Content marketing in Australia is set to take off in a big way, if findings in a new research report come to fruition.
The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) has joined forces with The Association for data-driven marketing & advertising (ADMA) to produce a report titled: Content Marketing in Australia: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends.
You can access the report here.
One key takeaway is that spending on content marketing is set to increase by 61 per cent, with 12 per cent of respondents saying they will be 'significantly increasing' their budget this year.
That's pretty amazing, but is it representative of the broader marketing world? Personally, I don't think it is.
The email survey was conducted with a "sample of marketers from among members, subscribers, and partner lists of CMI and ADMA" (see below). I suspect people who are connected to, or following, either of these organisations would be content marketing advocates and enthusiasts, or at least on the cusp of being so. Thus, potential exists for the results to be somewhat skewed.
I'm not dismissing the research by the way; indeed, I think it's awesome the local industry finally has some data to support all the buzz that's out there - I'm merely adding a 'conservative filter' across the findings :)
What I do read into the statistic is that marketers who are probably already reasonably content savvy see a huge opportunity to get the jump on their competitors by spending more on their content marketing efforts.
There is no doubt, however, the strategic use of content to attract, educate and engage consumers is gaining momentum within Australian business circles. A cursory glance at Google Trends shows upward movement in the number of people searching for the phrase 'content marketing' in Australia. Plus, of course, the growing proliferation of articles and blog posts around the subject.
A LOOK AT TACTICS
Second key takaway is that 96 per cent of respondents use content marketing. Broken down, this is 98 per cent for B2B marketers, and 89 per cent for B2C.
By comparison, this is greater than their B2B counterparts in North American (91 per cent) and the UK (95 per cent).
Australian marketers use an average of 12 content marketing tactics, with the most popular tools being:
- articles on company website (88 per cent);
- social media other than blogs (83 per cent);
- enewsletters (82 per cent);
- in-person events (74 per cent);
- case studies (71 per cent);
- video (69 per cent).
Aussie B2C companies are more likely to use mobile apps and content, while (understandably) B2B prefers whitepapers, case studies and webinars are the B2B tactics of choice.
The biggest challenge for companies, according to the CMI/ADMA report, is producing the type of content that engages the desired audience (21 per cent), with lack of budget and producing sufficient content (both 18 per cent) also being cited.
Leveraging content in an efficient manner is also an issue, with only 29 per cent of marketers believing their organisations are effective at content marketing.
SOME FINAL COMMENTS
Firstly, it's fantastic to have some local research for a change, data that (a) is sourced pretty equally among large, mid-sized, small and micro entities, and (b) compares Australian content marketing activity to that in North America and the UK.
Cohesive content marketing strategy
Another critical observation, and I'd love to hear others' perspectives on this:
At 96 per cent, yes - the level of content creation is very high in Australian organisations, indeed it leads North America and the UK according to the CMI/ADMA research, but how much of it is wedded to strategy? Do these companies have a cohesive content marketing plan in place?
Again, these more content savvy survey respondents might be ahead of the game, but from my observations that's not the case across the board generally where the quality and strategic nature of Australian content lags the US (in particular).
Quantity, okay we might have that covered, but high levels of quality content? Strategic use of a diverse array of channels? Meaningful experimentation with digital tools? Nup, not seeing that yet. Our low adoption of the likes of podcasting, ebooks, digital magazines, webinars and even blogging, is evidence of that.
We must remember that content marketing is not new ...
Companies and organisations in Australia have ALWAYS created content to educate and inform their customers - a large part of my job as a young PR consultant two decades ago was to produce newsletters, with the odd (very expensive) video production thrown in for big occasions. Events too have been a staple for companies the world over.
Obviously the key difference today is that not only is it easier and more cost effective to produce your own content - that certainly is compelling - but the real game-changer has been flattening of the playing field, thanks to new media technologies. This means, of course, that anyone can distribute their content instantly, globally, and for free. Powerful stuff!
Add into the fact consumers have turned off advertising and one-way broadcast of corporate messages in a big way, but conversely have shown a distinct willingness to consume and share compelling and relevant content that informs and/or educates and/or entertains.
Of course, this augers well for the future of content marketing in Australia, but we still have a way to go before the smart, cohesive and strategic use of content for marketing purposes is de rigueur in this country.
HOW WAS THE RESEARCH CONDUCTED?
According to the report:
Content Marketing in Australia: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends was produced by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and The Association for data-driven marketing & advertising (ADMA). The survey was mailed electronically to a sample of marketers from among members, subscribers, and partner lists of CMI and ADMA.
A total of 216 participants responded from Australian companies (including 139 B2B companies and 45 B2C companies) during the time period of August 2012 through January 2013, representing a range of industries, functional areas, and company sizes.
- Hat-tip Joe Pulizzi and the Content Marketing Institute (CMI).
- CMI is running Content Marketing World Sydney next week (March 4-6).
- ACCESS REPORT: Content Marketing in Australia: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends.