Quick, actionable highlights from the 2016 marketing trends outlined in Content Marketing Institute’s newly published State of B2C Content.

B2C content marketers of 2015 are savvy – in fact, 13 percent consider themselves “sophisticated” (compared to 8 percent of their B2B counterparts). B2C teams create roughly 12 different content formats, and this year they’re allocating more of their budgets to content than ever.

But one notable improvement area highlighted in the recently published Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 State of B2C Marketing, is that the most used content formats for B2Cs do not always correlate with the most successful content formats.

The 3 most successful content formats for B2Cs

B2C Content Effectiveness CMI Research

Newsletter marketing tied for most effective in the CMI research, lauded by 67% of B2C marketers who use this approach. Newsletters help companies keep existing customers and email subscribers up to date on the latest happenings within their organizations or their industries as a whole. This type of opt-in marketing method helps nurture leads through the conversion process.

Read more: 3 Do’s & don’ts for effective email marketing 

In-person events, named effective by 67% of B2C marketers, might not seem like a ‘content format,’ but businesses marry their content efforts with events for better promotion and followup. We’ve seen businesses succeed by repurposing content assets that are already being utilized online.

Use existing content at the event:

  • Bring printed infographics to trade booths. Take our client in the culinary industry that brings printed versions of infographics to its tradeshows, or our finance client that live-blogged throughout a mortgage conference.
  • Promote your participation in the event with the right email and social promotion

Create content from the event:

  • Capture speakers on camera, or interview attendees for web video recaps
  • Take photos and create blogs to share the experience with people who couldn’t make it
  • Post on social media in real time to broaden reach AND further engage attendees

Check out our Social Strategist Mike Murphy’s account of his Live-Tweeting experiences here

Illustrations and photos rank as most effective content, cited by 66 percent of B2C marketers.

We’re not surprised – Brafton previously reported 95 percent of marketers say visuals are more effective than text-only content. As more marketers strive to create content that builds brand awareness and encourages engagement, custom illustrations and infographics have become more appealing.

Brand Image Feature


* Further proving the importance of strong visuals, CMI’s research shows infographics are one of the fastest rising formats for B2C marketing. The average effectiveness of this type of content increased from 42 percent to 63 percent effectiveness this year.

Content time sucks – are they worth the effort?

B2C CMI Chart

There are several content formats listed above where the investment doesn’t seem to match the success rate.

Social media content leaves room for improvement; it’s used by almost all B2C marketers included in the study and a third of them aren’t seeing results.

Worse, for some formats, like branded content tools and print magazines, less than half of people who utilize them find them effective.

3 resources for creating more effective content

  • Think of your audience: CMO data found only 12 percent of marketers have specific customers, markets or goals in mind when they create content.Your various demographics are all in different stages of the sales cycle – you need content that will cater to all of these segments. Read more
  • Don’t be too salesy: If you are thinking about implementing a content marketing strategy for your brand, make sure you have a balanced mix of promotional content and news content. Don’t try to trick your readers with content that is really more of an advertisement – they’re too smart for that! Read more.
  • Document your strategy: Currently, only 37 percent of B2C marketers are documenting their strategy (in B2Cs defense, B2Bs are lagging at only 32 percent). Once a strategy has been created and a plan has been set, a content calendar can be established to keep a team on target and ahead of goals. Read more.
Molly Buccini is Brafton's community manager. She joined the team with a background in digital journalism and social media. She's a theatre nerd, pop culture junkie and lover of summertime.