This week King Content launched the latest benchmark survey on content marketing practices in Australia. Produced annually by the Content Marketing Institute based in the US, the research explores content marketing adoption rates, trends, budgets and resourcing.
I must say that I eagerly anticipate this release every year. Having founded a content marketing agency in 2010 when the term ‘content marketing’ was still only drawing blank looks from Aussie CMOs, the annual research reflects the explosive growth of our industry and points to future trends.
As usual, the research this year both validated my expectations of the market and managed to surprised me.
The research found that content marketing is well-and-truly here to stay, with 93 per cent of for-profit Australian marketers (both B2B and B2C) using content marketing, 81 per cent stating that they are producing more content now than they were last year and 69 per cent planning to increase their content marketing budget over the next 12 months.
This would see the average marketing budget allocation for content marketing grow from its current 27 per cent well into 30 per cent in 2014.
This is great news but also comes with a word of warning: only 52 per cent of those surveyed have a documented content strategy.
So we’re seeing mass adoption of content marketing with the intent to produce more content than ever before and an increasing allocation of budget – but only one in two marketers have a documented plan which dictates what success looks like and how to measure it. Scary!
It’s this lack of content strategy that I believe accounts for the confidence gap in Australian marketers using content marketing that has seen just 33 per cent rate themselves as ‘effective’. It similarly explains marketers’ continuing struggles with lack of time (66%) and producing the kind of content that engages their target audience (41%).
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. The sector is most definitely growing and maturing. As a business we are seeing more content strategies being developed for our clients that not only encompass content marketing but also social media and amplification as well as a greater focus on the metrics that determine a successful content marketing strategy.
We’re also experiencing a little bit of a technological evolution in content marketing with a multitude of content technology platforms emerging to help brands determine where and how users are consuming content throughout the buyer cycle.
Remember, recent research conducted by Forrester has shown that consumers are on average two thirds of the way through their buying process before they contact a vendor. This means that buyers are consuming multiple pieces of content and accessing a load of user-generated reviews from social media networks before even speaking to a brand. Because of the increasing complexity of the online buyer journey, I expect technology to begin to play a greater role in these content strategies.
As for 2014, I think it will be the year that we stop talking about content marketing. It has become a given, it’s time to just get on and start doing it.