Content Marketing return on investment? Here’s the proof

Soooo … Google has changed the rules of the game again. Driving the content mantra.

Where does this leave you, Mr/Mrs/Ms Marketeer? Perhaps you’re trying to make sense of the information that as much as 31% of marketing budgets are being spent on content marketing. Sure that’s mad, Ted. Isn’t it?

As yet, we don’t have figures for spend on content marketing in Ireland (more of which later), but while it’s reasonable to think that it trails the UK figure cited above (Source: CMI, DMA UK), there is no doubting that it’s also growing fast in Ireland.

But perhaps the real question that you are grappling with is this. What is the content marketing return on investment? How do I convince the powers that be in the company that this is a route worth investigating? You may even be thinking ‘If I introduce this and it’s a success, then I could be a star, rise to the top of the company and have a big orange piggy bank of my own full of money’, you sneaky thing!

Well, let’s hope there’s space at the Boardroom table for one more.

The Aberdeen Group is a Boston-based research house that has undertaken an important piece of analysis on content marketing. They studied data collected from 96 marketing practitioners, including 81 companies that use content marketing. They further identified the top 35% in terms of results, termed them Leaders and the remainder Followers, and defined what it was that Leaders did to give them the best results (you can download the research here).

62% of these companies prioritised lead generation or customer acquisition as their primary objective – so this is the metric that we are principally concerned with.

So what was their finding on this key metric?

Content Marketing Return on Investment

Content_marketing_effectiveness

And there you have it. Companies using content marketing generate almost eight times as many marketing qualified leads as those that don’t. You can apply your own cost of conversion rate from MQL to Sale based on your company’s experience.

Doing Content Marketing well substantially increases your Return on Investment

However, Aberdeen went on to examine the differing results achieved by Leaders versus Followers. And what is very clear is that companies that do content marketing well do a whole lot better out of it than those that just do content marketing.

The website traffic required by Leaders to create a sale was just over half that required of Followers and their per customer acquisition cost was just 66%. It’s clear that there is a significant execution gap between Leaders and Followers.

The Content Marketing Leaders achieved:
*15.4% year on year company revenue growth v 1.6% for Followers
*19.7% year on year increase in unique site traffic v 2.5% for Followers
*10.2% year on year growth in marketing’s contribution to revenue v 1.6% for Followers

Well, bowl me over with a piggy bank! I’d say it’s worth doing well, wouldn’t you?

Key Learnings about getting a return on your content marketing investment:

The key takeaways from the research are

Think Nurture – content marketing is the ‘alchemy of intent’, converting mere interest into a sales-ready lead
Think Holistically – effective content marketing requires a holistic perspective that aligns content to both the buyer’s journey (i.e. their stage in the process) and their role or persona
Think systematically – firms should think systematically across the CMS and marketing system – how integration across these systems can optimize the content experience
Measure what matters – track conversion rates associated with content. Measure the incremental lift that specific content types or specific content provide.

So given the success of content marketing, what’s the next step? If you have the expertise and resources you can do it yourself. Or if you not quite doing content marketing as good as you should/could, you can always just contact us.

Ah Go On, Go On, Go On.

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If you’re a brand looking to get smart about content marketing, get in touch with our award-winning team at 256 Media and we can help. In the meantime, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest to keep up with all things content and digital media.

About Adrian O'Farrell

Adrian O’Farrell is Head of Client Services for 256, Ireland’s first dedicated content marketing agency. He has worked in marketing for over twenty years, having had his own award-winning marketing agency. He has worked in advertising in both agency, media owner and client side. He is a former Chairman of the Association of Promotional Marketing Consultants.