Here are the key takeaways
How do the industry and stakeholders describe content marketing?
We found large differences in how different stakeholders within the industry describe and deal with content marketing. The divide between the media industry and media agencies especially stands out. They describe content marketing as disguised advertising and paid journalism These are also the most sceptical of the future of this marketing discipline. According to most other types of agencies, especially in the advertising and production communities, content marketing is story telling with a high degree of digital impact. On the other hand the companies themselves consider content marketing as making relevant content available to the users , on the companies’ own platforms.
Based on the results from this study we have defined content marketing as “a marketing discipline with focus on useful and valuable content and services on the target groups’ terms”.
Which strategic goals are companies working towards, and how are they measured?
The study shows that there are primarily four strategic goals related to content marketing;
- Building knowledge about a company or a product
- Leads and generation of sales
- Customer relations and loyalty
Furthermore, the study separates the brand publicists into three schools based on how they describe content marketing, what their goals are, what they measure, and their faith in the future of content marketing as a discipline.
This breakdown is based on a selection that is too small to be statistically representative of everyone who uses content marketing. Nevertheless, it can serve as a good starting point for qualitative and quantitative validation in the future. Even though most respondents stated that they measure effect, we have not elaborated on how they do this beyond metrics like visits and behaviour on the website, lead generation, and engagement in digital channels.
What are the characteristics of those who achieve a positive and substantial effect from content marketing?
Contrary to last year’s study, where small companies with low marketing budgets showed the most characteristics of effective content marketing, this year’s study shows that the large companies are preparing themselves for major investments.
According to the analysis performed by TNS Gallup there are four factors that have a large impact on achieving the desired effect:
- Dedication (whether there is someone responsible for content marketing within the company)
- Relevance (spread and engagement and targeted distribution)
- Analysis (the ability to measure, learn and continuously adjust)
- Strategy (whether there is a strategy for working with the content)
We have also identified a number of resource-related factors that do not have an impact on perceived effect.
Which sectors within the marketing and communications industry are most effective in their use of content marketing?
The study shows that professionals who work with communication and digital media score highest on the four factors mentioned above for achieving effective content marketing. They score significantly higher than marketers on the most important success criteria.
Which media channels and distribution forms are most widely used?
Like last year, the company’s own channels (website, newsletters), Google and Facebook are the most important media channels. There is no substantial change from last year, although there was a slight increase in paid links in editorial space (sponsored content) in online newspapers and web services. Bloggers as a distribution channel are breathing down the collective necks of the traditional media.
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