Corporate Blogging is Dead, Long live Content Marketing! – 2013 survey results

book-new-largeI am not certain that Google will maintain Google alerts for very much longer. It seems, to put it in Forbes’s words, that it is broken. There is another cool innovation from the olden times which is still working though, I mean Google web trends. I still find it very interesting to see how things evolved through the use, or disuse, of certain keywords in the Google search engine. Lately, I went back to Google in order to check what was happening to corporate blogs. The only thing I was able to find out, was a 2005 report on corporate blogging. Does that mean that corporate blogging is over? Not at all! It is now part of a much broader subject, named content marketing. In essence, content marketing is bit different from just corporate blogging and it is a much better term. The replies of the interest for content marketing over the past few months is showing that something is happening in the web world again. Maybe it is a sign that companies are now more interested in what they get from the content which they produce rather than just spend time producing it. Let us review the 2013 content marketing survey report which gives us some interesting insight into the use of content marketing in 2013 (courtesy http://www.imninc.com/).

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Interest for corporate blogs has clearly shifted from blogs to content

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Key Survey Findings by IMN

  • Content marketing was a medium or high priority for 90%
    of respondents …”  however, one may point out  that comparisons with the 2012 survey my IMN (the first in the series) is showing that the realisation that content marketing is important is fairly recent, even in the US,
  • “31% of respondents have had a content strategy in place for more than a
    year, with 18% stating they put one in place within the last year and 33%
    working on implementing a strategy” … as stated above, all these content marketing programs are still fairly recent and there is still room for improvement,
  • “67% of respondents use a newsletter to distribute content to their
    customers and prospects” …  this is namely true with regard to newsletters for which a great number of users are sending  them once a year therefore showing little or no understanding of how the medium is used,
  • “78% of respondents curate content; 48% having run into permissions /
    attribution issues during the process” … But 15% of respondents are worried that they could use copyrighted content on their own resources,
  • 44% of respondents cited lead generation as the most important goal of
    content marketing programs; an increase from 16% last year.

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Awareness is widespread now. Content marketers are no longer regarded as zombies… well… I have a few recent counter examples but they are not American.

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Increasing leads is clearly what makes corporations tick. Yet, my personal experience in that area shows that few are able to go beyond buzz words and stick to their guns. Lead generation is a difficult trade, it requires a lot of fine tuning, and stamina. A trial and error mentality must be adopted; typically something that large companies have trouble coping with … long term thinking!

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Blogs are still here in that picture but they are not alone and part of an ecosystem. This makes perfect sense. An overarching strategy for marketing content must be adopted vs. piecemeal technical approaches which lead nowhere. Yet, if your blog is lousy, you are bound to go nowhere at all. The fundamentals must be remembered.

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Success is shifting away from readership to leads. Well… in the States maybe, in Europe, we still have a long way to go!

Download the 2005 blogger survey

Content marketing in UK and Europe: mind the Gap!

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There has been questions in certain European countries with regard to how widespread the adoption of contact marketing on the continent could have been (cf. this piece on my French blog, translated into English by the Google robot). Although undeniable progress has been made in the past few years over here in that respect, and though we may even consider content marketing to be a staple of marketing and especially B2B marketing, it is debatable that the adoption of content marketing in certain European countries is ubiquitous and fully understood.

Considering that, in France for instance, 70% of small businesses websites are never updated (source: Marketing PME’s Serge Henri Saint Michel), we can surmise that there is definitely room for improvement.

I found the following survey from the content marketing Institute which shows the huge gap between what we witness in Europe and what is happening in the United Kingdom. The vast majority of UK B2B companies, either large or small, have all embraced content marketing (95% of the B2B companies having responded to the survey have, even though the sample is very small but varied).

Mind the Gap!

Let us make that point clear: the sample is very small, and we have to remain cautious; but at least one feels that there is a major trend and one more European divide in the making. Whereas, on the continent, I am still battling with certain people about the fact that white papers, for instance, are useful devices (I still hear stuff like “White papers serve no purpose!”), in the United Kingdom, this kind of tactics has been embraced fully and totally incorporated within marketing thinking.

