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Survey: Marketers Need to Improve Digital Content

5 Jun, 2013 By: Doug McPherson

PALO ALTO, Calif. – A new study by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council says marketers need better customer-centric themes, stronger content origination, more effective delivery networks and measurable content performance tracking systems.

Despite spending about 25 percent of their marketing budgets on content creation, the report says most companies lack the necessary strategies, competencies and best practices to effectively engage their markets. And very few have content performance measures and metrics in place to scorecard effectiveness and calculate return on investment. 

Among the findings:

  • 88 percent of respondents say online content plays a major to moderate role in vendor selection
  • 28 percent say they share content with more than 100 colleagues, while another 31 percent share it with 25 to 100 people
  • Peer-powered organizations are the most trusted and valued sources of online content; 67 percent of respondents named research and white papers from professional organizations among their most trusted content sources compared to just 9 percent who named vendor white papers
  • Other trusted and valued types of content include papers from industry organizations (50 percent); customer case studies (48 percent); analyst reports (44 percent); and independent product reviews (41 percent)

Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council, says improving content relevance and performance “is a strategic imperative for B-to-B marketing organizations. B-to-B buyers are looking for content that’s original, consultative and highly pertinent to where they are in their decision-making process.”

Laura Breslaw, CMO for AlixPartners, a global business advisory firm, believes budgets for content development have to grow. “It’s become a much more complex process to manage,” she says. “It’s a bigger investment of people. It’s a bigger investment of research. It’s potentially a bigger investment of strategic partnerships. But it’s all part of building an integrated marketing program.” 

The CMO Council’s Content ROI Center believes too few marketers have fully grasped the role and value of content in the process of sales lead acquisition, qualification, conversion and closure – or its contribution to customer retention and revenue generation. Most have yet to map and model content requirements for specific buyer types across the marketing funnel. Channel analytics and content testing are needed to further the “precision acquisition” of qualified, actionable leads. Customer content requirements need to be anticipated and automated along the buyer’s journey.

Neale-May says marketers who are seeking more meaningful engagement with customer audiences should also consider building stronger partnerships with organizations and content originators who understand and are trusted by targeted buyer groups.

“Peer-powered organizations, including professional communities and industry groups, offer brands the opportunity to access powerful insights into customer audiences, as well as trusted channels for content engagement,” Neale-May says.

The 11-page report is available for download at:

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