Takeaways From Content Marketing Institute's 2016 Benchmark Report

By Kat Liendgens — Thursday, December 10th, 2015 at 11:00am

Key Takeaways from 2016 Content Marketing Institute Report

Content Marketing Institute, which we consider one of the most prominent thought leaders in the content marketing world, recently released its 2016 B2C Report. As in previous years, the report highlights current trends and benchmarks and it provides in-depth insights into the challenges that content marketers are facing today.

Let’s take a look at the key findings.

Greater budget allocations for content marketing

One of the least surprising facts is the increase in budget allocations to content marketing. While in 2015, organizations allocated 25% of their total marketing budget to content marketing, the number will increase to 32% in 2016. Organizations who consider themselves most effective will allocate even more: 38%, compared to 29% in 2015. The overall increase may be due to a higher degree of confidence in the return on investment. In addition, 80% of all B2C, regardless of their organization’s size, mission, or current effectiveness, plan to generate more content in 2016 than in 2015. It’s evident that for most organizations content marketing has become a key component of the strategic plan.

More documentation

According to the 2015 report, only 27% of B2C content marketers had a documented content strategy in place. Needless to say, the ones that had formalized their strategy considered themselves to be exponentially more effective than the ones that had not. Based on CMI’s latest report, 37% of content marketers are now documenting their strategy. This rather significant increase could have a number of reasons. With a greater investment made in content marketing, both from a budget and from a time allocation standpoint, VPs and C-level executives need to be assured that initiatives and objectives are clearly defined and visible. While the report does not contain specifics with regard to which elements the documentation typically contains, one can assume that at a very minimum, it outlines the content marketing goals (and hopefully, how they align with the goals of the organization), initiatives and projects, their time lines, and resource allocations.

Better understanding of content effectiveness

In order to ensure that you’re on track to achieve your content marketing goals, you have to set benchmarks and define key performance indicators (KPIs). After all, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Understanding your content’s performance is also the second highest priority for content content marketers. But this is where B2C marketers generally struggle, just like in the year before. How do you measure content effectiveness? In fact, it is the second biggest challenge for marketers, with over 50% of respondents listing it. It is time for providers of CMSs and content marketing tools to add more functionality to their systems to allow marketers to better understand how well their content is performing. Metrics such as conversion rates are going to become increasingly important.

More internal communication

Perhaps the most unexpected finding in the 2016 report is the frequency with which marketers communicate. Nearly half the marketers who participated in the survey meet with their teams daily or weekly in order to discuss their content marketing efforts, and over half of those consider those meetings either “extremely” valuable or “very” valuable. It also deserves mentioning that 55% of the most effective marketers meet on a daily or weekly basis.

Make no mistake about it -  as organizations are investing more into their content marketing, the competition for web traffic and conversions will become even more fierce. As a result, it will be imperative for organizations to determine which elements of their content strategy are yielding the desired results. In order to make adjustments more quickly, the following things need to happen: 1. Not only do goals and objectives need to be defined as part of a content strategy, but specific metrics and benchmarks have to be identified in order to determine if you’re on track to achieve those goals. 2. Marketers need to have the right tools in place to track all of their efforts, and those tools have to provide them with actionable data. 3. Frequent communication is more important than ever. As a team, discuss the correlation between your actions and your results and what it means for the next iteration of your content strategy.

What are some other key takeaways from the 2016 content marketing report?

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