Content Marketing Research

Data Reveals 7 Surprising B2B Content Marketing Trends

What tactics and strategies are B2B content marketers using in 2016?

It’s 2016 — we don’t have to tell you content is important. For the last few years, you’ve been seeing compelling content marketing trends, like:

With content marketing trends like these, B2B marketers have been trying to capitalize on the opportunity with great inbound strategies. It’s 2016, how far have those strategies come?

Based on data from nearly 500 B2B marketers who took our content marketing assessment (you can still take the test – try it!), we found:


1. 6 Out of Every 10 Marketers Plan Their Content in Advance

Does your team plan your content in advance? We found that most content teams actually plan out content pieces throughout the year: 6 out of every 10 marketers now have a regular content calendar.

A basic tool for any content team is the editorial calendar. Planning out content in advance will not only help align cross-departmental goals, but also help focus the whole marketing team’s goals.

2. 39% of Marketers Repurpose Older Content

It’s an age-old question (at least in the last 5 years): is it better to create a new piece of content or recycle an older one?

Since it’s difficult to scale and create a large number of high-quality content, a well versed content marketer is able to recycle and repurpose their content into different formats. However, we find only 39% of marketers always or often recycle content into other formats.

How Often B2B Marketers Recycle Content


3. 3 out of 5 Marketers Target Their Content

When we take content marketing up a notch and think about targeted content, we find an even more surprising statistic: 3 out of 5 marketers are targeting their content to the audience.

Through a different combination of buyer personas and buyer’s journeys, marketers are becoming more focused in their content strategies.

How B2B Marketers Target Their Audience

One of the things we advocate at Conductor is to target your content to your audience. Here are some resources we’ve developed to help you with content mapping.


4. Content Marketers Prefer Blogs, Videos, and Whitepapers as Medium of Choice

When we look at the most popular types of content produced, we find that marketers favor informational resources. The top 3 content types produced are blogs, videos, and whitepapers. On the other end, spreadsheets, tools & templates, and ebooks are the least popular types of resources to create.

Types of Content B2B Marketers Use Most


5. 62% of Content Marketers Rate Themselves “Good” or “Excellent” in Technical SEO

So your marketing team creates content and hopes it resonates with your audience. But before people consume your content, you need to make sure they can actually find it. Without proper optimization, your content is basically a wasted opportunity.

This brings us to the question: how well are marketers actually following SEO best practices? We asked marketers about a combination of established technical SEO factors and found that over 60% of marketers are doing well in these aspects.

How B2B Marketers Perform in Technical SEO


6. The More Advanced the Technology, the More Effective the Content Marketing

There’s an old adage that’s never been more applicable to the marketing professional today: work smart, not hard. You only have so much time in a day so it’s up to you to choose steps that impact your content the most.

The best way to optimize time is to arm yourself with as much information as possible to help decision-making. Technology is the way to do that. With the bounty of data sources from so many technologies, it’s all at the tip of our hands and up to the individual to synthesize the insights.

When asked how advanced the technology was to track your content marketing efforts, we find the majority of marketers were still middle of the road in their tech, rating their technology a 6 out of 10, 10 being highly-advanced. Most marketers manually combined disparate tools, rather than one comprehensive tool, to pull insights.

When we dove deeper into the relationship between technology and effective content marketing, we found that those with technologies are the one who are ahead. They are equipped with the right technology and the most robust data to make effective choices and decisions.

The Relationship Between Technology and Data Use


7. 36% of Marketers Check Out Their Competition Frequently

A final pillar of data-based content marketing is to keep tabs on your competition. By monitoring your competitions activities, you can get a better sense of what to go after and maintain market share of business essential terms.

36% of marketers actually check on their competition monthly or more frequently. On the flip side, over a quarter of all marketers (26%) don’t report on the competitive activities at all.

How Often B2B Marketers Analyze Competition


How are content marketing teams still lagging behind?

It’s reassuring to see that with the growing interest in content marketing, the processes are becoming more structured and clearer guidelines are developing. SEO, the primary driver of content traffic, is also aligning with content at a rapid pace.

The problems seem to be in the use of marketing technology and the lack of targeted and personalized content. In today’s marketing landscape, it’s more and more important to understand your audience and discover what resonates with them. The way to do that is with technology to collect data and manage your content through that informed lens.

So far, we’ve been moving in that direction, but it can always be better. I’m excited to see where we will be in a few more years. Marketing moves in such a break-neck speed and we should too.

Want to compare against B2C marketers? See our B2C content marketing trends piece.

  • amanda

    Hey Billy,
    Great topic that needs to really be talked about more!

    I totally agree with this statement: “The problems seem to be in the use of marketing technology and the lack of targeted and personalized content…”. The company I work for is constantly looking at how to tweak our message to help people understand that your blog’s and social’s engagement data is the key to personalizing your content, and that the only way to do this is with intelligent marketing technology.

  • Nathan Safran

    Good stuff Billy!

    • Billy Lam

      Thanks for the kind words Nathan 🙂

  • Andrew Goldman

    Great article, Billy. I can definitely identify with what you pointed out – although we’ve been churning out terrific content over the past 9 months that has been commented on, shared, etc. by our target audience, I don’t think we’ve done a good enough job of defining accurate buyer personas and properly utilizing the technology available to us. In a strange way, it’s comforting to know that I’m not alone! With that said, these are things we will undoubtedly focus on during the second half of 2016 and beyond.

    • Billy Lam

      Great to hear your story Andrew! I think strong marketing needs two things: content that captures audience attention, but also the ability to get in front of the right people. When you have that perfect storm, that’s when marketing just works. The exciting thing is content seems to be heading in that strategic direction.


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