B2B content marketing on the rise

Last year we took a long look at how companies should be measuring ROI when it comes to content marketing. Based on research carried out in 2014, it was clear that planning strategy and a clear focus on ROI would produce better results.

Part of this research came from the US Content Marketing Institute (CMI). Jumping forward to the CMI’s latest study of trends within B2B, it is clear that marketers are becoming more efficient in their use of content.

Here are a few takeaways from the new CMI research and what it could mean for 2017.

More quality please

Looking at what brought about successful campaigns, an overwhelming number of respondents (85 per cent) said quality editorial. In second place was strategy, with 72 per cent behind the best work. This goes to prove what we’ve been saying. People want and expect content to be of journalistic standard.

Content marketing only becomes a numbers game when the work is out there. Its planning and production need to be thought out and targeted. Better to produce one excellent article a week than five average ones. Quantity without quality devalues the brand and erodes trust.

Cash rich, time poor

Is it time for companies to look at bringing in external help? Well, being a content marketing agency, we would say that – wouldn’t we? However, citing failures or lacklustre campaigns, a number of respondents highlighted issues with both time and content creation.

Fifty-five per cent said content was being delivered by one person for the whole organisation. To put this into perspective, 31 per cent of respondents came from small companies. Obviously, in some cases, one person would be entirely sufficient. However, in terms of quantity there is a danger in relying heavily on a sole individual. It is very easy to fall into a rut when you are writing about the same subject.

That old chestnut

There are always anomalies in research and this is no exception. Despite a high number of people crediting strategy as the reason for successful campaigns, the number of companies that have a documented plan is still small. In 2014, UK media researcher ALF found only 41 per cent of companies engaged in content had one. According to the CMI, this has not changed – with only 37 per cent documenting their content marketing strategy.


Some things succeed in spite of themselves. Lack of strategy still seems to be an issue in content marketing. We’ve written about it many times. Furthermore (and this is a subjective view), there must be a connection with the problems around content creation. At the very least, a proper strategy would provide a platform for efficient idea generation.

At the same time, content marketing in B2B appears to be on the up. And why not? Many companies operate in highly-specialised markets where education and information are key. Quality editorial provides the best tool to achieve it.

B2B content marketing on the rise is part of Content24, the blog for London content marketing agency FirstWord.