Ted Karczewski

As 2013 edges closer, it’s time to look at content marketing and how to approach the practice over the next 12 months. A big component of successful custom content is its ability to generate high-quality leads, and new data reveals that lead generation budgets are moving toward optimized content.

Branded content is already embraced by a significant population of marketers today. In fact, MarketingSherpa‘s 2012 Lead Generation Benchmark Report noted some interesting trends in how professionals identify and reach out to prospective customers. The report found that 49 percent of survey respondents will decrease offline lead generation marketing moving forward, while 62 percent say they will increase content marketing to achieve lead gen objectives. Nearly one-quarter will “greatly” increase their content budgets, while less than one-quarter will allocate more lead generation funds toward direct mail, tradeshows or print advertising.

There is a changing of the guard in the world of digital marketing – content now bolsters every aspect of lead generation and nurturing, from the initial impression to the final interaction before a sale. The Content Marketing Institute reports 54 percent of B2B marketers will increase their content marketing spend in the near future, and businesses that fail to adhere to the new industry standards will be left in the dust.

Marketers in the process of strategic planning for 2013 should ensure their companies aren’t one of the organizations left asking itself, “What is content marketing?”