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Does your technology marketing include a commitment to content? If not, an industry study shows you could be falling behind your competition.

The recently released 2017 Technology Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends report shows that tech firms are driving business results with their content marketing programs and that they're even faring better than B2B marketers in other industries. For example, 69% of technology marketers say their organization is “extremely committed” or “very committed” to content marketing, while only 63% of marketers overall report that level of engagement, according to the 2017 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends.

There is one area where everyone could use some help, though – creating a documented content strategy. More on that a little later.

For now, take a look at the areas where B2B technology marketers are outperforming the general marketing population.

Our Organization’s
Content Marketing
Compared to a Year Ago…

B2B Technology Marketers

B2B Marketers
(All Industries)

Extremely / very committed to content marketing

69%

63%

Much more / somewhat more successful with content marketing

64%

62%

Content marketing phase is sophisticated / mature

31%

28%

Measures content marketing ROI

76%

72%

Always / frequently delivers content consistently

62%

58%

Improvements in content creation (higher quality, more efficient) have contributed
to our success

92%

85%

Content marketing is an
important component of our marketing program

92%

88%

Has a documented
content strategy

42%

37%

Content marketing strategy is somewhat more / much
more effective

76%

70%

Uses analytics tools

83%

79%

Uses marketing
automation software

74%

51%

Uses an editorial calendar

68%

62%

Produces blogs

91%

80%

Produces social media content

89%

83%

Produces eBooks / white papers

81%

65%

Uses email to
distribute content

98%

93%

Uses LinkedIn to
distribute content

92%

89%

Uses Twitter to
distribute content

84%

77%

Uses Facebook to
distribute content

80%

76%

Uses YouTube to
distribute content

74%

59%

Organization uses paid social media to promote content

91%

84%

Uses search engine marketing
to promote content

81%

67%

Will focus on lead generation
as a content marketing goal
in the next 12 months

88%

80%

Will focus on lead nurturing
as a content marketing goal
in the next 12 months

79%

66%

Agree that our organization can demonstrate how content marketing has increased our number of leads

77%

72%

Agree that our organization
can demonstrate how content marketing has increased audience engagement

79%

75%

Plans to increase its
content marketing spend

over the next 12 months

43%

39%


You can see that there is
nothing too flashy about technology marketers' approach to content – they're using email as their main mode of distributing content and LinkedIn as their primary content promotion channel.

They clearly use video, though. YouTube seems to be a more widely used distribution channel for technology marketers than it is for general B2B marketers – 74% of tech marketers use YouTube compared to just 59% of B2B marketers in general.

Tech marketers have also embraced blogs and white papers at a dramatically higher rate than B2B marketers overall.

Lead generation and lead nurturing are the top two goals of content marketing for technology marketers. Overall, B2B marketers also rank lead generation as their top goal but audience engagement and brand awareness rank as higher priorities than lead nurturing.

Finally, technology marketers are more likely to use – surprise! – technology in their content marketing efforts. They use analytics tools and marketing automation platforms at a higher rate than B2B marketers in general.

So why do tech marketers seem to be embracing content marketing more enthusiastically than B2B marketers in other industries?

Some initial thoughts:

  • Technology is a sophisticated sale. Most companies include several decision makers when considering a technology purchase – individuals from the Executive Team, Operations, Finance, IT and the specific business area where the technology will be used may participate in the process. Tech firms may be finding that it pays off to produce content that speaks to each type of buyer within the organization.  
  • The sales cycle can be long. With so many decision makers and influencers, it’s no wonder that the technology sales cycle can span several months or even a year or more. Nurturing leads with content that is appropriate to each stage of the buyer’s journey is an effective way to stay top of mind and move the process along. Since lead nurturing is a top goal reported by tech marketers, it seems they have figured out the power of content in the sales cycle.
  • Tech buyers consume a lot of content. Smart technology marketers understand the importance of producing content to educate and influence buyers when it comes to the features and benefits of their solutions, as well as their organization’s expertise. A recent Tech Target Media Consumption Report shows that 91% of tech buyers consume content in the early stage of the buying cycle, and 85% consume it during the middle stage. This may explain why tech marketers reported their commitment to blog articles, white papers and video content – all of which can help demonstrate expertise and inform buyers at critical stages.
  • Technology customers want to help themselves. Tech firms that make it easy to find answers and get support will have happier clients, according to several studies. One study, for example, showed that 67% of people prefer self-service over speaking to someone, while another revealed that 91% would use an online knowledge base if it were tailored to their needs. This fun infographic compiles the results. Clearly, creating the right type of content not only for prospects but for buyers can pay off.
  • Data drives technology… and content marketing. The engineers and IT folks behind tech solutions are known to love numbers, right? It makes sense, then, that with all of the data available to measure content marketing success – site traffic, conversion rate optimization, lead scores, etc. – that technology firms would be onboard. And it makes sense that they have committed at a higher rate to analytics tools and marketing automation platforms that provide key insights into the data driving their programs.

Tech firms have the edge in many areas of content marketing when compared with general B2B marketers, but it appears that all marketers could use some help documenting their content strategy.                

Creating a Documented Content Strategy: How to Start

It’s critical to not just DO content without an overarching purpose that drives decisions, budgets, topics, distribution, and promotion. And with the trends in content and optimization moving towards firms becoming owners of relevant topics geared toward their target personas, it’s more important than ever to set a strategic direction for your content.

While 83% of technology marketers surveyed say they have a content strategy, just 42% have documented it. While this is up 7% from last year, it’s not good enough. To help get you started if you have not taken the plunge in documenting your strategy, I’ll leave you with a simple core content strategy statement you can start exploring in your organization. 

Core Content Marketing Strategy Statement (Template)

And here is an example of one that is filled in:

Core Content Marketing Strategy Statement (Example)

Thinking about who your content is designed for and the goals you seek to achieve with it will help you gain clarity, commitment and consistency – the keys to success in content marketing. Whether your tech firm has embraced content marketing some time ago or you're just starting with it, creating a strategy statement will focus your efforts going forward.

Download Now: 8 Ways to Power Up Your B2B Technology Company Website

About the Author

Maureen Condon | PMG Principal
pmg
Maureen Condon, PMG Principal

Before Maureen Condon became one of the Principals of PMG in 2006, she was a writer and a business owner – which explains why she specializes in content marketing and strategy. Covering topics that will help businesses get real, measured results from marketing – success you can see in numbers – Maureen likes to back companies in their efforts to create a strategy, a compelling message, and programs that connect with prospects, clients and influencers in ways that drive sales. And she does so, with panache!

 Tags: Content Marketing Marketing for Technology & SaaS

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