Roughly half of B2C marketers say both online content and social media marketing were last year’s top performers in terms of lead generation and sales. The same is true for more than one-quarter of B2B marketers, according to the Focus Research study, Marketers’ Benchmarks 2011. The study found that both channels are poised to be top areas of investment this year for marketers across industries.
The study is a compilation of more than 170 surveys Focus conducted, all asking marketing professionals about strategies for success. It demonstrates that brand building and lead generation are top goals for marketers this year, and social media and content marketing are deemed top ways to achieve these ends.
Overall, 82 percent of respondents say marketing budgets will increase or stay the same this year, and many respondents say they are increasing social and content investment this year – with good reason. More than one-third of all respondents (36 percent) say content marketing had the strongest performance last year, and social media marketing followed closely behind, cited as a top performer among 28 percent of marketers.
Fifty-nine percent of marketers say they will be increasing their social media budgets this year, and 51 percent refer to social analytics as a top initiative. The study suggests social media marketing is one of the top five tactics for both B2B and B2C businesses (ranking No.1 for B2C and No. 2 for B2B). Similarly, Focus found that social content drives community engagement across industries, with 23 percent of B2C brands and 17 percent of B2B brands ranking user-generated content as key to marketing performance.
Still, the No.1 approach to content for both B2B (39 percent) and B2C businesses (37 percent) is blog marketing. This supports Brafton’s earlier report that blog marketing converts readers. The Benchmarks reports found that content marketing budgets will expand for 47 percent of B2B and 49 percent of B2C companies this year.
Marketers cite lack of time and resources as the biggest challenge to attracting audiences this year, according to Focus. Similarly, Brafton has reported that marketers cite finding the time to create original content as a top challenge this year. As continuous search updates necessitate high-quality content for SEO, marketers investing in site and social content might consider turning to professional writers to boost visibility and get the most out of their investments.