Nine out of ten business-to-business companies are now using content marketing according to a recent survey by MarketingProfs and Junta42.  Content marketing is the creation and distribution of educational and/or entertaining content (as opposed to content that is primarily promotional) for the purpose of attracting and/or retaining customers.

Content marketing has become a core B2B marketing strategy because of dramatic changes in the B2B buying process.  Today more than ever before, business buyers control the buying process.  They are conducting research independently (mostly online), and they aren't very interested in the kind of highly promotional marketing materials that most companies have used for years.  What business buyers are looking for - and what they are most likely to respond to - is content that helps them understand their problems, answers their questions, and shows them how to get an important job done.

Companies are using a variety of tactics and formats to engage in content marketing.  The MarketingProfs/Junta42 survey found that, on average, B2B companies are using eight different content marketing tactics in their marketing programs.  According to the survey, the eight most popular tactics are:

  • Social Media (excluding blogs) - 79%

  • Article Posting - 78%

  • In-Person Events (seminars, etc.) - 62%

  • eNewsletters - 61%

  • Case Studies - 55%

  • Blogs - 51%

  • White Papers - 43%

  • Webinars/Webcasts - 42%

The MarketingProfs/Junta42 survey also revealed that B2B companies are committing significant resources to content marketing.  On average, survey respondents said they are spending about 26% of their total marketing budgets on content marketing initiatives.  And 51% of survey respondents said they will increase spending on content marketing in 2011.

What are the major challenges for companies that are using content marketing strategies?  Thirty-six percent of the respondents to the MarketingProfs/Junta42 survey said the greatest challenge is producing the kind of content that engages prospects and customers, while 21% said the biggest challenge is producing enough content to keep the marketing engine running.

These challenges create significant business opportunities for marketing service providers.  Fifty-five percent of the survey respondents said they outsource at least some content creation work.  Are you tapping into this new and growing source of revenue?

You can access the results of the MarketingProfs/Junta42 survey here.