Posts Tagged ‘B2B communications’

Businesses with a content marketing strategy see a measurable impact, new study finds

December 8, 2013

by Brian Oliver

More than 90% of organisations that implement a content marketing strategy see a significant business impact through increased web traffic and sales leads. That’s according to a new report by integrated communications agency Waggener Edstrom Worldwide.

The study, Content Marketing: Puncturing the Hype and Getting Practical, examined the perceptions of content marketing and the potential impact it can have on a company’s growth.

The report’s key findings include:

  • The majority (85%) of communication professionals currently using a content marketing strategy do so to promote awareness of their brand, closely followed by increasing engagement with customers (79%) and generating sales leads (77%).
  • 70% of marketers understand that content marketing helps drive sales leads more effectively, but 18% still have no plans to implement a strategy and over one third (38%) still question whether it can deliver measurable return on investment.
  • A lack of staff resources was identified as the number one challenge in implementing an effective content marketing strategy (63%), closely followed by lack of budget (48%) and lack of content creation expertise (41%).
  • 79% believe a strong content marketing strategy will help them use social media more effectively, followed by video and animation (70%) and news articles (62%).

The report also reveals that businesses are setting metrics to track success and prove the value of good content. Over three quarters (83%) measure the effectiveness of content through web traffic, while 67% measure through media coverage and just over half (56%) through click analysis.

Chris Talago, executive vice president and general manager EMEA at Waggener Edstrom, believes content marketing enables organisations to engage with audiences and prove their worth as a trusted source of information.

“It has had a transformative effect on the way brands reach and retain their customers,” says Talago. “But with so many voices, getting to grips with content marketing best practice is not easy.”

He adds: “Our research suggests that businesses are starting to understand the potential ROI content marketing can generate, but before this impact is fully realised, factors including budget and staffing need to be addressed.”

Ricardo Adame, corporate vice president of global communications at AVG Technologies, says measurement has always been key to demonstrating the success of his company’s marketing programmes. However, he believes content marketing provides an opportunity to be even more accurate.

“By defining our metrics carefully and building in additional measures to provide context,” says Adame, “a detailed picture is created that enables us to measure the ROI after a campaign has completed and adjust our approach during its lifespan to achieve maximum impact.”

The Content Marketing: Puncturing the Hype and Getting Practical report is based on a survey of more than 160 marketing and communication professionals with decision-making responsibilities across the UK, France, Germany and South Africa. The full results can be found at: www.waggeneredstrom.com.

# # # #

About the author: 

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

____________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

Gaining thought leadership can lead to more invitations to tender, new survey finds

November 22, 2013

by Brian Oliver

Nearly three-quarters of UK businesses are more likely to invite tenders from companies that are recognised as experts and ‘thought leaders’ in their market – provided the content they publish is authoritative and genuinely informative and credible.

This is the key finding of a new survey of over 2,000 UK companies by consumer and business analyst MindMetre Research. The sample – broadly representative of UK business by sector – was conducted in order to identify the level of influence that the convergence of content marketing and thought leadership can play in buying and tendering decisions.

The presence of authoritative content on a company website was found to play a crucial role in helping firms to get a ‘foot in the door’ by providing validation of company expertise.

The MindMetre survey found:

  • When compiling a tender list for technology and equipment, 61% of companies research possible candidate suppliers on the web and will visit the company website to validate its expertise;
  • For companies looking for a business services supplier, the proportion rises to 70%;
  • 72% of UK businesses report that they are much more likely to invite a supplier to tender if their website not only describes the sales proposition, but also gives access to informative and relevant thought leadership material;
  • 80% of businesses warn that thought leadership must be based on credible, independent research and not simply a collection of personal opinions.

Paul Lindsell, managing director of MindMetre Research, says: “Companies other than management consultancies are increasingly recognising that they can gain tangible competitive advantage by demonstrating commercially valuable ‘thought leadership’ in their customer markets. By addressing issues in the customer’s market, the company shows that it is knowledgeable about these issues and can help find a solution.”

He adds: “Buyer organisations evidently consider the demonstration of thought-leadership by potential suppliers to be important and influential when deciding which supplier to use. So, while thought leadership confirms its key role in building a reputation for a new entrant into a market, established market players can also build their reputation further with customers, influencers, and stakeholders through the generation of interesting material.“

However, Lindsell warns that publishing “pseudo-statistics” that are wrong, or exaggerated to support a company’s commercial interests, can have an adverse effect on a company’s reputation.

He says: “2013 may be the year when content marketing converges with ‘thought leadership’ to provide a compelling combination of quality content and powerful distribution channel. But amateurism and commercial myopia are very real dangers when it comes to research.”

