Today, the Content Marketing Institute, a company that teaches marketers about effective use of media channels among other things, released some results from a research report that they, themselves conducted. They have called it, “B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America,” and it covers most of the on-goings with the use of content marketing by B2B marketers. The report is very relevant of course, because a majority of B2B marketers in the world have adopted content marketing as one of their main tactics. With the help of this report, CMI hopes to help these marketers more effectively get results.

The report tells us right away that B2B content marketers have begun to expand their horizons, using 12 tactics on average. “Unlike last year, where articles reigned supreme, social media (excluding blogs) was reported to be the most popular content marketing tactic, with an adoption rate of 87 percent.” This is no surprise, as social media constantly proves that it is still growing, and will not be stopping anytime soon. However, even though they may no longer be on top, articles still came in a close second place with an adoption rate of 83%, and enewsletters were third with an adoption rate of 78%.

The types of tactics that B2B content marketers are using has not changed, aside from a few being added to the list. However, how much these B2B marketers are spending has changed since CMI’s last report.

On average, B2B marketers are spending 33 percent of their marketing budgets on content marketing, which is up from 26 percent last year. Moreover, the majority (54 percent) say they will increase their content marketing spending in the next 12 months.

As more and more B2B marketers accept content marketing as their most effective marketing method, spending is bound to increase as it has. However, a significant point made in the CMI report is that a growing number of B2B content marketers are starting to lose confidence in their content marketing efforts, wondering if their efforts will lead to any sort of success at all.  CMI set up a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 representing “Not At All Effective,” and 5 representing “Very Effective.” The largest percentage, 45 percent, of respondents rated their effectiveness at a 3. 15% rated the effectiveness of their organization’s use of content marketing at a 2, and 2% at a 1. Overall, that is 62% of B2B content marketers who are on the fence about their content marketing efforts.

Even though marketers are using more tactics, they are still unclear about how effective they are — a trend that is similar to what we saw last year.

Another chart that CMI provides shows us that 67% of B2B content marketers still consider in-person marketing events to be the most effective tactic, showing little confidence in content marketing tactics. It seems like irony to me; when the numbers show growth in content marketing, the B2B marketers show that they are continuing to lose confidence in their tactics all together.

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