Technology Content Marketing – Room to Grow
Mar 30, 2017
Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs and IDG recently shared their annual report with North American technology marketers. The highlight of this year’s report is that 24% of the 300 respondents said their organization’s overall approach to content marketing is “extremely” or “very” successful.
Knowing the way self-reporting tends to inflate numbers, 24% seemed a bit low. This report, like those in years past, digs into what defines success and the tactics that make tech marketers feel they are being successful.
In one of these annual questions, the researchers ask technology marketers to rate the effectiveness of their organization’s content marketing. In the 2017 report, 37% of tech marketers claimed they were either “extremely” or “very” effective. When taking a look at the three previous years, the report shows numbers of tech marketers rating themselves effective at 30% in 2016, 34% in 2015 and 39% in 2014, showing a fairly dramatic increase from last year, but in very close range to the previous three.
So, where does the effectiveness comes from?
The factors identified as the leading causes are the greater quality and/or efficiency of content creation for 92%, and the development or adjustment of strategy for 74%. Still, 53% claimed that strategy issues—lack of strategy or challenges to developing or adjusting—contributed to stagnancy in content marketing success.
It’s clear that as an industry, we’re still working on getting a sense of what success looks like.
When asked if the surveyed participants’ organizations have a clear understanding of what an effective or successful content marketing program looks like, the numbers this year are a little lower than last year—41% and 45% respectively. More than half of technology marketers aren’t clear what the target is.
How can that be?
Looking over the last few years, these reports have been following if organizations have a documented content strategy. This year the question was asked a little differently, I imagine, to dig deeper into the reasoning for low numbers.
Honestly, we can do better. The investment of documentation is time, yes, but 58% of technology marketers can never be very sure that their team is on the same page either, probably because they don’t have anything planned or written down! How will they know when they’ve been successful? How will their team know which way to go?
In a recent survey from the Octopus Group, senior marketers reported that they are not being as strategic as they should be, 52% admitting that they are doing more work that had been delegated to others. As famously stated in Cool Hand Luke, “What we have here is failure to communicate.”
Yet beyond making goals, writing plans and clearly communicating these to our teams, the Technology Content Marketing study is showing promise that technology marketers are focusing. In the previous few years, we’ve seen the tactics that technology marketers are using are shrinking from an average of 15 in 2014 to 10 in 2017. Despite the changing landscape, blogs (91%) and social media (89%) continue to hold the helm of the most effective tactics with whitepapers (81%), email newsletters (81%), webinars (79%) and videos (78%) popularly used among others. [Side note: I’m interested to see how video grows in the future based on industry chatter.]
We are also seeing that 74% of technology marketers are always or frequently prioritizing quality content over quantity, something that we’re always thinking about. Conversely, 70% are still intending to produce more content than last year, a slight but notable declining amount from 75% last year.
In another new question, 64% of technology marketers rate their organization’s content marketing approach more successful than last year. With a greater focus and a written strategy, I’m convinced this will allow more time and energy for teams to succeed.
What do you think of the findings? How can we work to increase our effectiveness and drastically change the numbers for 2018? Tweet me your thoughts at @samanthacibelli.