3 Content Marketing Challenges Large B2B Enterprises Face
B2B enterprises with 1000+ employees face unique content marketing challenges that can hinder a program’s overall success.
Bigger isn’t always better. Or, maybe I should say, bigger companies don’t always have it easy.
Big marketing budgets and a big marketing staff have their perks — but they also have their share of challenges. The Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 B2B Enterprise Content Marketing Report, which surveys B2B companies with over 1,000 employees (enterprise marketers), brings many of these issues to light.
The challenges these enterprises face, of course, are quite different from those of their small- and mid-sized counterparts. Here are some of the top differences:
- 72% of B2B marketers agree that their organization is focused more on building long-term relationships than getting quick results. Only 58% of B2B enterprise marketers agree with that statement.
- 52% of B2B marketers agree that their leadership team gives ample time to produce content marketing results (which typically take longer than other marketing approaches). Only 38% of B2B enterprise employees agree that leadership supports their longer efforts.
- 69% of B2B marketers agree that their organization is almost always or frequently focused on creating content for an audience, instead of their brand. 47% of B2B enterprise marketers feel their focus on the brand.
Pressure to produce results quickly is a death sentence for content marketing. And being forced to create content for a brand, rather than a specific audience, can be detrimental to content marketing results. Yes, challenges facing these enterprise marketers are often as large as the companies for which they work.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why that is, and a few solutions for solving them.
3 enterprise-level content marketing challenges
While the CMI Report found that 88% of B2B enterprise companies are using content marketing, a mere 2% felt their content marketing strategy was “sophisticated.” Organization might have something to do with that.
Most enterprise organizations have staff that are responsible for multiple brands and product lines throughout the company. Their time is split developing strategies for different marketing programs. Smaller operations, on the other hand, can focus on a single brand, devoting time to developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy that the team can live and breathe — instead of toggling back and forth between programs all day long.
Solution: Outsourcing can be an enterprise’s best friend. A third-party vendor can dedicate itself fully to creating a content marketing strategy that best fits individual products or brands. And the vendor can even drive the strategy, if the enterprise’s resources are so taxed. Check out these 13 stats about outsourcing content marketing to learn more.
It’s difficult to deem a program effective if there is no clear vision of success looks like. Yet, almost half (45%) of B2B enterprise companies feel their organizations lack clarity for benchmarking success. You can see the problem there.
Oftentimes, especially in larger organizations, the C-suite has a very different idea about what makes a content marketing program successful (i.e., leads and sales), whereas the marketers developing the strategy know that other benefits (e.g., increased brand awareness, social reach) have long-term value.
Solution: Education is key here. For one, set realistic expectations about the length of time it will take to generate tangible results from your content marketing program. Further, marketers need to learn to speak their bosses’ language when it comes to winning support for content marketing. They should regularly report on all progress to show how, over time, “smaller” victories (like growing social media engagement) translates to leads and sales. Check out our Monthly Marketing Reporting Template for some ideas.
3) Content Distribution
As more organizations recognize the benefits of content marketing, they’re ramping up production of content. In fact, 63% of survey enterprise-level respondents reported increasing the amount of content they produce from 2016. That’s great, but — the question is — does more content definitely equal better results?
The answer is not necessarily. Content distribution plays a huge role in getting the most out of what you’re producing. And here’s where the enterprise-level marketing problem lies: 94% of B2B enterprises are using email as their main distribution channel.
I’ve written before about how organizations spend too much time creating marketing emails. I believe organizations tend to stick with this content distribution channel because they see immediate results in the form of open rates and click-throughs. But the reality is that these companies are trying to squeeze water from the same well over and over again. At some point, they’re going to run out.
Solution: Don’t get me wrong: Email marketing is an important component of a well-rounded content distribution strategy. But so are publishing on social media and blogging (on your website and others!). These distribution channels help you reach new prospects who are searching for products and services like yours. Make sure your content distribution strategy includes a variety of platforms instead of just relying on one (like email) or just a few.
It is important to note that there are many B2B enterprise organizations that have highly successful content marketing strategies. Companies like Cisco and Boeing, who are committed to content marketing, have created ways to define what a successful content marketing program looks like and to effectively measure content marketing ROI.
The differences between B2B enterprise content marketing and B2B content marketing overall are tangible but not defining. These larger organizations have the ability to make changes that can redefine their content marketing programs and open the door to endless opportunities.
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