Marketers have made noteworthy progress in managing content strategically, but still have work to do to match content with the right audience segments and customer expectations, and to fully leverage content management technologies.

That is the major theme of the third annual content management survey published recently by the Content Marketing Institute. The objective of this research was to assess how marketers are using technology to help create, manage, deliver, and scale marketing content, and how they are using content to better engage audiences across the customer journey.

The 2019 Content Management & Strategy Survey produced 250 usable surveys, so this was a relatively small study. For comparison purposes, the 2019 edition of CMI’s annual content marketing survey produced 1,947 responses. Eighty-three percent of the respondents in the content management survey were affiliated with B2B or hybrid B2B/B2C companies, and 79% were with companies located in North America.

For this research, CMI provided survey participants with two important definitions:

  • Strategic approach to managing content – “an approach that involves setting up processes, people, and technology to better scale and deliver content with the intent to improve the overall customer experience.”
  • Content management strategy – “a strategy that addresses issues such as how your organization plans, develops, organizes, distributes, manages, and governs content.”
The Good
CMI found that marketers are making substantial progress in managing content strategically. Three-fourths (76%) of the respondents in the 2019 survey said their organization takes a strategic approach to managing content, and 59% said their company has a documented content management strategy. In the 2018 edition of the survey, only 43% of the respondents said their organization had a documented strategy “for managing content as a business asset.”
CMI also found that many companies are now doing several of the basic things required to manage content effectively. Sixty-seven percent of the respondents said they have an inventory of their content assets, and 66% said they have performed a content audit (an evaluation of their existing content). In addition, 56% of the respondents said they have performed a content gap analysis (an analysis of areas where additional content is needed), and 55% said they have conducted research to better understand their audience.
The CMI research also reveals that marketers are becoming more confident about the success of their content management efforts. The following table shows how respondents in the 2019 survey and the 2018 version of the survey rated their overall success at strategically managing content:

As the table shows, the percentage of respondents rating their efforts as extremely or very successful grew from 12% in 2018 to 26% in 2019, and the percentage saying they are moderately successful increased from 44% in 2018 to 54% in 2019.

More Work To Do
While the broad findings in CMI’s 2019 study are generally positive, some specific findings are more mixed and show where companies have more work to do. For example, more than half of the survey respondents said they are extremely or very confident in their ability to select the right overall topic for a content asset and identify the key themes or messages to emphasize in a content asset.
At the same time, however, the top three challenges identified by survey respondents were determining which audience segments to prioritize (71% of respondents), knowing what is most important to their audience (61% of respondents), and knowing the goal of the audience at each stage of the customer journey (50% of respondents).
These somewhat inconsistent findings indicate that marketers need to conduct more research to gain a solid understanding of market and audience dynamics. As noted earlier, only 55% of the survey respondents said they have performed research to better understand their audience, and this finding underscores the need for more research.
Top Image Source:  Content Marketing Institute

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