B2B Marketing Strategy Content

B2B marketers still grappling with content as a strategic, business asset


By Laurie Fullerton, Freelance Writer

July 18, 2017 | 3 min read

Content still reigns as king among B2B and B2C marketers, but as a strategic, long term business asset, marketers are challenged with forming a clear corporate vision for it.

A recent report by the Content Marketing Institute polled 411 B2B and B2C marketers, and found that content marketers are less adept at using, analyzing, forming a strategy around it, and tying it back to business goals. The central finding of the report suggests that 92% of marketers view content as a business asset, but fewer than half (46%) have a documented strategy for managing content as a business asset.

It's not as if content marketers lack any sort of formal content management structures in place, the report notes. According to the CMI survey, most of the them have style and brand guidelines (70%) including content teams (60%), formal workflow process for planning, creating and delivering content (53%) customer personas (51%), content performance analytics (50%), and customer journey maps (33%) and structured content (32%).

Additionally, they have tools to help publish and analyze content performance. About three-quarters of respondents use email marketing technology and another 57% place their content marketing programs through content management systems.

Marketers are struggling to create content that performs

Marketers still have a “blind spot” when it comes to the buyer’s journey,” said Jeff Ernst from Forrester in the report. “You need to recognize that the B2B buying process is not one big decision; it is a series of micro-decisions. And the company that wins the business is the company that is there to answer those questions and provide fresh insights that influence how the buyers think about the problems so that the buyers can confidently advance their journey.”

Nearly 70% of respondents said they have scalability systems in place but they involve a lot of manual work. Another 22% said they do things ad-hoc. Only 9% said they have developed a completely systematic approach to producing, managing and distributing content.

They also use content collaboration/workflow software (44 percent), marketing automation software (42%), digital asset management/file storage (26%) and content optimization software (18%). Only 2 per cent mentioned artificial intelligence.

Almost half of CMI's respondents felt their organizations have the right tools but don't use them properly, and another 37% said they don't have the right tools at all.

"Most marketers are spending the majority of time creating and publishing content, but they aren’t managing that content throughout its lifecycle," Michele Linn, vice president of content for the Content Marketing Institute, told CMSWire said.

"Managing content throughout its lifecycle includes the creation and distribution of content, but it also includes things such as having up-front processes to make content as re-usable as possible and considering what happens to all of the content that exists long after it has been published and shared.

"The issue is that many marketers have to meet tight publication schedules or they have so many conflicting projects and priorities that it is tough to make time to think more about the upfront planning," Linn said, "and thus, create a documented strategy outlining how content will be managed throughout its lifecycle."

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