According to the latest report released by the US based Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, Lead Flow that Helps you Grow, only 12 per cent of marketers believe they have content marketing that strategically targets the right audiences with relevant and persuasive content.
The importance of content in marketing continues to grow 69 per cent of marketers are creating more content now than they did one year ago and 70 per cent of B2B marketers will be creating even more content this coming year. AOL and Nielsen estimate that there are over 27 million pieces of content being shared each day.
B2B marketers invest an estimated $16.6 billion annually on digital content publishing for the specific purpose of acquiring business leads and influencing customers and prospects. The report shows that B2B marketers spend an average of 28 per cent of their total marketing budgets on content marketing, and 55 per cent of marketers anticipated this figure would rise through the course of the year.
84 per cent of the respondents say their organisational goal for content marketing is brand awareness, with 83 per cent pointing to lead generation, 69 per cent looking to impact customer retention, and 52 per cent hoping to influence upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
According to the report however, most companies lack unanimity on what constitutes an actual sales lead. They are also not teaming effectively with sales and business development groups to create alignment on demand generation strategies, themes and advocacy agendas.
The report says that there could be a fundamental disconnect between content development strategies and what the intended results of demand-generating campaigns should be (high-quality leads). The definition of a high-quality lead, according to the marketers surveyed, is currently defined as a:
- Detailed request for contact initiated by the prospect, including specific details around what products, services or solutions the prospect is interested in (43 per cent)
- Prospect that is immediately positioned to purchase (36 per cent)
- Contact that has been previously vetted by an inside sales, telesales or outside third party (32 per cent)
- Relevant contact within a targeted industry, market or geography (31 per cent)
What is clear from this definition of a high-quality lead, says the report, is that an ongoing, sustained and intentional relationship is required to generate the level of depth, engagement and intent that is required. In fact, only 20 per cent of marketers believe that a high-quality lead is defined as a contact that is complete and accurate with only email and phone details.
What this highlights is a conflict between content development strategies that can be largely uniform and a specific organisations definition of a lead, that might well require specific personalised and intentional engagement.