Eighty-seven percent of business-to-business (B2B) marketers now spread their message through social media, according to a new report from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI).
CMI's 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends research report found that social media marketing outpaced company-written articles to become the most commonly used tactic for B2B marketers.
The report says that LinkedIn is the most popular social media platform for B2Bs with an 83 percent adoption rate. That percentage is up from a 71 percent rate last year. Facebook and Twitter came in second to LinkedIn with a tied adoption score of 80 percent.
In all, CMI says that B2Bs are using more marketing tactics than ever before. Tactics range from social media all the way to in-person events. According to the report, all tactics saw a rise in company adoption except print advertising, which stayed consistent from last year with a 31 percent adoption rate.
"We applaud [B2B] marketers for doing more and trying new tactics, although we must say we are pretty sure that throwing content at a customer is not the answer," CMI said in its report.
"But it's all part of the progress we are making as we evolve from marketing departments into what are starting to look like B2B publishing departments."
While social media has become a prime tactic for B2B content marketers, many B2Bs still wonder how effective the likes of Twitter and LinkedIn are. CMI reports that only 49 percent of B2B marketers think social media marketing is effective for their audience.
The marketers instead tended to lean toward the thinking that in-person events were the most effective way to spread their message. Sixty-four percent of B2B marketers said they thought in-person events were a very successful part of a marketing strategy.
Sixty percent of B2B marketers surveyed said they measure marketing effectiveness by web traffic statistics. Sales lead quality was another major barometer for effectiveness with 51 percent of marketers using it as a measuring stick.
Social media sharing is also becoming an important way to gauge marketing effectiveness. Forty-five percent of B2B marketers say they use social media-sharing statistics to find out if their marketing efforts were effective.
Another major trend in CMI's report was the growth of B2B content marketing budgets. CMI found that 33 percent of B2B marketing budgets were going to content marketing efforts. The mark represents an increase from last year's figure of 26 percent. B2B marketers surveyed also reported that they would be looking to expand their content marketing budgets next year.
With the increased budgets and new tactics being formed, B2B marketers say they are having a hard time creating enough content. Sixty-four percent of marketers surveyed said their biggest challenge is producing enough content for their marketing efforts.
Despite the increased demand for content, many B2B firms are dropping outsourced content creators from their budgets. According to CMI, 56 percent of B2Bs are creating content in-house only. The number marks a major increase from last year's statistic of only 38 percent in-house B2B marketers.
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James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club, CachedTech.com, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.
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