Over the past few years, content marketing has been steadily getting an increased share of the B2B marketing budget pie. Why? Because consumers have an appetite for it and marketers have tasted success with content marketing. There’s no mistaking that content marketing delivers more exposure, leads and revenue. It adds to the bottom-line, period.
A recent study by the Content Marketing Institute reveals that 75 percent to 99 percent of businesses use up to 5 percent of their marketing budget for content marketing. Between 10 percent and 24 percent of B2B players that participated in the research dedicate 24 percent of their marketing funds to content marketing.
The amount you may choose to allocate will depend on factors such as your past experience, present content marketing targets, current staff and business intelligence.
But when you budget, you do so with an ROI in mind. You have to justify the spending and ensure that you do not overspend. A poorly conceived content marketing strategy is often the number one reason that leads to your program not yielding the desired results. Then, in an effort to stop the slide, more money is pumped into it. Before you know it, you have overshot the allocated budget with very little to show for it.
Another reason why businesses cannot stay within the budgets is poor execution of the strategy. Let us take a more detailed look at the factors that can break your B2B content marketing budget.
1. Get in sync. The B2B content marketing exercise should be in sync with your marketing objectives. These could be customer acquisition, customer retention or tapping new markets. Get your articles, videos, social media posts, ebooks, blogs and syndicated content tied in to the overall objective.
2. Keep your eyes open. Not measuring your content marketing performance is akin to driving with a blindfold. You can manage it effectively only if you can measure it. Content that gains traction with your readers deserves to be recognized and its promotion expanded to additional channels, or for a longer term.
3. Know your audience. Targeting the wrong audience is a surefire way to overshoot your budget. It adds to the cost when B2B content marketers engage with the wrong kind of audience and pursue communication. By the time they realize it, they’ve spent time and money that could have been used elsewhere on more productive and profitable activities. This is an area where customer personas are very handy.
4. Staffing. Not having the right people on the job is another factor that can lead to businesses overspending. There are always costs with hiring, but there are other associated costs that are often overlooked. Be sure to consider the costs of training, oversight and damage control if you choose to hire a junior person.
5. Expect to spend on tech. Marketing tools are evolving by the day. Technical upgrades, if not factored into the budget, can cause a spike in the spending. According to a Gartner study, by 2017 the marketing department will be spending more than the IT department on technology. That includes technology for content marketing.
If you want your B2B content marketing plan to stay on budget and drive results then…
1. Send a clear message on your website and social media.
2. Tie-in your content marketing to your main objective, and get a buy-in from the management.
3. Do the small things right. Avoid vague content, have powerful calls to action, strike a balance between the amount and types of content, optimize web pages, and focus on your target audience.