Some relevant research completed over the last 12 months reinforces the importance of branded content in B2B marketing.
I recently attended a NorCal BMA conference up in Silicon Valley where Barry Trailer of CSO Insights summarized some of their research findings in their report, 2010 Key Trends in BtoB Lead Generation Optimization.
Of all the marketing tools, website design/content topped the list in terms of percentage of B2B marketers who say they will increase budget dollars in the next 12 months (65% of responses). The next three biggest areas for increases were for email marketing, new media (ex: blogs) and web search optimization. The loser was direct mail.
A Custom Content Council survey reveals that 32% of overall marketing communications budget dollars go to branded content, although the mailed survey went to both B2C and B2B industries. I’m not alone in believing that Conversational Marketing doesn’t get very far without Content Marketing.
Also of interest: within a custom-content budget, 51% of the dollars go to custom print publications, 27% for internet media and 22% for other categories including video and audio. No surprise that half is still needed for print, given the cost of printing.
Content as an SEO Utility
One by-product of the battle for first-page search engine rankings is the advent of what I call “shallow content.” These are quickly-crafted articles with borrowed facts and ideas that have something to do with the marketer’s industry and thus the article can be filled with the relevant and useful keywords. The keywords legitimize the article so when Google finds the link to the marketer’s website in the text, a credible in-bound link is noted on the “score card”. All for SEO purposes. The idea of potential prospects actually reading the content is secondary.