn is also now responsible for a staggering 64% of all visits from social media channels to corporate websites, according to research from Econsultancy, which tracked an average of 2m monthly visits to 60 corporate websites over two years.