The Content Marketing Institute recently released their B2B Content Marketing 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends study. It’s full of great information that business-to-business marketers will find helpful.

Here are five insights from the report that B2B marketers in the financial and professional services should know about and act on right away.

1. Only 24 percent of firms have a centralized content marketing group that serves the whole organization. Fifty-five percent rely on a single content marketer or small team. If your company has limited marketing resources, it's important to find trusted content suppliers, social media professionals and digital marketing partners you can count on. Do careful research to make sure you work with agencies experienced in each discipline that understand the finer points of the financial and professional services industries.

Remember: Content marketing is more open and transparent than other promotional disciplines. Make sure the firms you partner with understand your industry’s legal and compliance issues. Inexperienced vendors can put your business at risk.

2. Fifty nine percent of firms surveyed by the Content Marketing Institute do not know — or are not sure — what content marketing success looks like. If you haven't defined success for your firm, spend some time doing so immediately. Work together with key stakeholders to come-up with clear goals. Having defined goals is the only way to develop an efficient content marketing program aligned with them.

3. According to the Content Marketing Institute survey, the two most important factors contributing to content marketing program success are the development of higher quality content (85 percent) and improved strategies (72 percent). Tied for third (at 53 percent) are making content marketing a higher priority and committing more money to it. If you have finite resources available to run your content marketing program, focus on building sound strategies and carefully promoting a limited amount of the highest quality content.

Tip: It may seem counterintuitive, but working with experienced professionals to help you develop your strategies, content and promotion plan will pay off in the long run because it will eliminate costly errors and waste. 

4. Time is NOT on the side of content marketers. The study reports that the top factor limiting or preventing content marketing success is not having an adequate amount of time to devote to it. Many content marketers also say that leadership does not give them enough time to generate positive results. The best way to manage this time pressure is to “pick your battles.” Develop tight strategies fully aligned with achieving your firm’s marketing goals and only take-on initiatives that will generate demonstrable results in a reasonable amount of time.

5. Only six percent of B2B content marketers describe their programs as “sophisticated” and 22 percent call theirs “mature.” That means that almost three-quarters of marketing professionals could use a significant amount of help and support in taking their programs to the next level. If you're not sure how how to up your content marketing game, an experienced agency can provide a fresh perspective. 

Carpenter Group has been developing content marketing strategies and deliverables that get results for financial and professional services companies for more than 35 years. Check out our perspective on this complex and ever-changing discipline.