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Recent Aberdeen Group research found that 83% of marketers surveyed claim to do some kind of content marketing. This figure indicates that content marketing alone is not going to be enough to separate you from the pack. In fact, doing content marketing means you are already part of the pack.

That being said, and as you might expect, not all content marketers are created equal.

When Aberdeen’s Andrew Moravick split out content marketers into Leaders (top 40%, based on business performance) and Followers (remaining 60%), and compared them both to Best-in-Class marketers (top 20% of all survey respondents, based on performance), here’s what he found:

leading_content_marketers

As you can plainly see, the performance of the top content marketers doesn’t actually differ all that much from the performance of the Best-in-Class. This suggests, of course, that if you are getting content marketing right, you aren’t doing too bad.

By the same token, if you are doing content marketing poorly, you may as well not be doing it at all.

Even the Best Content Marketers Have Room for Improvement

As good as the best content marketers may be doing, they cannot simply be equated with the Best-in-Class (indeed, Andrew told me that “only” 73% of the Best-in-Class use content marketing). So, where do the best content marketers actually come up short?

Thankfully, Andrew created the chart below so that we could precisely locate the critical differences between these cohorts:

best-content-vs-best-in-class

There are three things worth noting in the chart above.

  1. Revenue Matters – If you are not connecting your marketing efforts to revenue, you have some work to do. This is the only area in which the Best-in-Class not only beat even the best content marketers, but beat them soundly.
  2. Technology Matters – The best content marketers outpace the Best-in-Class when it comes to using marketing technology to improve productivity. Similarly, the best content marketers are also better at managing, scoring, and prioritizing leads – activities that many marketing technology platforms were built to support.
  3. Social Media Matters – The delta here is stark, but also makes sense. Content marketing and social media were made for each other, so it stands to reason that those who are the best at doing content marketing will also be best at leveraging social media for marketing ends. The fact that marketers have also, traditionally, faced challenges when it comes to connecting social media marketing efforts to revenue may also explain why the Best-in-Class have tended to focus on it less.

Want to Improve Performance? Get Better at Content Marketing

If there is any key takeaway here, it is not that marketers need to do content marketing. They already are.

No, the key takeaway is that you need to get better at content marketing if you want to improve marketing performance.

That being said, if you don’t want to do content marketing, or spend your time trying to improve your flagging content marketing efforts, you really only have one choice: Focus on driving revenue with marketing. Let us know how that works out for you!

Read Andrew Moravick’s full report, Critical Capabilities of Effective Content Marketing.

Image Source (Creative Commons): Jason Rogers.

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