B2B content marketing challenges: where is the value?

Laura Ramos - Forrester
Laura Ramos – Forrester

Forrester has been working on a content marketing maturity assessment model and recently announced the results (read more about the value of content marketing maturity models), along with some findings regarding B2B content marketing.

We’ll start with those first. In a blog post, Laura Ramos writes that most B2B marketers are not as mature as they think. 52% of respondents are in what Forrester calls ‘the Aspiring Editors’ stage. I quote: “the early stages of assembling a content strategy and executing against it”.

There seems to be a disconnect between the content marketing levels B2B marketers believe to have reached and the actual maturity stages they’re in. 51% of respondents believe their practices are very mature but, as Laura writes, that bar is not very high: 85% can’t connect connect activity to business value, for instance.

What is content marketing anyway?

But there is more beneath these and similar findings – and it has a lot to do with a lack of a customer-centric content marketing view.

First of all, to me it is clear that, although virtually everyone now uses the term content marketing (including many B2B marketers), few really know what it truly means. I notice it every single day. Definitions indeed matter. What matters even more, is having a full picture of content marketing, from all – connected and integrated – perspectives.

This is also probably due to the avalanche of content…about content marketing whereby just one part of the total picture is highlighted, a focus on tactics and – as is often shown in articles lately – statements about overall marketing thought leaders that clearly miss the point because of one or more of the just mentioned reasons.

B2B marketers in the Forrester content marketing maturity model context - via Laura Ramos
B2B marketers in the Forrester content marketing maturity model context – via Laura Ramos

What does the customer want? We don’t really seem to care

Furthermore, the results of the report also highlight several phenomena, showing overall (B2B) marketing challenges we know since a long time:

  • A focus on “WeWe” content and lack of focus on and understanding of what buyers want and what makes audiences act/tick.
  • The dominant position of campaigns, instead of continuous interaction and value creation, including campaigns.
  • Failing to understand what makes customers succeed (or to wonder at all) and, instead, continuing to focus on channels, whereby content is just used to fill those channels.
  • Short-terminism, quick wins and creating deals without building relationships.

Just a few examples from Laura’s blog post:

  • 72% of surveyed B2B marketers say less than half of their staff plays a primarily role in content marketing. Result: products and features content reigns. No wonder 87% struggles to produce engaging content.
  • 62% produce content on a campaign-by-campaign basis.

Well, the list goes on. You can read more – and some ideas of what to do – in Laura’s blog post.

Content marketing assessment

In a previous post, announcing the Forrester content marketing maturity model – or rather assessment – Laura summed up five dimensions to investigate whether your content marketing is working or not.

In a few words: audience value, customer-centricity, planning, customer life cycle, measuring, optimizing, value, value and value. Check it out.

More about the Forrester content marketing maturity assessment.