Remember when content marketing was “new?” It's not anymore. Content marketing has gone mainstream, even for sophisticated B2B marketers with complex sales processes.
According to the B2B Content Marketing 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America study, 89 percent of the B2B marketers surveyed use content marketing. The study reports that 88 percent of them say that content marketing is an important component of their organization’s marketing program.
As for the future, in a talk at the most recent Content Marketing World conference, Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, revealed that 63 percent of all B2B marketers are extremely or very committed to content marketing as a strategy. For those marketers who feel that they're doing content marketing well, more than 90 percent say they are extremely or very committed to it.
In addition, the B2B content marketing study reports that 70 percent of content marketers expect to produce more content in this year when compared to last. And almost 40 percent plan to increase their spending on content marketing over the next year.
Content marketing is becoming so “hot” that many B2B marketers in the financial and professional services industries are asking themselves: “What role should content marketing play in my overall marketing plan? Would it make more sense to turn more or all my marketing dollars over to content marketing?”
Based on Carpenter Group’s experience in these industries, our answer to those questions is: “It depends.”
Every firm and marketing initiative has individual sales goals, and marketing plans should be customized to achieve those goals. Plans should leverage all the marketing tactics necessary to reach them as efficiently and cost effectively as possible. This could include leveraging anything from higher-cost advertising to less costly content marketing solutions.
Advertising is an efficient way for companies to market products and services that are targeted to mass audiences (examples include credit cards, mortgages, auto and home insurance and tax services.) Content, distributed efficiently through email and social media, is an effective way to reach highly segmented audiences with highly individualized needs (think 529s, institutional investments or personalized financial planning and retirement advisory services.)
Many firms leverage these two strategies (and more) to optimize their marketing. One example is Progressive. The insurance company depends on a heavy rotation of television advertising featuring Flo, their fictional spokesperson, to build awareness of their brand. In addition, they bring Flo and their brand to life using content distributed through an active social media presence.
Another example is Prudential. It provides representatives with content to help them connect with consumers interested in personalized retirement planning, while using national advertising to build awareness of the brand and its retirement planning services to drive sales activity.
Need help figuring out how content marketing should fit into your overall marketing plan? Carpenter Group has developed content marketing strategies and all types of content for leading financial and professional services firms for more than 35 years (long before content was considered “cool”).