What are the chief obstacles standing in the way of good results with content marketing? A survey recently conducted by Demand Metric asked 521 marketers about their recent efforts in order to find out, including the difference between enterprise marketers and small business owners when it comes to the way they look at content and strategy.

They also asked these marketers what they felt about their success rate and, interestingly, only 13% responded that they think their content strategy is “very successful,” a response that doesn’t seem buoyantly confident in retrospect.

The survey also asked what the primary goal of their content marketing was and, based on their responses, it appears that most marketers are using it to increase the number of leads that they generate and also to boost brand and/or product awareness.

A closer look at the data would lead one to believe that marketers are spending more time on creating content than actually creating a strategy for using it, and that a possible redirection of their goals is necessary.

For example, while improving organic search rankings and increasing social media engagement are both vitally important to boosting lead conversions, both were rated very low on the typical marketer’s scales of importance. To boost, social media engagement was dead last.

By increasing visibility in search listings and increasing social media engagement, more traffic is driven to websites and more leads are created, both of which lead to better brand awareness. The fact that many marketers find this unimportant is quite puzzling and shows that they may have a disproportionate focus on outcome while ignoring the actual process.

SMB vs. Enterprise

One of the main differences that the survey found between Enterprise and Small to Medium-size Businesses is that enterprise marketers are having much more difficulty figuring out what content to actually write and who to target. SMBs on the other hand have a much smaller and more targeted audience and experience fewer difficulties when producing content.

The fact is that in the last year there’s been a vigorously renewed focus on content marketing and it’s possible that this may have led to “content frenzy” where marketers are writing huge volumes of content but, at the same time, still struggling to develop a strategy as to its delivery.

More than likely what’s needed is for marketers to step back from the process of creating content and instead focus on a better delivery strategy, including how, when and where to aim their content, in order to reach their marketing goals.

Answering a number of questions first is of paramount importance, including;

  • Who exactly is our target audience?
  • What challenges and/or desires does this audience have?
  • What type of content actually appeals to them and/or is of value to them?

In the end, a combination of creative content and a content marketing strategy will be needed to increase the efficacy of content marketing and deliver the results that Enterprise and SMB marketers both desire.