One company that puts a heavy emphasis on authoritative and credible content is Regus, the global workplace provider. It runs a twice-yearly research programme which provides thought leadership content for its communications in more than 90 countries.

“As the leading player in our industry, we believe that our communications should reflect our expertise through thought leadership,” says Andrew Brown, group communications director at Regus. “This type of content is produced to provide our prospect and client market places with timely, useful insights on issues that really concern them, and that they can use to build more successful businesses.”

You can obtain a copy of the new Mindmetre report by emailing Josephine Ornago at Josephine@mindmetre.com.

# # # #

Brian OliverAbout the author:

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

____________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

The History of #Hashtags

November 15, 2013

Hashtag imageOnly six years ago, a hashtag was regarded as a simple symbol most commonly used in front of a number. Today, hashtags have become one of the most valuable content marketing tools. They now even appear in many leading brands’ TV commercials.

And it doesn’t stop there. Hashtags have become an integral part of people’s everyday lives – from a teenager’s Instagram photo to a marketing director’s tweets.

For marketing professionals, the hashtag’s short but rich history proves its unique ability to attract attention and help build conversations around a marketing message.

In the splendid infographic below, social marketing specialist Offerpop has compiled some key moments in the history of the hashtag to show how, in under a decade, this commonplace sign has turned into a global icon.

History of #Hashtags (Infographic)

(click on the image to enlarge)

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

# # # #

Content marketing is companies’ top priority for 2013, says new report

February 9, 2013

by Brian Oliver

A growing emphasis on channelling resources into content marketing is the single most significant digital trend in 2013, according to a new report produced by Econsultancy and Adobe.

Based on a survey of some 700 business respondents from Europe and North America, the Quarterly Intelligence Briefing: Digital Trends for 2013 report found that content marketing is regarded as this year’s top priority by 39% of respondents (compared with 29% in 2012).

At the same time, marketers’ excitement about social media appears to be waning a little. The report found that social media engagement is lower down the list of priorities than a year ago, as observed by both client-side and agency respondents.

Only 35% of respondents thought social media presented one of the most exciting digital-related opportunities in 2013, compared with 54% who saw it as the biggest opportunity last year.

Mobile optimisation is seen as the ‘big thing’ for 2013 by 43% of respondents, while 35% cited “targeting and personalisation”.

Social media analytics was named as important by only 9% of marketers (compared with 19% in 2012).

Neil Morgan, senior director, EMEA Marketing at Adobe Marketing Cloud, says: “The report is aimed at shining a torch on some of the trends which will have the biggest impact on the way we work as marketers over the next 12 months and beyond.

“It is our first opportunity to compare with the same report a year earlier, and it’s great to see that many of the trends which surfaced have increased in their significance to marketers, notably content, conversion, mobile and social.”

 

The Quarterly Intelligence Briefing: Digital Trends for 2013 report can be purchased HERE for £250 (excluding VAT).

# # # #

Brian OliverAbout the author:

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

________________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

Content marketing now accounts for 20% of UK marketing spend, says OnePoll survey

June 15, 2012

Growing importance of content marketing leads to rebranding of APA as the Content Marketing Association

 

According to new OnePoll research, content now accounts for a fifth of UK marketing spend and 73% of marketing directors expect their content budget to stay the same or increase over the next 12 months.

One in 20 of the marketers surveyed said they expect their content budgets to increase significantly in 2013.

The OnePoll research was commissioned to mark the rebranding of the UK’s Association of Publishing Agencies (APA) as the Content Marketing Association (CMA).  

The Association says the rebrand is designed to “better reflect the work of its members” and to highlight the importance of content in today’s marketing strategies.

CONTENT AS AN EFFECTIVE MARKETING TOOL

In a statement on June 13, the Association said: “The overarching aim of CMA is to promote the use of editorialised content as an effective marketing tool to client-side marketers and showcase the range of channels that can be used to editorially engage customers … from digital – such as smart phone apps, tablet-enabled microsites and branded TV – to the more traditional customer magazines.”

The CMA said it is not surprised that content marketing spend is rising. Research shows that consumers’ appetite for editorialised content is at an all time high. A recent study conducted by Dipstick found that a quarter of consumers’ total media consumption is now provided by their favourite brands.

“This rebrand marks a turning point for content marketing,” said the CMA’s COO Julia Hutchison. “Not only is it a truer reflection of the work that our members are now doing, it will also serve as a bridge across all the disciplines currently involved in creating content for brands.”

