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What’s causing B2B marketing executives to lose sleep in 2014?

A recent survey of more than 200 chief marketing officers at Fortune 500 companies puts some answers to this question.

Creating valuable content for B2B marketing isn't easy.I found the survey, which was conducted by Mass Relevance and The CMO Club, to be fascinating for two reasons.

The first is that, to some extent, the reason for all those sleepless nights comes down to “creating content is hard.”

The second is that the results reflect what we’ve been hearing at One Red Bird from our clients and the business community for some time—content has never been more important to B2B marketers.

Let’s dig into some of the more pertinent results for B2B marketers…

1.  Content marketing is “important” in 2014 for 95% of the CMOs surveyed, with 33% saying it’s “extremely important.”

This reinforces what’s become obvious to anyone paying attention—the majority of businesses now clearly understand that content marketing is a fundamental part of any successful marketing strategy.

Only one respondent claimed it was “not important at all.” I wouldn’t want to own stock in that CMO’s company!

2.  A healthy number (58%) of CMOs at B2B companies expect a positive return on investment from content marketing in 2014, but that is well below the 71% of CMOs at B2C companies who expect positive ROI.

Creating highly compelling B2B content isn’t easy. Part of the difficulty stems from the high demands of B2B buyers. While consumer marketers can get away with being entertainment, or even a diversion, B2B content is expected to deliver immediate value and insight.

B2B CMOs understand this and rightfully stay awake at night worrying that their content may not be good enough to drive the results it should. It’s not that content marketing won’t work; it’s that their content won’t work.

3. “Creating and finding new, timely, and engaging content” is one of the “biggest challenges” in 2014 for 95% of the CMOs.

The longer sales cycles typical in B2B make it necessary to nurture leads and develop all of the content required to do so. Not only do B2B marketers need valuable content for each of their buyer personas; they need relevant content for each of those persona’s buyer lifecycle stages. Additionally, content is needed for lead acquisition. It’s no wonder content is thought of as the “biggest challenge.”

So now what?

What’s especially compelling is not that marketers believe content is both important and difficult, but rather that so many do. This survey is almost a unanimous chorus for content marketing and its benefits.

The next (and possibly more interesting) question is going to be how CMOs address these challenges and finally get a good night’s sleep.


Image courtesy of Joris ExtendiD, Creative Commons.

Topics: strategy, lead nurturing, marketing content, buyer persona