Besides, it is only subcontracted by 55% of the sample. There is one more caveat beyond the size of that survey sample though, and it’s that most interviewees are not always satisfied with the results: approximately half of them rate the results of content marketing as average. One assumption would be that competition on content marketing is very harsh in Britain, and the English-speaking world in general, and that doing things differently in English is a lot more exacting than with other, less represented languages on the Internet.

Obviously, in order to stand out from the crowd, A lot of thinking has to be put into your content beforehand . There is a paradox that the areas where people think that whitepapers aren’t any good, are in fact those where it is a lot easier to produce and promote them than it is in Britain, where adoption is broad but competition is fierce. I can predict that a lot will happen in the B2B arena in the near future, at least on the continental side of the Channel.

How are companies marketing online?

The evolution under way in digital marketing reflects fundamental shifts in consumer behaviour. Leveraging the digital universe now requires marketers to look beyond traditional tactics. As the Internet gains influence and online techniques take on a larger role in strategies, digital marketing may well be the next frontier for consumer engagement and marketing effectiveness.

Although there are many online tactics available to supercharge your digital marketing plan, not all of them deliver the same effectiveness or even are appropriate. It is obviously highly depending on the target audience you are trying to reach and develop relationship with, the products and services you are promoting as well as the marketing objectives you are trying to achieve.

A McKinsey Global Survey of marketing executives from around the world entitled “How companies are marketing online” offers some solid insights into the future of digital marketing together with an excellent synopsis of Web 2.0 and online tools effectiveness as well as how they are increasingly being used to develop customer engagement … Readmore

SaaS predictions for 2008 and beyond

Now that 2008 has arrived, along with the New Year’s resolutions and the ever-present pundit predictions, I thought it was the perfect timing to dive into what Saugatuck Technology just reported as being their Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) predictions, highlighting five key trends for 2008 and beyond:

icon_bullet_11x11.gif SaaS platforms and marketplaces will begin to proliferate, becoming a significant channel opportunity for vendors, as well as a key means by which users will gain access to SaaS solution capabilities.

icon_bullet_11x11.gif SaaS is becoming an international phenomenon, driven by both local demand as well as large multi-nationals who are adopting SaaS business solutions on a global basis. While US SaaS adoption is clearly going “mainstream”, Europe and Asia are only now beginning to experience the steep adoption ramp that the US has witnessed over the past two years. Whereas average US market growth rates will likely slow into the 35-40 percent range in 2008, European market growth rates should exceed 60-70 percent next year.

icon_bullet_11x11.gif SaaS merger & acquisition activity will explode. No doubt a serious feeding frenzy is about to unfold and it could be anticipated that a large number of venture-backed start-ups and emerging SaaS companies would be acquired by either SaaS pure-plays, ISVs hungry to enter the SaaS fray or on-shore & off-shore IT services and BPO providers who are eager to leverage a SaaS model.

icon_bullet_11x11.gif Traditional on-premise application ISVs will earnestly begin to fight back. Approximately 15-20 percent of ISVs have already either begun new initiatives or gained access to SaaS assets and development experience through M&A activity. However, over the next 12-24 months, this number is anticipated to rise dramatically, as a tougher economic climate will only exacerbate an already challenged on-premise and traditional perpetual license model.

icon_bullet_11x11.gif SaaS development platforms will evolve and 2008 will see explosive growth in the adoption and use of SaaS-based software development platforms and services. Wide availability of open, standardised tools and technologies in subscription-based, on-demand environments will help streamline and reduce the costs of software development and customisation.

Other key insights and Strategic Planning Positions provided by Saugatuck include the following predictions …

Which consumer 2.0 are you?

Almost every demographic group is engrossed in the Web, even if with different levels of participation depending on their profile. Whether they can be considered as creators, critics, collectors, joiners or just spectators, users are getting smarter about the Web 2.0 tools.

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Many companies approach Web 2.0 as a list of technologies to be deployed as needed to achieve a marketing goal. But a more coherent approach is required. Social strategy indeed starts with an understanding of your target audience’s Social Technographics profile. It is then a matter of mapping out how users will participate and how relationships with your target audience will change over time in order to implement technologies accordingly. You will also need to make sure that your organisation is prepared for greater levels of participation and engagement.

It’s time to shift your focus and home in on your customers! Discover how …

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