May 1, 2013: Last month, Content Marketing Institute (CMI) released its report, “B2B Software Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America,” sponsored by the International Data Group (IDG). The report, which highlights responses from more than 1400 B2B software marketers across the U.S. and Canada, represents a full range of industries (advertising/marketing, software, consulting, manufacturing, healthcare, and finance), functional areas, and company sizes.
Report results and analysis indicate several key insights, including the percentage of software marketers using content marketing, the number of tactics they are using to execute their campaigns, the frequency with which they are using such tactics, and much more. To help you measure your company’s content marketing initiatives and compare your efforts against those of the survey participants, KoMarketing Associates has put together a comprehensive guide to the report findings. We hope you will use these highlights to help shape your content marketing strategies in 2013 and beyond.
Percentage of the Pie
Nearly all (99%) of software marketers surveyed are now using content marketing, according to report findings. More than half (53%) plan to increase their content marketing budgets this year and, on average, they’re allocating a little over a quarter (29%) of their overall budgets to content marketing.
Content Marketing Institute reports the spending patterns of software marketers closely resemble the patterns of B2B marketers overall and that, although software marketers allocate slightly less of their marketing budgets to content marketing than their B2B peers (29% vs. 33%), these numbers are still in line with the amounts CMI sees marketers in other industries investing.
How Are They Doing It?
According to the research, software marketers are using an average of 14 content marketing tactics, most notably including:
- Social media (excluding blogs) (93%)
- Webinars/webcasts (88%)
- Videos (87%)
- Case studies (86%)
CMI reports “software marketers use all but one of the top 15 tactics [shown in the above bar chart] more often than their B2B peers; the exception is ‘articles on your website,’ which 83% of both groups report using.”
As it pertains to tactic effectiveness, software marketers claim to get better results from webinars than their B2B peers do (71% vs. 61%). While they consider videos, social media, and articles on other websites less effective than their B2B peers do, software marketers consider white papers, research reports, ebooks, and microsites to be more effective than their B2B peers.
According to Content Marketing Institute, software marketers use the following platforms more often than their B2B peers:
- Twitter (89% vs. 80%)
- LinkedIn (87% vs. 83%)
- Facebook (82% vs. 80%)
- YouTube (69% vs. 61%)
- SlideShare (29% vs. 23%)
However, software marketers use Google+ (33% vs. 39%) and Pinterest (21% vs. 26%) less than their B2B peers.
Content Marketing Institute speculates that software marketers using more content marketing tactics than their B2B peers and using those tactics with greater frequency “indicates their willingness to try different things.”
What About Goals?
Lead generation is the highest ranked goal (82%) for software marketers, according to the report findings. Software marketers also consider the following to be top priorities:
- Brand awareness (80%)
- Thought leadership (79%)
- Customer acquisition (78%)
- Lead management/nurturing (66%)
In fact, Content Marketing Institute reports “thought leadership is an important goal even for software marketers who rate themselves as least effective at content marketing, with 82% of that group citing it as a top goal.”
In order to measure the success of their content marketing efforts, 69% of software marketers use sales lead quality, followed by website traffic (63%), sales lead quantity (60%), and social media sharing (45%), among other measurement criteria. B2B marketers, on the other hand, most often use website traffic to measure content marketing success, indicating software marketers could be placing high emphasis on lead management efforts in order to reach their overall goal of lead generation.
When the Going Gets Tough
Sixty-nine percent of software marketers view producing enough content as a top challenge, making it the biggest hurdle for survey respondents. Producing the kind of content that engages (58%), producing a variety of content (47%), and measuring content effectiveness (32%) are also top challenges for software marketers.
Interestingly, as Content Marketing Institute notes, “software marketers are slightly more challenged with producing enough content (69% vs. 64%) and producing the kind of content that engages (58% vs. 52%) than their B2B peers,” which could indicate B2B marketers have more content marketing resources at their disposal than software marketers. In fact, survey findings reveal software marketers outsource content creation more frequently (54%) than their B2B peers (43%).
Just 38% of software marketers believe they’re effective at content marketing. However, more software marketers rate their organization as effective at content marketing than B2B marketers (38% vs. 36%) and “they have the highest adoption rate of content marketing,” which Content Marketing Institute believes makes software marketers especially resourceful.
The “B2B Software Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America” report released by the Content Marketing Institute provides marketers with analysis about B2B content marketing trends in the software industry. While the results reveal less than half of software marketers believe they are currently effective at content marketing, CMI “expects their confidence in their effectiveness to grow with more experience” based on its findings.
Want to learn more? Download Content Marketing Institute’s report in full.