B-to-b marketers will spend almost 30% of their total marketing budgets this year on custom content and custom publishing initiatives, according to a joint research study conducted by BtoB and content marketing company Junta42. The study was based on an online survey of 150 b-to-b marketers conducted during the last week of March.
On average, marketers will allocate 29.4% of their total marketing budget this year toward the creation and execution of custom content initiatives, the study found.
Also, 42.0% of marketers surveyed said they plan to increase their spending on custom content marketing activities this year.
Only 12.0% said they plan to decrease their custom content marketing spending, while 46.0% said they will leave their custom content budget unchanged.
Those findings are consistent with similar results from a study released in December by the Custom Publishing Council and Publications Management, which found that marketers will spend an average of 27% of their total marketing budget on custom publishing this year.
That study, which was based on an online survey of more than 200 marketers, found that 40% planned to increase their spending on custom publishing this year.
“More and more money is being spent on direct communications with customers and prospects versus a media channel,” said Joe Pulizzi, founder and chief content officer of Junta42, an online custom content resource for marketers and media companies. “Now marketers are learning that they can create their own content, whether it's white papers, e-mail or social media.”
According to the BtoB/Junta42 study, popular forms of custom content produced by b-to-b marketers are e-mail newsletters (cited as being used by 68.7% of respondents), white papers (50.0%), case studies (47.3%), custom events or road shows (38.7%), intranets (36.0%) and webcasts/webinars (30.7%).
Other types of custom content initiatives included employee newsletters (29.3%), blogs (28.0%), microsites (26.7%) and advertorials (22.0%).
“Whereas in the past, companies thought about their marketing strategy and how to get their brand message out, now a big part of the whole strategy has to be, "What is your content strategy?' “ Pulizzi said. “B-to-b marketers are realizing they have to be really involved in the dialogue with their customers.”
However, while b-to-b marketers plan to increase spending on custom content, nearly half of respondents said they are not willing to pay for an online service to help them find publishers or providers of custom content.
According to the survey, the most popular source for finding qualified content providers or publishers to produce custom-content projects is search engines (30.0%), followed by colleagues or friends (28.0%), internal resources (15.3%), industry magazines or Web sites (12.7%), ad agencies (10.7%) and consultants (3.3%).
Pulizzi said that in order to be successful at producing custom content, marketers must provide content to users that is relevant and compelling.
“It can't be just a product story,” he said. “You have to focus on information that will help them do their jobs better. Then you open up the possibility for them to buy your products and services.” M