New Research Shows the Sleeping Giant Awakes – Content Marketing

Content Marketing Institute Releases New Report on B2B Content Marketing in North America

B2B brands are waking up to the power of content marketing due, in part, to the pandemic. That’s a key finding in Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) just released 12th Annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends: Insights for 2022 report. The annual report, which looks back at the last 12 months and includes expectations for 2022, is produced by CMI along with our friends at MarketingProfs, and sponsored by ON24.

According to the research responses, without in-person events and face-to-face selling, many who had previously paid little attention to content marketing suddenly became aware of its power. More content marketers got a seat at the table and helped keep many businesses on their audiences’ radar. Some discovered new audiences altogether.

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Other Key Highlights:

  • Content marketing budgets grew — and are expected to continue to grow. Forty-three percent of respondents who are familiar with their company’s content marketing budget said their 2021 budget increased over 2020. Furthermore, 66% expected their 2022 content marketing budget to increase over their 2021 budget.
  • Investment in events is expected to increase in 2022. Fifty-two percent said they expected to increase investment in in-person events, 39% in hybrid events, and 33% in digital events.
  • Creating content that appeals to multi-level roles replaced internal communication as the top content marketing challenge. While communication is still a challenge (38%), creating content that appeals to multi-level roles within the target audience (44%) and accessing subject matter experts to create content (42%) are now the top two challenges.
  • Changes to SEO/search algorithms and data management/analytics are top-of-mind issues in 2021/2022. Concerns about algorithms (62%) are nothing new — they’ve been a top area of importance in our past annual studies as well. This year, data management/analytics (50%) came in as the second top area.
  • In addition to spending more on events, marketers expect more investment in videos, owned-media assets, and paid media in 2022. We asked respondents which areas of content marketing they expect their organizations to invest in during 2022. The top four answers were videos (69%), events (61%), owned-media assets (57%), and paid media (55%).

“To say content marketers experienced unique changes and challenges over the last two years is an understatement,” shares Stephanie Stahl, general manager, Content Marketing Institute. “But our research confirms what many of us already know, that content marketers are some of the fiercest business pros around. In the most difficult of times, they got the job done and came through more creatively and stronger than before. Bravo.”

“Now that content marketers have a seat at the table, they need to make the most of it by continuing to listen to their audiences and create content that is truly needed and meaningful to them,” shares Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs, and author of Everybody Writes. “It’s been harder than ever to capture attention. Content marketers should consider focusing on empathetic, helpful, thoughtful content rather than selling.”

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