One thing that will be on the CMO agenda every year is increasing return on investment. When you can optimize every dollar spent, your marketing strategy has the power to make a bigger impact, driving leads, sales and customer retention.
One of the toughest areas of marketing to measure – and the most critical to understand because of its potential impact – is content marketing. Because the goal of content is to cultivate long-term relationships, trust and authority (you’re ultimately building a brand community rather than going for one-off purchases), translating your content into a directly measurable return is challenging. Of successful B2B marketers, only 55 percent are measuring their content marketing ROI.
Elusiveness doesn’t make content ROI any less important. In fact, measuring it is a characteristic of effective B2B marketing. Where more than half of the most successful marketers do it, of the least successful, only 18 percent do.
You can learn more about how to measure the ROI of your content marketing here. But, just as critical and desirable as tracking ROI, is increasing it. Want to know the core tactics B2B CMOs and marketing managers used last year to increase the success of their content marketing? Here’s a look at where they put the most emphasis, and a reveal of the only three things you’ll need to increase your ROI in 2018.
Could it really be that simple? 78 percent of B2B content marketers say that increasing the quality of their content played a role in their success over the past year.
Actually, it’s not exactly simple. There’s a lot of complexity that goes into such a general concept as ‘high-quality.’
It’s not just about posting longer blog posts or paying a video production agency to produce your video content. Great content has relevance and meaning. It’s got heart. It serves a purpose for your audience – through educating them, inspiring or even emotionally connecting. But, it, as in, every blog, social post, infographic, video, ebook, email and live event, should invite the audience into the experience of your brand.
That’s what makes content ‘high quality.’
How do you accomplish this? According to the 2018 B2B Content Marketing Trends report, the focus should be on well-researched, quality content and on looking at how each piece impacts the experience and connection a person has with your organization.
The other top considerations for creating content with impact – making it audience-centric, using the right content for the right person, at the right time, and even differentiation from competitors – are all rooted in one principle, which applies to two marketing fundamentals: understand who you are, and who they are.
Delivered More Efficiently
The other side of better content creation for boosting your content marketing ROI is efficiency. When you look beneath the surface of what efficiency means, it’s not just about using marketing automation platforms to automate tasks and scale your content.
It is about using marketing technology, but for a deeper purpose: for creating content specifically for the content consumer, which you know they will value and therefore will be more likely to engage with.
This means more sophisticated personalization, better use of predictive analytics and digging deeper into the data. How users interact with your website, what is the most motivating digital content for your buyer segments, when and how are your segments engaging – combined with qualitative insights from customer feedback surveys and talking to your customers.
More efficient content is the ultimate goal of extreme personalization, something we’ll be moving closer to in 2018 as marketing automation platforms become more and more competitive – and therefore more dynamic, intuitive, and accessible to more marketers. We’re still at a point where a third of top retail brands say they have limited to no personalization capabilities.
But we’re also at a place where there are over 5,000 martech companies out there improving or developing new marketing solutions, most of which involve AI, which itself is a rapidly evolving field of technology. It’s a cross-roads. If you want your organization to head in the right direction, make efficient content creation and distribution – based on a more sophisticated use of marketing automation solutions – a priority.
Via a Grand Plan
And the final piece of the equation. Strategy.
B2B organizations are still lacking when it comes to having a documented content strategy, with only 37 percent using one and close to 20 percent – that’s one in five marketing teams – at the stage of planning on creating a plan within the next year.
In order to boost your content marketing ROI in 2018, it’s critical to have a roadmap in place to reach that goal.
- What types of content are you going to use and why?
- What does your content schedule look like?
- What are the marketing goals of each campaign, as well as your overall strategy for the next three months, six months, and in the long-term?
- Who is your target audience?
- How will your audience be segmented?
- What content distribution channels are you going to use?
- How are you going to measure the impact of each campaign? What KPIs are you going to use?
- What processes are in place for making changes to your strategy along the way?
Only when you take the time to develop a strategy and commit to improving it as an ongoing process, can you really put your great content and cutting-edge marketing automation tools to work for your organization.
Quality, Efficiency, Strategy = Successful Content Marketing
When you do combine these three essentials – quality content, efficiently created and delivered, via a well thought-out strategy, your content marketing is going to be successful. This means you don’t necessarily need to throw your budget into the most-exciting content marketing trends like augmented reality, projection mapping and high-tech gamification, or add more types of content to your arsenal to boost your ROI. The best way to get more out of every marketing dollar spent, isn’t to get caught up in all the glamour of what could be done, but to go back and hone those data analysis and content creation skills to do more with the technology and manpower you already have.