Ad Age’s 2012 Content Marketing Survey Results

According to a new Ad Age article, content marketing has attracted an average of 12 percent of marketers’ budgets with many planning to spend more in 2013, yet many marketers still don’t understand how to do content marketing or measure whether it’s working,

The article, written by Natalie Zmuda, discusses the results of a late 2012 survey by Ad Age of nearly six hundred marketers on the perceptions, misconceptions, problems, and solutions associated with content marketing.

Here are a few of the results:

  •  Jeff Jones, CMO at Target, on what content marketing is and how to measure its successfulness, said, “We understand the basic things. … But we don’t have a single metric yet, and we don’t have history to know its predictive nature. It’s easy to talk about buzzwords but hard to operationalize what this really means. We’re in the early days of a long journey.”
  •  Rebecca Lieb, a digital advertising and media analyst with Altimeter Group, said that it’s important for content marketing strategies to be embraced from the top down with someone in charge of it. “You have to have people whose primary job is to create and strategize and monetize content. It’s really nascent — companies need to figure out budget, where [content marketing] sits in the org chart. We’re only taking baby steps toward defining best practices and templates for that.”
  •  Only 30 percent of marketers say they spend their content-creation budget on internal staffing, while only 30 percent of content creation is handled by third-party partners or suppliers—leaving the additional content-production responsibilities to be tacked onto the already heavy workloads of existing employees.
  •  One respondent to the survey said, “We struggle with content creation and marketing, because people see this as something that they have to do over and above their current job responsibilities or [Key Performance Indicators]. It gets pushed to the side as people have to carve out time from their current work responsibilities. It’s a problem with the perception of this concept.”
  •  Some companies are now looking for journalists to manage their custom content, such as Coca-Cola’s recently reimagined company website as a corporate content hub dubbed “Journey” with a former TV news journalist and a senior writer added to its ranks.
  •  Ashley Brown director of digital communication and social media for Coca-Cola, said, “I’ve really remade my team around being content producers and syndicators and sourcers. We’re looking for that journalism background for the team now and going forward.”
  •  According to the survey 55 percent of marketers will increase content-marketing budgets in 2013.
  •  The next challenge is the distribution and funding of content. The vast majority of respondents rely on owned-and-earned channels to distribute content, rather than paid channels and less than half of marketers report they have dedicated budgets for content production and distribution.
  •  Crystal Worthem, manager of Ford brand content and alliances marketing, said, “The biggest challenge is distribution and how you get the eyeballs. … But if there’s not a big budget or some kind of network deal, you can produce great content and no one sees it, because the space is getting crowded. With a younger audience, it’s more likely to get viral spread. Something that requires more-sophisticated audiences, they’re in more paid spaces.”

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