Research: 4 Keys to Effective Enterprise Content Marketing

April 26, 2016

The Content Marketing Institute keeps rolling out research that give marketers better perspective about the growing profession we’re in. This week, CMI released B2B Enterprise Content Marketing 2016: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America. What’s clear is that we’re seeing a consistent trend for content marketing across all research sectors.

While overall content marketing effectiveness is down for enterprise marketers (22% this year versus 28% last year) – as it was for all the segments that CMI studied this year – there are four things that effective B2B enterprise marketers are doing right:

  1. They’re on the same page—in their company, it’s clear what content marketing success looks like (64% said they were clear what a successful content marketing program looks like). Having a shared goal is critical for success. Teams become more collaborative, more creative and better educated when everyone’s working toward a common goal. With a clear picture of what success looks like, teams break down silos and draw on complementary strengths, rather than creating a mindset of competing skills.Top 5 Challenges for B2B Enterprise Content Marketers
  2. They communicate—they meet frequently to talk about their content marketing initiatives and learn something valuable by coming together (58% said they meet daily or weekly to discuss progress/results). Better and more frequent communication builds trust, builds teams and builds morale. Regular meetings help people avoid assumptions, make better decisions faster and solve problems so stumbling blocks don’t grow into road blocks.
  3. They have a map—a documented content marketing strategy is in place (75% have a documented content marketing strategy). Having a clear road map that everyone understands has been shown again and again as a key ingredient for successful content marketing programs for any industry or size of company. Think about it…your company wouldn’t operate without a strategic plan, so why would marketing? They know what channels work best for their industry and their audience, and invest in them proportionately.
    Effectiveness Ratings for B2B Enterprise Content Marketing Tactics
  4. They invest—the percentage of total marketing budget they allocate to content marketing is greater than it was last year (they spend 36% of their total marketing budget on content marketing – up from 31% last year). Content marketing isn’t a one-and-done type of expense. Investments are just that…investments. We invest in capital expenditures for our business, the products that we sell, our employees’ education…out content is an equally valuable asset to our businesses and we need to commit to investing in it. It’s not something on which you spend money once and let it set for a few years before you revisit it. That’s what printers and copiers are for. Strategic assets require ongoing investment and monitoring. Content is that strategic asset.

Growing maturity
With these four key components of success in mind, the most successful B2B enterprise marketers are also the most mature. Among those who reported being the most effective:

  • 82% were in the sophisticated/mature phase
  • 14% were in the adolescent phase
  • 4% were in the young/first steps phase

B2B Enterprise Content Marketing Maturity Levels

Download the full report here. How do these trends compare with what you’re seeing in your world?

2016_B2B Enterprise Content Marketing Report

Photo credit: Flickr user Jessica Paterson

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.