Today the Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs, and Brighcove released a new 2013 B2B content marketing report with updated benchmarks, budgets, and trends for North America. It sheds light on the budgets, content tactics, and social distribution channels that B2B marketers are using to build brand awareness, acquire customers, and generate leads.
But one of the things I found most interesting was this:
Out of the 1,416 respondents, 56% do all their content creation in-house. Even among large companies (1,000+ employees), 35% of them produce all their content in-house too. That’s telling, particularly in an industry (marketing) that is renown for its love of outside agencies, service providers, and freelancers.
Last year, only 38% of those surveyed did all their content in-house (in large companies, only 26%). As content marketing matures, the trend is to insource more content creation.
Coincidentally — or perhaps not — the biggest challenge for B2B content marketers last year was “producing the kind of content that engages.” This year, the biggest challenge is “producing enough content.” Now, I wouldn’t want to confuse correlation with causation, but one possible narrative is this: to create engaging content, you need to create it (mostly) yourself. And that takes quality time and effort, a trade-off to some degree in volume.
But clearly that effort is worth it, as 54% plan to increase their content marketing budgets in 2013.
My take on it: good content marketing is a part of customer experience. In many cases, it’s the first experience — the crucial first impression — that a prospective customer has with a business. And customer experience, in all its various contexts and stages, is hard to outsource effectively. To be remarkable and powerful, it has to be authentic; and to be authentic, it must be inherently driven by the company itself.
No doubt, the new set of capabilities demanded of modern marketing — content marketing, social media marketing, marketing technology and marketing operations — presents plenty of challenges for marketers to assimilate them into their organizations. But marketers are also recognizing that they’re an inseparable part of the holistic customer experience. And as this trend with content marketing suggests, marketers are up to the challenge.