Content marketing budgets will reportedly grow by 59% by 2017. And yet a resources and budget shortage is the primary challenge facing brands and marketers as the growing need for a more sophisticated breed of content marketing looms large.
A "new era of engagement" is what’s required, claims a report from PulsePoint, which compiled these latest findings from a survey of 500 brands, agencies, and publishers.
What these insights suggest is an industry at a moment of reckoning. 60% of agencies and brands view content marketing as "very significant" to their overall marketing strategy. However, a full 55% of the same set of respondents identified a lack of budget as the main barrier to delivering high quality content – highlighting a disconnect between aspiration and reality when it comes to what marketers say they want to do, and what they’re actually doing.
Why the disconnect? Let’s take a closer look at some of the barriers to content marketing success. Lack of budget/resources is the number one obstacle, according to those surveyed. But what’s interesting is that the second most selected answer is "difficulty measuring/valuing ROI".
What if those two things are directly connected?
Indeed, a whole section of the report focuses on the need to cultivate more meaningful engagement metrics, highlighting the high prevalence of marketers still clinging on to superficial metrics such as CTR and impressions, rather than exploring more meaningful engagement measurement that gets to the heart of the human-to-human value content adds – to both the reader, and the business.
Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next commented: "What metrics are being used? Things from 15 years ago: clicks and page views. What should be used? Time and attention."
In essence, many marketers are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy: by not measuring content efforts in a meaningful enough way, they fail to demonstrate true ROI; which begets a lack of resources. After all, why would senior management agree to increase investment in something that fails to prove its worth?
The report’s insights on automation tools suggest the way forward. When asked about the benefits that technology automation has to play in moving marketing forward, "more precise data-driven targeting" and "better measurement and optimisation techniques" were the top two answers by some distance.
Yes, greater investment is required – but not purely in monetary terms. Bill Evans, Chief Digital Officer at WPP Group, sums up: "The barrier is (actually) overcoming this idea that it’s harder or more expensive or that it takes more resources."
What needs to be invested in, more than anything else, is in-depth focus on understanding customers’ needs. Hence, the need for "data-driven targeting" and "more sophisticated optimisation techniques". To succeed, content marketing needs (beyond having money thrown at it) to be customer-centric.
Best-in-class content marketing will increasingly be powered by intelligent business software like censhare: enabling customer insights to be gained and automatically delivering content to any given channel, throughout the entire customer journey. Censhare enables brands to craft personalised customer experiences across multiple channels, and to take advantage of advanced analytics. To find out more, take a look at our content marketing solutions.