Content Marketing Seen As Important But Brands Slow To Act [Survey]

Michael Brenner on Oct 16, 2012 in Content Marketing

Econsultancy and Outbrain recently released a content marketing survey report that highlights the importance of content marketing but also that marketers have been slow to define their strategy.

The survey was representative of 1,300 respondents from both the brand and the agency worlds.

The report covers the importance of content marketing, the maturity of content marketing strategy, the main objectives and barriers of content marketing and also the tactics used the most.

While the report costs $400, Econsultancy and Outbrain are offering this sample content marketing survey report at no charge.

Here are the high level results that they shared publicly and the implications for B2B Marketing leaders…

Content Marketing Is Important

9 of every 10 (90%) of the respondents to the survey claimed that content marketing will become more important over the next 12 months. I’m not sure what the other 10% believe but I guess there’s a skeptic in every bunch.

Agencies and consultants are slightly ahead of that number with 93% considering content marketing as becoming more important.

Brands Are Slow To Act

While so many respondents think it is becoming more important, only 38% have defined a content marketing strategy.

What are the biggest barriers? Just over half of brands (54%) don’t have an individual who is responsible for content in-house and more than two-thirds (66%) don’t have any budget allotted for content efforts.

When asked specifically about the most common barriers, 42% of brand survey respondents cited a lack of human resources and 35% cited a lack of budget as the areas which prevented effective content marketing.

What Does This Mean For B2B Marketers?

Econsultancy reported that B2B marketers are focused more on generating leads, thought leadership and nurturing leads than our B2C counterparts. But the main objectives of content marketing efforts across the board are still mainly reach (traffic and pageviews), engagement and conversion (sales).

B2B Marketing leaders clearly need to close the gap between thinking content marketing is important and acting decisively on defining their content strategy, putting the right people in place and assigning them a budget (says the B2B content marketing guy!)

I think this report can provide great ammunition for all of us in content marketing to explain the importance of these roles in our organizations. And hopefully will act as evidence for marketing leaders that now is the time to make a move.

What do you see as the main barriers to content marketing efforts today? Let me know what you think in the comments below. And please follow along on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ or Subscribe to the B2B Marketing Insider Blog for regular updates.

Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner
Michael Brenner is a globally-recognized keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula and the CEO of Marketing Insider Group. He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael shares his passion on leadership and marketing strategies that deliver customer value and business impact. He is recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Business Keynote Speaker and a top CMO influencer by Forbes. Please follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook and Subscribe here for regular updates.
Showing 10 comments
  • Tony Zambito


    I offered a similar as well as some different perspectives on the same report in a recent post for Sales Benchmark Index. (

    I am aiming to find out more. I have a survey underway on the future of content marketing I am requesting readers of the article to take. Love it if you and your readers will take survey here:

    My plan is to do a future article on the results.

    Great job as always Michael!


    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks Tony, I am on my way over to take the survey and invite all my readers here to do the same! I look forwards to seeing the results and would be happy to offer my perspective for your article…

  • Tony Zambito

    Thanks Michael – will certainly share results and welcome your perspectives also!

  • Eric Wittlake

    Wow, that last chart should be a wake up call for agencies and consultants. The delta likely indicates marketers are adopting content marketing without involving agencies or even making them meaningfully aware.

    Agencies that don’t learn to work with their clients on content marketing initiatives will ultimately end up working within project or execution-focused silos with their clients.

    Thanks for sharing this Michael!

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks Eric, I didn’t want to say anything about the agency numbers because I’m not sure if the agencies are reporting on their clients or on themselves. Either way, you are spot on that agencies need to make content marketing strategy a core component of their services. And since you guys are winners of the “Content Marketing of the Year” award, we can all learn from the great example of your firm!

  • Chris Bantock

    Many thanks for sharing this information. The internet is turning businesses into publishers and they don’t know how to cope with this change.

    Your report highlights what I have thought for a while now that the starting point for businesses to get over this challenge is to find a way to put into place a content strategy.

    This is a key role for agencies moving forward.

    • Michael Brenner

      I agree Chris, and I think there is a core group of forward-thinkers who agree with you and then there is the mass majority who think we’re nuts and speaking a different language. Here’s a clue: when I say this, many marketers still tell me “well we are in the business of selling stuff.” These are the folks we really need to work on to educate them that the world has changed, most marketing is highly ineffective and we need to start with content strategy.

  • Amy

    There’s always an excuse, isn’t there? 🙂 If it’s not “We don’t have the resources,” it’s “We don’t have the knowledge” or “We don’t have the budget,” etc. At some point, companies will either have to get with the program or face extinction.

    It’s going to be an interesting couple of years.

    • Michael Brenner

      Thanks Amy. I’m with you 100%. I really believe content is the battle that will decide which companies win or lose.

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