According to a new report, 85% of healthcare B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy, but only 4% believe their programs are extremely effective.

Over half (58%) of the respondents in the 2016 HIMSS Media Content Marketing Survey indicated that their top priority was lead generation.

However 41% stated that content production is a big challenge and 26% said they struggle to produce engaging content.

Another 22% revealed that they are challenged to measure the effectiveness of their content marketing efforts.

Despite these impediments, well over three-quarters of B2B healthcare marketers (89%) intend to produce the same amount or more content this year.

Content marketing as a long game

By planning to increase content production when the vast majority don't believe their content marketing efforts are highly effective, B2B healthcare marketers are potentially setting themselves up for failure.

As Chris Sheen, head of marketing at SaleCycle, detailed, 80% of his company's B2B content marketing failed until it decided to "focus less on the number of blogs we’re posting and more on the impact of those blogs themselves."

The apparent lack of efficacy achieved by B2B healthcare marketers might be a result of unrealistic expectations and a misunderstanding of where content marketing fits into the overall marketing mix.

While the majority of the marketers who responded to the HIMSS Media survey are focused on lead generation, just 17% and 15% are prioritizing thought leadership and brand awareness, respectively.

Even fewer (7%) have prioritized lead nuturing.

But lead generation, particularly in B2B markets, is rarely a quick process that results from interaction with a single piece of content.

Instead, lead generation is more likely to occur after repeated interactions with content that establishes expertise and brand awareness. 

As CIO.com's Paddy Padmanabhan points out

The HIMSS survey clearly points to a chasm that exists today between content marketing goals and the effectiveness of content marketing programs.

Unfortunately, launching a content marketing program this quarter is not going to help meet your quotas for this quarter.

That's especially true for B2B healthcare marketers, many of whom face more complicated, longer sales cycles, making their challenges with consistent and compelling content creation all the more problematic.

Fortunately, it's possible for content marketers in "boring" industries to create compelling content, and the common content marketing mistakes that kill efficacy are avoidable even in difficult markets.

So B2B healthcare marketers that are realistic about their programs do have the potential to achieve their goals.

Patricio Robles

Published 10 August, 2016 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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