Communication professionals are seeing a high return on investment (ROI) from implementing a content marketing strategy, according to a report by integrated communications agency Waggener Edstrom. This article is copyright 2013 The Best Customer Guide.

The study, entitled 'Content Marketing: Puncturing the Hype and Getting Practical', found that of the 82% of organisations with a content marketing strategy, over 90% see it having a significant business impact through increasing web traffic and sales leads.

The report, based on a survey of over 150 marketing and communication professionals with decision-making responsibilities across EMEA, examines the perceptions of content marketing and the potential impact it can have on a business' growth.

The study's key findings included:

  • The majority (85%) of communication professionals currently using a content marketing strategy do so to promote awareness of their brand, closely followed by increasing engagement with customers (79%) and generating sales leads (77%);
  • 70% of marketers understand that content marketing helps drive sales leads more effectively, but 18% still have no plans to implement a strategy and over one third (38%) still question whether it can deliver measurable ROI;
  • A lack of staff resources was identified as the number one challenge in implementing an effective content marketing strategy (63%), closely followed by lack of budget (48%) and lack of content creation expertise (41%);
  • 79% believe a strong content marketing strategy will help them use social media more effectively, followed by video and animation (70%) and news articles (62%);
  • Businesses are setting metrics to track success and prove the value of good content. Over three quarters (83%) measure the effectiveness of content through web traffic, while 67% measure through media coverage and just over half (56%) through click analysis.

"Measurement has always been key to demonstrating success of communications and marketing programmes, but I would argue that particularly for content marketing there is an opportunity to be even more accurate," commented Ricardo Adame, corporate vice president of global communications for AVG Technologies. "By defining our metrics carefully and building in additional measures to provide context, a detailed picture is created that enables us to measure the ROI after a campaign has completed and adjust our approach during its lifespan to achieve maximum impact."

"Content marketing offers a way to engage your audiences and proves your business' worth as a trusted source of information. It has had a transformative effect on the way brands reach and retain their customers - but with so many voices, getting to grips with content marketing best practice is not always easy," concluded Chris Talago, executive vice president and general manager EMEA for Waggener Edstrom. "This study suggests that businesses are starting to understand the potential ROI content marketing can generate but, if this impact is to be fully realised, factors including budget and staffing still need to be addressed."