Well, it depends what you mean. It’s harder than ever to get cut through. It’s getting more costly. But the volumes just seem to be increasing.
So is it worth pursuing?
According to the Online Marketing Institute and Microsoft and Google it takes multiple touch points with a brand to convert a prospect into a customer. Google estimates the financial investment customer will engage with brand content online 8-9 times before making an investment decision. For the OMI, touches 1-5 are simply about building basic brand awareness. Conversion isn’t likely to happen until somewhere between touch 7 and 13. (And yet 89% of sales people give up on the opportunity around touch 4 – run out of outreach ideas perhaps?).
Profitwell’s research shows that content marketing as a customer acquisition channel is fast accelerating in cost and volume of output, even as engagement drops. Profitwell sees this as an indication of the maturity of content marketing. An analysis borne out by the Content Marketing Institute’s 2020 study into B2B content marketing. The CMI found that overall success with content marketing is similar to that reported for the last 3 years.
But even if customers are more difficult to reach, and the proliferation of content makes getting cut-through harder, content marketing is still driving business. Of respondents to the CMI 2020 study:
- 86% said content marketing creates brand awareness
- 70% found it generates demand
- 68% found it nurtures leads, and
- 53% found it generates sales
Which content types are the highest performing at each funnel stage?
So is it in decline? Well, no. It might be an ongoing and costly endeavour but it’s clear that content remains the fuel that drives the marketing engine. The tough message is, we just need to work harder at creating work that delivers.