[RESEARCH] B2B Marketers Getting Smart With Content Marketing

September 28, 2017

by Carla Johnson

The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs released their annual research this week – B2B Content Marketing 2018: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America. In it, Joe Pulizzi and Ann Handley tell us that B2B marketers keep seeing content marketing success as they look at ways to be more creative and build their audience.

If you’re a skimmer, here’s the key findings…

  • 24% of B2B marketers say their organization’s overall content marketing approach is extremely or very successful; the report characterizes these respondents as this year’s B2B top content marketing performers.
  • 63% of B2B marketers say their organization’s overall content marketing approach is much more or somewhat more successful than one year ago.
  • 80% of B2B marketers agree their organization is focused on building audiences (one or more subscriber bases) (compared with 92% of top performers).
  • 74% of B2B marketers agree their organization values creativity and craft in content creation and production (compared with 88% of top performers).

It’s been a long road, baby

Take a look at this Google trends chart about the growth of interest in content marketing search in the last 10 years.


We started with a term that our profession created to describe a shift in what we do, and look at where we’re at today. Even the growth in the last three years is amazing for something that’s a rock-solid approach to business – not just marketing. That’s why this year’s report shows that we’re up to 91 percent of respondents saying they use content marketing (up 2 percent from 2017). As for the remaining 9 percent, I think they still prefer horses to cars.

You’ll find all the usual great details about team size, maturity, tactics, measurement and so forth when you download the report.

The meaning in the message

But what I found particularly interesting this year is that there’s an 18 percent increase from last year in the focus of using content marketing to build their audience. That’s what differentiates content marketing from other forms of marketing. The intent of content marketing is to offer valuable information so people want to hear from your business…so they subscribe to your content because they’re interested in it.

But in order to capture people’s attention and make them want to be a part of our audience, we have to create content that high-quality but also interesting. That means infusing how we look at content with more creativity. While it’s not part of the report, I’m going to take a guess that the brands that are the most successful and most mature with content are also the most creative.

What do you think?

Download the full report. 

Are you looking for help to get more strategic, creative and effective with content marketing? Contact me and let’s talk about how we can help. You can also follow me on LinkedIn, and  Twitter, and if you like what you see, Subscribe here for regular updates.

About Carla Johnson


Carla Johnson is a world-renowned storyteller, an entertaining speaker, and a prolific author.

Over the last two decades, Carla has helped architects and actuaries, executives and volunteers, innovators and visionaries leverage the art of storytelling to inspire action. Her work with Fortune 500 brands has served as the foundation for many of her books.

In her latest project, Fast Forward Files, she contributes to a larger collection of thoughts by some of the world’s greatest minds -  Shazam co-founder Dhiraj Mukherjee, activist and entrepreneur Heather Mills and behavioral designer, technologist and mental-health champion Peter Trainor. Consistently named one of the top influencers in B2B, digital and content marketing, Carla regularly challenges conventional thinking. 

Today, she travels the world teaching anyone (and everyone) how to cultivate idea-driven teams that breed unstoppable creativity and game-changing innovation.