LONDON: Senior marketers regard content marketing as the single most important channel across the marketing mix and just over half intend to increase their spend on the format in 2014, a new survey for the content industry body has suggested.
According to the Content Marketing Association, those using content marketing spend 19% of their budgets on it, more than the 15% recorded for events, 14% for TV, 11% for online marketing and 10% for print. Other channels mentioned in the survey included direct marketing (9%), outdoor (7%), social (6%) and radio (6%).
Among those who don't use any form of content marketing, 25% used direct marketing, followed by 18% each for both TV and print.
Conducted by TMS in the last quarter of 2013, the survey covered 130 marketing practitioners and almost two-thirds (65%) of those questioned were at managerial or director level in a wide range of sectors, including retail, auto and financial services.
It found that 51% planned to increase their spending on content marketing in 2014, whether their overall marketing budgets increased or not, and a full 85% were "aware" of the channel.
Respondents said they found content marketing to be especially effective for long-term customer engagement and brand-building, but were undecided about how effective it was for customer acquisition.
They said the top three challenges facing content marketing were proving its effectiveness internally, securing enough budget allocation and creating quality content.
The last factor caused the report to observe that this could provide an opportunity for specialist agencies that offer top-quality editorial skills – a view shared by Sharon Flaherty, head of content and PR at Confused.com, the price comparison website.
"The current risk is that marketing departments do not have the right skills to practice content marketing properly," she said. "Those with backgrounds in journalism are a must-have asset for brands engaging in content."
Clare Hill, managing director at CMA, added: "For those using content marketing, it is the single most important channel across the full marketing mix and equates to 20% of their total budgets. As with any successful content, quality is essential."
Data sourced from CMA; additional content by Warc staff