As more and more organisations turn to content-based marketing like website blogs, social media and video, the key issue for marketers is writing, sourcing or creating good quality content.
This post reviews a recent study produced by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and international marketing research agency, IEEE GlobalSpec. It looks at how manufacturers use content marketing, what channels they favour and how much is paid and non-paid or organic activity.
It also asks respondents about the size of the content marketing teams in manufacturing organisations. Many are very small, and lots are just one person working for an entire organisation, possibly across many brands.
Although the survey is based on US manufacturing organisations, I believe that it is fair to say that what happens across the Atlantic will happen here. If it’s not already a mirror on what’s happening.
I also think that, if you are a content marketer, you can take a couple of things from this study.
- That you can get a snapshot of the growth and sophistication of content marketing.
- That you can compare how your use of content marketing in the UK compares with your counterparts in America.
One significant difference might be budget, of course. As you will see later on, surveyed organisations are spending serious money, not tinkering around the edges. They are also getting better at measuring results and establishing return on investment.
I hope you enjoy this post.
Please email here if you would like a copy of the full survey.
Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends In 2020
In conjunction with the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), IEEE GlobalSpec, has recently published their latest detailed report showing how manufacturing manufacturers are developing their Content Marketing Strategies.
Content demands a strategic marketing approach that’s focused on creating and distributing valuable, consistent and relevant content designed to attract and retain clearly defined audiences, and to drive profitable customer action.
When the CMI first reported on manufacturing in 2014, they reported that manufacturers were later to adopt content marketing than other industries that had been studied.
It seems that they have certainly come a long way since then.
As you’ll find out when you read on, the 10th annual content marketing survey for 2020 shows that those companies surveyed have become more strategic with their content marketing. They are also struggling less with the challenge.
Is A Brief Summary Of The Findings
In this year’s survey, 41% of manufacturing marketers surveyed said that their organisation has a documented content marketing strategy (CMS). This is up from 21% in the 2019 report and indicates that there is now a stronger focus on developing a focussed CMS approach.
- 65% of manufacturing marketers say that their organisation is much more, or somewhat more, successful with content marketing than they were 12 months ago.
- 39% say that they in what the survey calls the ‘adolescent’ stage of content marketing, having seen some early success and are becoming more sophisticated with scaling and measurement.
- 26% said that they are still ‘young’, experiencing growing pains and struggling to measure and scale their content marketing.
- When asked to state the top 3 technologies their organisations use to assist their content marketing, 83% use analytics tools, i.e., web analytics; 82% use email marketing software, and another 82% use social media analytics. The figures drop reduce to 62% who said that they use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) analytics.
- Asked about how they manage and measure content marketing, almost half (48%) of respondents reported that they have a small or one person department handing this activity for the entire organisation.
- 64% said that they outsource at least one content marketing activity, with content creation being the area they are most likely to outsource. (87%)
- Considering crafting content, just 40% said that they create content specifically relating to where their audiences are on the customer journey. However, on average, marketers create content for four separate audiences.
- The top two types of content manufacturing marketers create are social media platforms, (92%) and video (81%). 24 % create content for email marketing, 71% for blogs and 65% for in-person events.
The top performing response for each content marketing category are reported to be:
- Used for Brand Awareness Building: Social Media Content (36%)
- To Secure Leads: In-person events (24%)
- For Lead Nurturing: Email Marketing (31%)
- Developing Lead Conversion: In-person events (33%)
With regard to the performance of the various channels, for 89% of respondents, Social Media is the highest performing non paid (organic) channel. This is closely followed by the organisation’s website or blog (85%) and email marketing (82%).
Facebook (86%), LinkedIn (83%), YouTube (77%), Twitter (75%) and Instagram (43%) were reported to be the top non-paid social media platforms used by manufacturing marketers for content marketing.
93% of all respondents said that they used paid distribution channels for content marketing purposes. Of this group, 66% use paid social media and promted posts.
Traditional Media v Online
When it comes to traditional advertising, 57% of manufacturing marketers reported that they use traditional paid advertising, such as television, radio, print, digital advertising and billboards alongside their content marketing strategy.
It seems that, in the UK, with a few notable exceptions, trade press print advertising continues to struggle. However, when you visit the bookshops and newsagents, they are packed with print. Also, newspapers have shown green shoots in terms of circulation growth, as the publishers look for new ways to leverage their products and advertisers want to reach millions with press ads.
Yes, online spend in the UK in 2019 is almost on a par with television advertising, but content marketers face a continuous battle for stand out online. Which is why, as the section below explains, those striving for quality are growing year on year.
Where Is Content Marketing Headed?
It appears that in 2020 manufacturing manufacturers want to prioritise the following:
Content quality: 56%
Improve content distribution/production: 52%
Improve content measurement: 44%
Generally, manufacturing marketers want to improve and build the quality of their content marketing output.
What marketers do not seem to be doing is hosting speaking events, developing media/influencer relations and placing articles in third party organisations.
Smaller manufacturers who have smaller marketing departments, or just the one person doing many content marketing tasks over many brands, will struggle to capitalise on all the opportunities content marketing can bring.
Content Marketing Budgets
When content marketing budgets were considered, 30% of respondents reported that they spent less than $100,000 in 2019.
13% were unsure on what their organisation spent on content marketing and 16% said that they had no budget.
43% of respondents expected to increase their budgets in 2020, while 38% expected them to remain the same.
Which is why you should waste no time getting your content marketing strategy in order and take control of your market share in 2020. The alternative is to do nothing and get left behind.
The Challenges Manufacturing Content Marketers Face
Finally, the report lists the key challenges manufacturing content marketers face.
Manufacturing marketers cite their top unique challenges as overcoming the traditional marketing and sales mindset (55%) and creating content that appeals to multi-level roles within their target audiences (53%).
Far fewer feel challenged with communicating complex content than last year (36% vs. 60%)
- Overcoming traditional marketing and sales mindset: 55% (50%)
- Creating content that appeals to multi-level roles within the target audience(s): 53% (68%)
- Diﬀerentiating products/services from the competition: 48% (-)
- Accommodating for a long decision-making process: 41% (48%)
- Accessing subject matter experts in order to create specialised content: 40% (50%)
- Extensively educating the target audience(s): 38% (37%)
- Communicating complex content: 36% (60%)
- Diﬀiculty in reaching target audience(s): 36% (43%)
- Making it through multiple levels of purchasing decision-makers: 32% (41%)
(Figures in brackets are from the 2019 report.)
How Can We Help You Too?
AdPlace Marketing and Media helps smaller UK manufacturers to create, place, manage and measure content marketing.
As the survey shows, content marketing is an increasing and integral part of the overall marketing mix, not the cheap, quick fix route to market that many hoped it would be a few years ago.
As the survey points out, quality content is important. This is where we can provide you with content creation, video production and management of your social media and content marketing channels.
Working as a strategic partner, either with a small marketing office or a business that doesn’t have a marketing department we know that we can soon become an integral part of your content marketing team.
Why try to do everything yourself? If you need a bit of help, with anything from copywriting, to social media to printed content and PR, give us a call on 01246 431572 now.
We will be very happy to talk through your present activity and resources in a phone call and provide a no obligation report following our chat.
Working together, I’m sure that we can lighten your load and increase your traction in the online content environment.
We hope to talk to you soon.
Email here for a copy of the full survey.