April 17th 2014

Content marketing strategy survey

by Martin O'Toole

'Inbound Marketing', 'Permission Marketing', 'Content Marketing' - all mean different things to different folks with different perceptions. Since we create brands and brand content, we call it 'Content Marketing' and it is the epitome of marketing communications.

We're not a content marketing agency. In fact, we're not even an agency! Our role in the content marketing process is to have strategically crafted, big brand ideas that can then be rolled into a content strategy, both on and offsite. We provide the creative pearl that inspires, entertains, educates or convinces* consumers to give a shit about becoming involved with a brand in the first place - helping the brand gain permission to market to consumers. Though we're not a marketing agency, we could not do what we do without fully understanding the importance of content marketing, thus being able to clearly define where we fit in the rather murky landscape of digital marketing.

In a recent content marketing strategy survey carried out by the lovely folks at Hubspot and Smartinsights, 2,688 European marketers were asked to summarise how their businesses and marketing strategies were moulding with regards to the new way of marketing. The survey brought up some interesting results which were well worth a share and summarise (in the event you haven't got time to read the entire infographic).

The stats from Hubspot & Smartinsight's survey do indicate a 'change in the wind'. For instance:

  • 32.3% of the brands surveyed say they've integrated content marketing into their marketing communications or inbound strategies;
  • 40.3% of brands have increased their use of external resource in order to create branded content;
  • whilst 55.1% have increased their internal resource for the same.

All this said though, it's evident that UK brands still have a long way to go - with 36% of them being entirely inconsistent with their content marketing strategies and a whopping 56% currently do not have a defined content marketing strategy at all.

We know that brands are struggling to comprehend the value in content marketing and, more importantly, are trying to work out how to assimilate their traditional media mix with this new age of customer engagement. Simply put: if a brand knows that £1m media spend equates to XX amount of sales, but cannot confidently do the same maths with a content marketing strategy, then they are more likely to stick to what they know - i.e. maintain their traditional (paid media-focussed) strategy. This has been the case for some considerable time in the UK and we're still a long way off that changing - which is proven in the infographic below.

Even as brands begin to realise the importance of having a content marketing strategy, there is still the on-going issue with regards to the quality of said content. Remember that it's one thing to have a strategy and an armoury full of content; it's another to litter the internet with poorly considered shit (much like our blogs ;)). As brands attempt to take more content creation activity in-house (as seen in the stats below), it'll be interesting to see just how much of it actually hits the mark with the intended audiences.


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*Smartinsights' Four Pillars of Content