Most B2B marketers don’t like their own content – here’s why that matters
June 22, 2020
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David McGuire previews his Ignite 2020 session, revealing that 68% of B2B marketers are not proud of their content
Earlier this year, Radix Communications released research showing that just 32% of B2B marketers are proud of even half the content they create.
But this isn’t yet another post accusing B2B marketers of aiming low, as if you don’t already know that effective content needs to be original, clearly written, packed with value, and aligned to your customers’ priorities. You already know that, and the research proves it .
The evidence shows you already have a very good idea about what great content looks like. You’re not short of ideas, skills are readily available, and even the driest subject matter is no obstacle.
There’s no lack of knowledge, ability or will; the problem comes when marketers need to fight their own organisation. And according to the research, that’s surprisingly often. In fact, 81% of respondents said they need to “ fight hard ” to produce good content – and that’s pretty much the same regardless of your seniority, location, business size or sector.
In my B2B Ignite session on Tuesday, I’ll unpack the reasons for that in detail – and talk about some possible solutions to the six most common content challenges that B2B marketers face.
Instead, in this post, I want to talk about something different. I want to tell you why it matters.
Specifically, I’ll share a few headlines – with evidence – about the business impact when your organisation gets in the way of your content. And I’ll try to do it in a way your stakeholders might understand.
Most B2B signoff processes actually harm content outcomes
An astonishing 59% of B2B marketers – basically six out of ten – agreed with the statement “If nobody else had to sign off our content, the results would be a lot better.” And in large enterprises, it’s more than eight out of ten.
We checked, and they’re correct. Respondents who agreed with the statement were indeed markedly less likely to be satisfied with their content’s writing quality, customer alignment, emotional impact, reader value and – crucially – business results.
Business results are worse when stakeholder interference is a problem
Marketers who said stakeholder interference is a big problem were 26% less likely to be happy with their content’s business results. And that’s a worry because more than half of respondents (54%) gave that answer.
It’s perhaps not surprising, because just 14% of people could say their organisation agrees on what good content is. That lack of alignment is not just annoying; it comes with a measurable business cost.
Cheap B2B content is 18% less likely to work
Satisfaction with business results is 18% lower among respondents who cited limited resources as a big problem. It’s the clearest possible example of a false economy.
Resource issues also had a marked impact content originality, and quality of copywriting – which is perhaps why 80% of respondents said they face a trade-off between content quantity and quality.
When marketing is overworked, content tends to be unoriginal
Respondents who said workload is a big problem were 25% less likely to say their best content had a clever, original concept. Which makes sense – when time is tight, you stick with what you know you can deliver and get signed off easily.
But that does nothing to differentiate your brand, achieve cut-through in a crowded market, or – crucially for your stakeholder conversations – create talking points for your salespeople. More than anything else, content that can achieve those things takes time.
Content created without customers is 27% less likely to get good results
It’s understandable that salespeople want to remain in control of valuable client relationships, and keep their best customers out of view, away from competitors’ eyes. But if they want leads, and end-of-funnel content their prospects will take seriously, then marketing needs to talk to customers.
When marketers can’t gain access to customers, they’re 24% less likely to produce content that’s well-aligned to customers’ needs. And the impact of that? They’re 27% less likely to be happy with the business results.
Life is too short for underwhelming B2B content
Ultimately, the most important reason that why the quality of your content matters is your own sanity. We all spend most of our waking lives at work, and when we look back, we want to see something that makes us proud.
In the same way, your customers’ working lives are too short – and too important – to waste on reading content you didn’t really want to publish in the first place.
You already know this, of course. But hopefully this research – and Tuesday’s Ignite session, when I’ll explain it – can help you make the case to stakeholders too, and get on with publishing the content you actually want to create.