Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) 2020 survey gives marketers one thing to cheer about in their content marketing efforts. Brand awareness success among B2B marketers jumped up to 86%, compared to 81% the prior year. B2C marketers scored almost as high at 84%. But is brand awareness enough to celebrate?
Other studies have reported that CEOs and CMOs are primarily concerned about ROI or return on investment. Brand awareness may generate recognition but it’s only the first step in producing a sale.
Of the ten areas surveyed by CMI on content marketing success, only three other categories scored 70% or higher. Educating consumers improved to 79%, compared to 73% in 2019. Building credibility and trust rose from 68% to 75%, while generating demand and leads jumped to 70% over 2019’s 68%.
Although every category improved, the absence of success in following through on brand awareness was reflected in the other six categories measured by CMI. Nurturing audiences, leads and subscribers increased the most from 58% to 69%. Building loyalty among existing customers also showed a good gain from 54% to 63%. Driving attendance to in-person events showed a modest gain from 48% to 52%.
However, in terms of generating sales, content marketing only increased to 53% over 45% a year earlier. Developing a subscribed audience saw slight success, going from 43% in 2019 to 45% in 2020. The final area measured was the effect of content marketing on supporting the launch of new products. CMI reported that it rose from 40% to 45%.
Brands already employing content marketing, but which aren’t measuring up to or exceeding the figures reported by CMI might do well to re-examine their content marketing strategy. Does the content marketing goal match up with the goal of the brand?
One of the cornerstones of content marketing is subscribers. This audience has already given a brand permission to communicate with them. Expanding and nurturing that base should be a priority. Beyond that, setting subscriber goals and measuring one’s success on a regular basis are paramount.
Leads are important in all kinds of sales efforts. They’re even more valuable than subscribers because of the potential to gather more information from the consumer. Crafting and disseminating good content will increase attendance at in-person and online events. Here again, it’s also important to set goals and measure them regularly.
Support the sales department with case studies and testimonials. Offer content that gives consumers more reasons to make that purchase. Be sure to implement a system that allows the tracking from lead generation to customer conversion to the amount of sale. Keep ROI in mind!
Nurture customer loyalty. Nothing’s more frustrating than investing time and money in attracting a new customer than losing them after that first sale. Besides, research shows that the cost to retain customers is a lot less than that of attracting a new one. Good content can reinforce and reassure consumers that their purchase was a wise or prudent investment.
Finally, be inclusive internally. Invite and encourage input from all affected departments into the content marketing strategy and share results on a regular basis.