Enterprise B2B content marketing studies show that marketers in 2015 still have a bit to learn about the field before they can maximize their returns.

The biggest lesson that enterprise B2B content marketers are finally applying to their campaigns?

Quality Beats Quantity

More isn’t better, especially if quantity dilutes the quality of your content.

A study from the Content Marketing Institute revealed that the bigger a B2B content marketing campaign gets, the more complex it gets, and the harder it is to measure effectiveness and ROI.

Last year, according to the study, 70% of content marketers were creating more content and this year 65% were creating more. But is quantity really the answer?

Many marketers are finally figuring out that it isn’t: 90% reported that they will focus their efforts on creating more engaging, higher-quality content.

The study revealed many interesting facts about B2B content marketing – namely, how much marketers have to learn about the field. For instance:

  • 69% of marketers had no documented content marketing strategy
  • 20% had no strategy at all
  • his year, only 28% reported that their content marketing was effective
  • Less than half of enterprise B2B content marketers were successful at tracking ROI and 31% weren’t successful or didn’t track ROI at all

Multi-Channel Content Marketing

Small businesses tend to use fewer channels when they engage in content marketing compared to enterprise marketers, who use an average of 16 channels.

While many content marketers think of blogs and social media as primary channels, enterprise B2B marketers use a variety, including:

  • In-person events
  • Videos
  • Social media
  • Case studies and white papers
  • Digital newsletters
  • Website articles
  • Webinars
  • Visuals such as photos and infographics
  • Blogs
  • Research reports

The lesson that many small businesses can take away from this is that more content isn’t necessarily better – but more channels are. A greater diversity and spread of marketing channels increases visibility in the marketplace.

Brand Awareness as Top Priority for Enterprises

The majority of content marketers focus on brand awareness as their key goal. Secondary goals followed close behind, however:

  • 84% claimed brand awareness as a key goal for their conetne marketing campaigns
  • 80% felt engagement was a key organizational goal
  • 79% named sales
  • 78% named lead generation

These primary goals were followed by customer retention and loyalty, lead nurturing, upselling and cross-selling, and customer evangelism.

It’s worth noting that small businesses named lead generation as their top goal for content marketing programs, which clearly demonstrates their overall organizational goals.

Improvement of Performance Measurement

As the above studies indicate, many content marketers have difficulty measuring the performance of their campaigns. This is understandable, given the overwhelming complexity of the digital landscape and the evolving world of content marketing.

These difficulties should gradually subside in 2015 and beyond, especially as data science and analytics grow and become more standardized.

Enterprise B2B content marketers are, in general, more advanced than small businesses, perhaps because they have more resources to devote.

In the coming months and years, expect all B2B content marketers to tackle their existing measurement challenges by:

  • Developing content marketing metrics and KPIs that tie directly to organizational goals
  •  Connecting these KPIs to website analytics, social media post performance, social media shares, and other social media metrics
  • Viewing and relating these KPIs to inbound links and website referrals

Tips and Lessons for B2B Content Marketers

Both enterprise B2B content marketers and small business content marketers can learn a few things from these 2015 trends.

  • Documented strategies are vital to the success of content marketing programs. More research from the Content Marketing Institute revealed that of those who had documented strategies, 60% felt their campaigns were effective. In contrast, only 32% of those who didn’t document their strategy felt it was effective.
  • Identify the most important metrics. As mentioned, not being able to measure content marketing effectiveness and ROI still proves to be a problem for many marketers. One of the best solutions to this problem is creating a documented strategy that focuses on at least one core metric for success. This metric or set of KPIs should be based on an organization’s specific goals and the marketing goals, whether that is brand awareness or lead generation or something else.
  • Keep learning, expanding, and sharing results. To keep decision-makers on board with a content marketing program post-buy-in, it is vital to continue to communicate the value and the results of a program. Clearly establishing goals, evolving the campaigns, and sharing the results will help decision-makers stay on board. On the other hand, the inability to measure results, maintain effectiveness, and clearly demonstrate ROI can have the opposite effect.

Clearly, these studies and surveys show that enterprise B2B content marketing still has a few fundamental challenges to overcome. But with the right strategies and approaches, companies can develop content marketing programs that generate measurable returns and make substantial contributions to organizational objectives.

Marketing Top Enterprise B2B Content Marketing Trends for 2015