Content Marketing Challenges in Technology Revealed [CMI Research]

Michael Brenner on Mar 7, 2019 in Content Marketing

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) released new research relating to technology content marketing. This in-depth report, Technology Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends is based on responses from 364 content marketers in the technology industry.

Most of the responses are from B2B brands, but perspectives from B2C marketers were also captured. We’re breaking down exactly what was gleaned from the survey and what it means for technology content marketers now and in the future. Here’s what we found most interesting and helpful for content marketers.

Quick Takeaways:

  • 92% of tech marketers use email as the top approach to nurturing with 79% using educational content.
  • 82% of technology marketers are concerned with creating engaging content.
  • 80% use feedback from the sales team as the top technique to research their audience.
  • 75% believe their content marketing is more successful compared to a year ago.
  • 62% are concerned with SEO changes.
  • 48% struggle with showing content marketing as a revenue center.

Let’s dive a little deeper into the research.

Multiple Roles Create Complexity

As a technology marketer, you know that the buying process can be very complex with lots of different roles involved in the final decision. In the survey, 68% of respondents cited creating content for different roles as a real challenge.

However, there are ways to solve this problem. You need to start with very clearly defined buyer personas. Include personas that are both decision makers and influencers. Once you have your personas, you should also know specifically what their pain points are, then create content for these specific points. This means that your content will vary, which is a good thing. Technology content marketing is never a one size fits all, so it’s good to have variety.

Bottom of the Funnel Content Is Hard

The report found that marketers find it easier to create top of funnel content. At this point in the relationship, it’s about brand awareness and diving deep into challenges with educational material. The survey found that top of funnel goals had high success, including brand awareness at 84%, generating leads at 80%, and educating audiences at 74%.

The gap in the bottom of the funnel comes from most marketers not thinking about content in stages of the buyer from awareness to consideration to decision. Thus, it’s vital to craft content that aligns with each of these stages. When your persona gets further down the funnel, your content must change to meet them where they are. Consider things like case studies and comparisons at the bottom of the funnel.

Most Marketers Understand and Use Tools

The majority of marketers said they have the tools they need to create and optimize content. Personas are used by 65% of marketers, and the importance of this has already been stressed. These marketers are doing a variety of things to research their buyers, including 80% that use sales feedback, 71% find insights in website analytics, and 55% communicate directly with customers.

There are many other tools that marketers use in their content marketing strategy. The tools used most often are social media publishing platforms at 85%. This is followed by email marketing software (82%), analytics tools (77%), and marketing automation (68%).

What do these numbers mean? Technology has become fully integrated into the way marketers work. What will be interesting to see is how much the number of marketers using marketing automation rises as it’s becoming a core tool that marketers need to create a truly integrated strategy.

It’s Important to Nurture Prospects

Nurturing prospects is a critical strategy to turn those with an interest into a sale. Most tech content marketers use email marketing, with 92% using it. However, these marketers realize that drip email campaigns aren’t the only tactic.

Educational content is another part of the nurture path, with 79% of respondents using it, while 67% use in-person events. The type of content they use has been evolving with 64% of marketers saying they are using more video, which makes sense in the modern world where video continues to make up more and more of the content consumed online. Podcasting is another hot trend for unique content with 37% of marketers reporting they are using this technique more.

Content Should Build Loyalty

Tech content marketers aren’t just focusing on prospects as 82% agree that their organization is committed to creating content that builds loyalty with existing clients. Your existing customers, when they are continually nurtured, can become your greatest evangelists. Plus, there is usually an opportunity to gain more business from your current clients. Don’t neglect your current customers. Keep in touch with them and share new information and education so they continue to look at your brand as a thought leader.

Constant Changes in the SEO World are a Concern

SEO is changing more and more every day. The algorithms keep shifting. There’s the push to write for voice SEO. This has tech content marketers concerned, with 62% saying this was their top challenge. It may be seen as a bigger concern because so much of SEO is outside a marketer’s control. Search engines make the rules here. The best advice is to stay vigilant and be in tune with best practices that are relevant right now.

Top Performers are Committed to Content Marketing

In the research, there are areas where top performers are compared with all respondents. A top performer is defined in the research as “one who characterizes his or her organization’s overall content marketing approach as extremely or very successful.” For top performers, 58% said that their organization is committed to content marketing, while all respondents only had a 28% agreement. Top performers also said they have a documented content marketing strategy (66%), compared with all respondents at 42%.

It’s extremely hard to have long-term success with content marketing without a commitment to it and a documented strategy. With a documented strategy, you have a playbook that details what the goals are and what tactics will be used to achieve them. Developing a strategy and writing it down should be big initiatives in 2019 if you don’t already do this.

Content marketing in the tech industry has been and will continue to be a proven way to connect with audiences. When your company creates and disseminates worthwhile content that your audience finds engaging and useful, then you have a great opportunity to grow your company and become a reliable, trusted source to solve their problems.

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.

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