She added: “The marketing industry has changed significantly over the last 20 years… No trade association has successfully owned the content space and, as the research shows, with large proportions of budget now being spent on content marketing, brands side marketers want a dedicated resource. ” 

# # # #

The CMA has produced an excellent infographic about the UK Content Marketing Revolution:

 

 

_______________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

72 hours of video content uploaded to YouTube every minute

May 22, 2012

When YouTube celebrated its seventh birthday on May 21, the Google-owned clip streaming service revealed that 72 hours worth of video content is now being uploaded every 60 seconds – up from 48 hours in 2011.

YouTube has also announced that subscriptions to the service have risen by 50% over the past year.

With over 800 million users watching more than three billion hours of video every month, it now boasts “tens of millions” of channels – including countless branded content channels. It is also the world’s most used mobile streaming platform.

Over the past year, YouTube has redesigned the site, and worked to expand its original programming – launching dozens of new content channels. It has also added the option of converting all short-form videos to 3D.

“We’ve come a long way in the past seven years,” YouTube posted on its blog. “What started as a handful of videos shared among friends has transformed into a global platform delivering the next generation of channels to anyone, anywhere, and on any device.”

# # # #

Watch YouTube’s 7th birthday celebration video …

 

________________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

Facebook study shows brand marketers the best way to engage with fans

May 21, 2012

by Brian Oliver

Internal research by Facebook has found that brand marketers stand a much better chance of engaging with the social network’s 900 million active users if they focus on posting content about generic topics related to their brand, rather than promoting a specific product or service.

The study also found that conversational ‘fun’ posts that have nothing to do with the brand are least likely to attract a response from fans.

In fact, a separate survey by global Software as a Service company ExactTarget recently revealed that chit-chat posts are one reason why people ‘unLike’ brands on Facebook.

In a bid to help content marketers gain a better insight into which posts generate the most ‘shares’, ‘Likes’ and comments, Facebook spent four weeks analysing activity on 23 brand Pages spanning six different industry sectors.

For the study, Facebook’s research team divided social content into three categories:

1. Purely promotional messages (such as the launch of a new product, a new store opening, or a special deal);

2. Messages that tie in with the brand but cover general topics about the sector in which the brand operates (such as recipe ideas from a food brand or holiday tips from a travel company);

3. Posts completely unrelated to the brand (such as chatty posts about current events that have no connection with the brand).

FACEBOOK POSTS MUST RELATE TO THE BRAND

“The topicality of page posts impacts all types of engagement,” explains Elisabeth Diana, corporate communications manager at Facebook. “But the bottom-line result is that posts related to the brand and posts related to a product or service are the ones that are significant predictors of actions.

“The third, unrelated content, is not a significantly predictive page post.”

In other words, posting content on your Facebook page that is not about your brand is the only type of post that does not correlate with engagement.

“Speaking in the voice of the brand, talking directly about your product or service, or a topic related to the brand, is the best way to engage with fans of your page,” she says.

The Facebook study also found that photos and videos are best for generating ‘Shares’, while ‘Likes’ are driven by posts that prompt users to ‘Like’ something, and posts that pose questions are most likely to foster comments.

“You can maximize your success on Facebook by optimising your Page posting strategy for the type of engagement you are trying to drive,” adds Diana.

# # # #

About the author:

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

________________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

Two-thirds of UK mobile content marketing recipients act immediately, study shows

May 17, 2012

by Brian Oliver

The growing importance of tailoring content to the fast-expanding mobile market has been underlined by new data from digital agency Steel London.

A study conducted by Steel shows that 36% of UK consumers now read content marketing emails – such as eNewsletters – on their mobile phones (55% in the case of 18-34 year-olds) … and 69% of them act immediately.

Of these, 42% click through to the website and 30% subsequently make a purchase. The figures are even higher for 18-34 year olds: 52% of them click through and 35% end up buying something.
 
At the same time, the study shows that about one-third of recipients choose to screen mobile content marketing messages and read them later on a PC or a laptop.

INTEGRATE MOBILE INTO CONTENT STRATEGIES

The findings show it is now essential for consumer brands and B2B organisations to develop a better understanding of the mobile market and integrate mobile into their content-led marketing strategies.

Andy Hinder, Steel’s CEO, said: “Consumers are increasingly using their mobile as their preferred media and communication device. Because of this, the mobile has become the gatekeeper for further action and engagement with emails.

“With better targeted marketing emails, and the growth in mobile commerce, it is essential for brands to look at how they further adapt their email marketing strategies for mobile.”

He added: “Marketers must also bear in mind when and where the consumer is receiving their communication. This has massive implications for how they create the right messages for a highly personal device, and how they want consumers to react to, and interact with those messages.”

