Technology Marketers Achieve Increased Success with Content Marketing [Research]

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Technology marketers, take a bow. Your numbers look impressive.

I say this based on the 2018 Technology Content Marketing report (from Content Marketing Institute, MarketingProfs and IDG), which we’ll get into here today.

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The first thing author and research director Lisa Murton Beets writes in the report is:

“I’m pleased to announce the percentage of technology marketers that reported high levels of overall success increased from 24% last year to 31% this year—another 50% reported moderate success.”

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Technology marketers have a record of being ahead of the curve

According to Content Marketing Institute, since they began conducting content marketing research in 2010, technology marketers have:

  • Relied more on content marketing than other sectors
  • Achieved greater effectiveness
  • Experimented with more types of content marketing
  • Documented their content marketing strategy more consistently
  • Used social media platforms to distribute content

Like every year, this year’s report is a self-assessment. 274 people at for-profit technology organizations in North America participated and returned consistently upbeat responses.

  • 78% claimed to have improved content creation in terms of quality and efficiency.
  • 72% claimed strategy improvements.
  • 55% claimed to have achieved more effective content distribution.

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Technology marketers understand targeting and timing

78% report they always or frequently prioritize providing the right content to the right person at the right time. The number can be compared to 63% for all sectors.

CMI’s Lisa Murton Beets writes, “Forward-thinking marketers generally give more consideration to what their targeted audiences or personas need in any given moment.”

Robert Rose, CMI’s chief strategy advisor, points out they use data and technology to deliver the content when it’s needed most.

Technology marketers remain immature?

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Did we backpedal here? Despite all the high marks technology marketers gave themselves in the 2018 survey, just a tenth see their organizations as “sophisticated” content marketers and slightly more than a third call themselves “mature.”

Are you dipping your toes?

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The 33% number above reflecting the percentage of brands that have “centralized” content marketing groups is a sign of things going in the right direction. However, the 43% measure of those that have “small” (or one-person) teams is cause for concern. Successful content marketing teams generally have more than two hands.

Making smart content creation decisions

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Perhaps answering in the positive to these questions was a bit too easy when prompted with a multiple choice question. However, I consider all the data above good news reflecting tech marketers understand the value of:

  • Credibility
  • Customer experience
  • Customer-centricity
  • Content quality
  • Differentiation

An observation from Lisa’s post may be some cause for concern:

“Compared with the previous year, more technology marketers say they’re focused on creating the right content for the right person at the right time – but fewer report they’re crafting content for specific points on the buyer’s journey.”

She follows with a “Hmmm” and I join her puzzlement, but we’ll leave it at that by simply saying there’s ample room for improvement in addressing the specific needs of customers along the buyer’s journey, which I suspect means after the awareness or discovery stage.

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I like what I see here. The top six types of content technology companies use are solid: social posts, case studies, ebooks, videos, infographics, and images.

Two types that didn’t make the cut for the graph are research reports and interactive tools. Based on lessons learned from recent research by Buzzsumo, my take is both are highly effective content types that technology marketers should pursue.

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I find this question a bit oblique because the “achieve specific objectives” part does not indicate what the objectives actually are. However, set that aside and you get tech marketers are achieving their objectives with ebooks, case studies, videos, and research reports.

Distribution’s a big deal

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The “top five” data above is unsurprising. Email, social media, blogs, webinars, and live events are how technology brands choose to distribute content.

The sidebar shows “other formats” including content hubs, online presentations, digital magazines, and print. I mention this because I believe if you “zig” when they “zag,” chances are high you can standout on the road less traveled.

Surveying social media

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You’d expect to see LinkedIn rank first for technology brands. So no surprises on the social media front, except maybe to see 29% hanging in there with the oft-ignored Google+ network.

An interesting note on the sidebar shows technology brands report using an average of five social platforms, which shows activity on social—probably for both organic and paid—remains high.

Prediction: Next year a fall-off will be reported for Facebook, Google+, and SlideShare.

Are you minding your metrics?

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While “good” and “fair” amount to 54 percent, I think it’s fair to say the findings above suggest aligning metrics with content marketing goals remains a vexing challenge for technology brands (or everyone).

In my opinion, companies tend to overcomplicate the process of gathering and assessing content marketing metrics and can take significant steps forward with the simple tactics I explained in this post on Orbit Media’s blog.

From successful to “most successful”

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Let’s close by taking a look at the table above to see where the data reiterates some areas where the “most successful” technology marketers outperform the field at large.

  • A sizable gap (33%) indicates the most successful technology content marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.
  • Excellent/good project management flow during the content creation process is another notable separator.

Finally, 95 percent of the most successful brands in the survey are focused on building audiences. Are you?