According to the Econsultancy / Responsys Marketing Budgets 2014 report, content marketing is the area in which companies are most likely to be increasing investment in the coming year, with 74% of companies indicating that they will spend more on this in the future.

These stats were reiterated during the Content Marketing and Native Advertising roundtable hosted at the Econsultancy office this week.

The attendees came from a wide range of companies and roles within the industry, and I wanted to share the key takeaways with you, along with some interesting statistics I found during my prior research.

I’ll throw the stats out first to set the scene, as I always love a dramatic, yet informative entrance.

  • Most global companies engaged in content marketing produce their content in-house. [Source: Eloqua, February 2014].
  • 80% of global companies agree that ‘the role of content will continue to grow as push marketing becomes less effective’. [Source: Econsultancy / Adobe, January 2014].
  • 91% of UK companies will produce more content in 2014 than last year and 88% of companies plan to produce even more in 2015. [Source: MSLGROUP, May 2014].
  • 25% of UK companies have done a content audit. [Source: MSLGROUP, May 2014].
  • 36% of European marketers consider their content marketing activities to be inconsistent. [Source: HubSpot, January 2014]

Yet…

  • Half of content marketers in Europe plan to spend 20% or less of their overall marketing budgets on content in 2014. [Source: HubSpot, January 2014]

There were a lot of key points discussed during this roundtable, each of them with a connection to a stat above, in one way or another. Let's get down to business:

Thumbs up computer kid

Content can overlap between different parts of the business, but it doesn’t have to be negatively

Marketers are finding that many of the different departments in companies are spending their time creating and publishing content.

However, due to a lack of time or inclination to discuss what they are creating, much of what is being published overlaps, confusing the consumer.

There are ways to combat this, most creatively by having a good old fashioned ‘meeting’. Yes, one of those.

What was actually suggested was to have a ‘content board’ that has regular sessions to discuss who is covering what. That way, instead of covering 50 articles over the course of a month, people can work together to create five or six detailed topics.

Other ways suggested was to create a content calendar, either by using an app, Google Docs, or an excel sheet.

‘Too much content’ needs to be turned into ‘useful content’

A roundtable attendee mentioned the age old problem of having so much content on their site, that they simply just didn’t know how to repurpose it into digestible snippets.

This issue affects potential consumers as they try to consume the inconsumable.

To combat this, the company hired ‘non-marketers’ onto their marketing team to create marketable content. A mouthful, I know. But apparently it’s worked for them.

Native is considered ‘old school editorial’

While native advertising is considered one of the newest forms of online marketing, it is not necessarily a new concept. The relatively old-school advertorial has been around for decades, and it has seen a resurgence in the current content marketing era.

Seeing it in this light can have an impact on your business as marketers approach it differently. The new approach to advertorials has seen roundtable members not even realise they were being marketed to until the last paragraph.

You need to pay for good quality market data

While this point wouldn’t exactly be considered news to some, the roundtable attendees discussed how it’s often best to pay for the data available, which is often better quality.

‘Paying for it’ can occur in different forms, but one of the most popular was utilising call centre staff and the information they hold on the customer. These employees are at the very heart of the business and indeed quite often the main touch point.

Getting the ‘who’ right is half the battle

This can apply to everything in life, as well as in business. But in this context, it means figuring out who your customers are, employing the right people to deal with them, and using the right systems to help you through that process.

To finish, I’d like to leave you with a famous Henry Ford quote, which I think summed up the roundtable perfectly;

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Ornaith Killen

Published 15 September, 2014 by Ornaith Killen

Ornaith Killen is part of the Econsultancy research team.  Follow on Twitter @ornaithk.

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Comments (1)

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Sujay Maheshwari

Great writeup.

Loved the point - Focus on useful content than too much content. We at Netcurate.com share similar philosophy. Instead of building mindless content, try to add value to what's out there. Our platform helps marketers make a deeper engagement with the audience.

Thanks for sharing this article.

about 3 years ago

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