• 2 Dirty Secrets About Content Marketing and Social Media

    by  • October 24, 2011 • Content Marketing, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Positioning and Messaging, Social Media Marketing • 2 Comments

    The recently published 2011 Demandbase B2B Website Demand Generation Survey Results highlighted these findings from its survey of 100 B2B marketing and IT professionals:

    • Corporate website ranks as the #1 online source of new leads for businesses, second overall only to personal referrals
    • The corporate website is not performing to its maximum lead generation potential, as reported by 80 percent of overall respondents
    • Businesses see the most room for improvement in tracking unidentified site visitors and generating new sales leads from the companies reviewing their website
    • The single most important performance indicator for website effectiveness is the quality of the leads generated
    • The major challenge in website analytics is not the data itself, but the ability to act on the data

    But what I found most interesting was what their data revealed but they didn’t highlight: 2 dirty secrets of content marketing.

    To highlight these conclusions, I converted Demandbase’s data into graphics.

    Dirty Secret 1: Social Media marketing isn’t succeeding for most B2B marketing companies

    Demandbase reported 90% of their respondents use content marketing and most of those (71% overall) use social media tactics, but only 22% rate the social media tactics as effective. Stated another way: half the companies relying on content marketing don’t find social media tactics as helpful.

    Does this surprise you? All of the case studies we see from marketing automation vendors makes is sound like anyone and everyone should be successful at social marketing. That’s why investors are on the case of every entrepreneur I meet to do better with social media.

    So what’s up? Are so many B2B marketers incompetent at this new-fangled toolset? I don’t believe so. As I wrote in Why Your B2B Social Media Marketing Results May Disappoint, the ecosystem around B2B marketing automation is radically different from that most B2B companies operate in.

    Dirty Secret 2: Successful content marketing requires you spend up to 4 – 5 times more on distribution than on content creation

    This chart shows how much companies pay for distribution as a multiple of what they spend on content creation by company size. So a company of less than 10 employees spending $5,000 on creating a whitepaper, is likely spending $7,500 on distribution. Companies with big budgets – companies with over 1,000 employees, are likely to spend close to 5 times as much on distribution as on content creation.

    This reinforces the point that relying too heavily on “free” social media marketing to help spread your content – if you’re not in the marketing automation space – is a dangerous gamble.

    Vendors may find it more profitable to pay TechTarget to promote content or MarketingProfs to air their webinar than hope their social media followers will effectively promote and pass on great content. I’ve seen great content promoted by people with 20,000 twitter followers get little notice.

    Key Take-away

    Free is always seductive but in the case of content marketing, paid seems to pay off better. You shouldn’t stop commenting on blogs or optimizing web content for prime keywords. All these things help improve your SEO ranking. But don’t lose sight of the goal to get the valuable content you invested in to spread beyond your current prospect contact list. Look for opportunities to spend a little more to get the word out.


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    B2B marketing is a little like kayaking in the everglades. You don't have signs to let you know the exact right route. Deep experience elsewhere doesn't always help in the current situation. Plotting your course by interpreting the moves of others can mislead you. You can spend a lot of time testing the wrong channels before you find the right one.

    I started this blog to share tips for how to achieve the insights that help you plot the right approach to attract more prospects and win more customers.

    For more on this story see http://bit.ly/qw0G9c

    2 Responses to 2 Dirty Secrets About Content Marketing and Social Media

    1. October 27, 2011 at 6:41 am

      Intriguing stats you’ve shown here, Kathryn. I think that there is still that gray line between social media marketing and conversion; numbers can lie. What fascinated me is the second part of your post, where distribution matters more than content creation. So, I guess, authority is King on the Social Web and authenticity is Queen. It only makes sense to distribute content on authority sites as you get to target the right audience, in the first place. Then, comes the issue of content creation and do you think that automation of content on social networks is a winning or a losing strategy? Thanks.

    2. Pingback: How Infographics Make Shoddy Research Look Deceptively Legit | B2B Technology Marketing Blog

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