# # # #

About the author:

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

________________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

 

B2B marketing should focus more on building relationships through trustworthy content and less on sales messaging

May 14, 2012

B2B organisations should focus more on the value of their offering and less on product specifications when they run content marketing campaigns. That’s according to a new Content Preferences Survey conducted by DemandGen, an e-media publication which specialises in B2B sales strategies and solutions.

As Contented Marketer recently reported, more than 90% of B2B purchase decisions are now triggered by exposure to some form of content marketing. DemandGen’s latest study set out to examine the shifting content preferences of B2B buyers.

The survey found that 75% of respondents wanted B2B solution providers to “curb the sales messaging” in their content.

Other key findings included:

MESSAGING: 55% of respondents said providers should focus less on product details and more on making sure sales prospects understand the value of the product to their businesses, rather than resorting to “obtrusive, ineffective sales speak”.

SHARING: While email is the primary sharing mechanism, the survey found that more than half (53%) of the executives surveyed now share content using LinkedIn.

FORMATS: 88% of respondents pointed to white papers as their top form of content for researching a business topic or solution. Visual formats – such as webinars (72%), videos (44%), and infographics (38%) – were also cited as emerging formats for research.

TECHNOLOGY: Nearly half of the respondents (40%) said they now access content via their mobile phone more often than they used to, while 23% now use a tablet device for research.

“This survey illuminated interesting trends in the world of content marketing,” said Amanda Batista, author of the Content Preferences Survey and managing editor of DemandGen Report. “Solution providers, now more than ever, need to demonstrate a clear understanding of their prospects’ challenges, market trends and objectives.

“They also need to cultivate a greater role in content sharing by providing trustworthy content that establishes relationships with prospects.”

She added: “Research shows that nine in ten buyers now connect with a solution provider via some form of content, regardless of company size or industry, and navigating this trend is an evolving process.” 

# # # #

 ________________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

Email still most common method of sharing content, study finds

April 28, 2012

But email marketers should segment content to increase relevance and add value to recipients…

by Brian Oliver

Despite the enormous popularity of social media tools such as Facebook and Pinterest, a recent study conducted by StumbleUpon and BuzzFeed found that email is still the most-used method of sharing content.

Trying to make articles or videos ‘go viral’ by hoping to get thousands of followers to click on a single link is unrealistic, the study found.

Instead, people are more likely to spread content that resonates with them by distributing one-on-one email ‘shares’ among smaller and more intimate groups of colleagues, friends and family.

The StumbleUpon/BuzzFeed study looked at how content is shared online by analysing the 50 stories that have received the most Facebook traffic since mid-2007. Findings showed that for every Facebook share only nine people actually visited the story.

This suggests that even the biggest stories on Facebook are propagated by intimate conversations within a single network – for example, by large numbers of individuals sharing personally with a small number of friends, rather than by content being ‘broadcast’ through a few ‘influencers’ sharing a single post or tweet and hundreds of thousands of people clicking on it.

MORE CONTENT SHARED BY EMAIL ‘CONVERSATIONS’

While influential people may be able to reach a wide audience, their impact is short-lived, the StumbleUpon/BuzzFeed study found. Content goes viral when it spreads beyond a particular sphere of influence and spreads across the social web via ordinary people sharing with their friends.

“If you think about the course of a day, you spend the most amount of time communicating through email,” says Jack Krawczyk, StumbleUpon’s senior marketing manager. He points out that such ‘intimate sharing’ outnumbers so-called ‘broadcasting’ by 2-to-1 on StumbleUpon.

“People still want to have that intimate conversation,” says Krawczyk, adding that this also applies to young adults who are usually seen as relying on social media tools to communicate. “Those 34 and younger are the ones sharing emails,” he says. “They want that direct line of communications.”
 
EMAIL CONTENT MARKETING MUST BE SEGMENTED

Separate research from cloud-based firm Act-On Software warns that many companies are failing to take full advantage of the continuing importance of email content marketing as a customer acquisition tool.

Although opt-in email marketing is increasingly being integrated with social media platforms, the Act-On study found that many marketers are still making the common mistake of sending a single message to everyone on their mailing list.

Marketers should be segmenting and tailoring their email content to make sure the information that each customer receives is relevant to their needs and adds value.

Email marketers should also make sure their content does not contain any errors, the Act-On study warns. Poor quality writing within email content – with bad grammar, spelling mistakes and factual errors – can have a negative impact on a recipient’s view of the company.  

(Image via Clkr)  

# # # #

About the author:

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

________________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing