In order to be successful at content marketing, you need executive buy-in. And what moves executives to take action? A compelling business case, complete with statistics that support your content marketing strategy and proposal.
While content marketing, as a concept, is generally understood these days, there are some high-level, C-suite executives that might not fully understand the inner workings of it (e.g. how it differs from social media marketing), or how content marketing can directly help the company drive leads, boost revenue, and improve brand awareness and loyalty.
Whether you’re a would-be content marketer looking to launch a program, or a veteran content marketer in need of a bigger budget, use these content marketing statistics to create an airtight business case. You’ll get the buy-in that you need to run a content marketing program that drives the results your company wants to see.
The Initial Pitch: Why Content Marketing Is Necessary
If your executives are not yet true believers in content marketing, here are some jumping off statistics to open your business case:
Customers want content, not ads.
- Consumers can smell a sales pitch a mile away. You might think your advertising is resonating with audiences, but 71 percent of readers say they were turned off by content that seems like a sales pitch, according to the Economist Group’s “Missing the Mark” report.
- People don’t want constant email promotions. Adobe’s 2017 Consumer Email Survey found that 40 percent of respondents want emails from brands to be less promotional and more informative. How to make your emails less promotional? Fill them with content: blog posts, interactive content, infographics, excerpts from long-form content, photos, and more.
- Younger generations are anti-ads. A 2015 McCarthy Group study revealed that 84 percent of millennials don’t trust traditional ads. As for Gen Z, purchasing decisions aren’t influenced by ads, but rather by other forms of content; 1 in 5 young people say they are influenced by Snapchat, for example.
- Ad blocking is the norm. All generations, but especially millennials (67 percent of them) are installing ad blockers. As of 2017, 615 million devices have installed ad blocker technology.
- People want content from brands. According to Havas Group’s 2017 Meaningful Brands study, 84 percent of people expect brands to create content.
Ad safety is a major problem.
- With ads, you never know what site your ad will appear on or what content it’ll be next to. In a 2017 survey by Trusted Media Brands, 81 percent of marketers said that having a brand safe environment for advertising is a high priority, while 71 percent said it’s difficult to attain.
- Brand safety and ad fraud inspire new approaches. Research from Teads reveals that CMOs at large U.S. brands have drastically adapted their digital marketing strategy in the last year because of worry about brand safety, transparency, and ad fraud. That includes 30 percent boycotting or reducing spending on channels that can’t guarantee brand safety.
Ad spends often result in wasted money.
- There’s no guarantee that people will see or register your ads. Ninety-one percent of total ad spend is viewed for less than a second; as a result, $38 billion in digital ad spend was wasted in 2017.
The Proven Solution: Why and How Content Marketing Works
Content is a major part of the customer journey, allowing brands to be discovered, and then creating an always-on relationship. And, if you do it right, it can be a big ROI driver.
Content powers the customer journey.
- The customer journey begins with content. When you consider that 86 percent of buyers conduct non-branded search queries, as per research by GroupM, just think what it means for your brand if it’s your content that ranks high in search and answers their questions.
- Customers read before they buy. The average person consumes 11.4 pieces of content before making a purchasing decision, according to Forrester.
- Content breeds credibility. If you’re not producing content, you’re missing out on an opportunity – 95 percent of B2B buyers consider content as trustworthy when evaluating a company and its offerings, per DemandGen.
- Content helps shape the customer experience. That’s important since 75 percent of consumers expect a consistent experience wherever they engage: website, social media, mobile, in person. Content can feed all those channels and create a cohesive omnichannel experience.
- Users put their trust in content. Think about this: 85 percent of users ignore paid ads and focus on organic search results. Non-promotional content can rank well in search and build audience trust.
Content drives leads.
- Quality leads, too. Seventy-four percent of companies indicate content marketing is increasing their marketing teams’ lead quality and quantity.
Content powers sales.
- Content influences purchasing decisions. Wondering what has a significant impact on a B2B buying decision? Three-quarters of buyers said in a DemandGen survey that the content of the potential vendors had a “significant impact” on which one they chose. Additionally, 89 percent of respondents stated that winning vendors “provided content that made it easier to show ROI and/or build a business case for the purchase.”
- Startups rely heavily on content marketing. For brands trying to ramp up, 89 percent said they’re using content marketing and 66 percent of respondents reported that it was important for driving growth in their business, according to a survey by WP Curve.
Content builds brand awareness and loyalty.
- Content determines how people feel about your brand. Content strength accounts for 71 percent of how a brand performs on “improving personal well-being,” which determines how “meaningful” people feel it is. Meaningful brands outperformed other companies by 206 percent in the stock market between 2006 and 2016. And customers are willing to pay more for meaningful brands; according to Havas Group, “meaningfulness” in brand marketing can increase wallet share up to nine times.
Content marketing results in cost-savings.
- Content can drive steady traffic and conversions – without ongoing fees. Think about your monthly PPC spend. Let’s say your cost per click (CPC) is $10 for the search term “best credit cards for freelancers.” Each month, you spend $2,000 to drive 200 people to a page on your website, and four people fill out a form. However, say you commissioned an article for $1,000 about “The Best Credit Cards for Freelancers.” It soon ranks as the first search result and drives 2,000 monthly visitors to your site, and 40 convert. Whereas your PPC spend would be $24,000 a year to drive 2,400 clicks and 48 conversions, the article you spent $1,000 on would drive 24,000 people and 10 times the conversions – making it a much more cost-effective and sustainable investment. This is what’s known as the AdWords equivalency. (Bonus: A heavily optimized piece could actually rank for 10 of your bidded long-tail phrases, so one piece could be exponentially more efficient compared to PPC spend.)
Content marketing, as an industry, is growing.
- The U.S. is the world’s largest market for content marketing, exceeding $12 billion in 2016. Furthermore, content marketing revenues are projected to grow at a 14.4 percent compound annual growth rate from 2017 to 2021. Digital-only content marketing will replace hybrid print and digital content marketing as the largest platform in 2021, reaching $24 billion, according to PQ Media’s annual Global Content Marketing Forecast 2017.
Case Studies to Cite
Mine these articles for specific brand examples that align with the program you’re looking to run to further bolster your content marketing business case.
- Best Content Marketing Brands 2018: The NewsCred Top 50
- How Big Rock Content Drives Major ROI
- How SAP Hybris’ Content Marketing Drives Conversions, Leads + ROI
- How NewsCred Does Content Marketing
- How NewsCred Uses SEO to Improve Content Marketing
- Can a Successful Content Strategy Help Fix the U.K. Economy? Sage’s B2B Content Marketing Strategy
- How USAA Launched and Grew a Successful Podcast
- How Fearless Content Marketing Pays off for Reebok, Merriam-Webster + Shinesty
Additional Resources for Building a Business Case
- How Virgin Media Got Executive Buy-in for Content Marketing
- The Ultimate Guide to Building the Business Case For Content Marketing
There you have it: content marketing statistics to help you make your business case. Go to your management team armed with these points in a presentation and you’ll be one step closer to getting a bigger marketing budget and launching or revamping your content marketing program.
Dawn Papandrea is a NewsCred Contributor.