How Agencies Drove Digital Lead Generation in 2011

As the year winds down, we’re seeing a number of reports on definitive content marketing trends in 2011. At lonelybrand we’re busy planning for 2012, and that means reviewing¬†how advertising, marketing and PR agencies are using content strategies for their own business development. We surveyed over 300 top agency executives to uncover awareness, strategies and barriers for content marketing within the marketing industry.

General Impressions of Content Marketing

Convincing executives and stakeholders to invest in high quality digital marketing can be an uphill battle. Our survey shows that while many execs believe in content as a marketing tool, about a third are unsure whether content and social media strategies are worth their time. A margin of executives rejected content as a worthwhile strategy.

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Awareness

We also asked top marketing executives whether or not they could define content marketing in the context of strategy. Over half of our sample were unable to provide a complete definition for the term.

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Execution

Consistently creating excellent content and backing it with a digital machine for distribution and engagement requires planning and education. Less than a quarter of executives answered that their agency has a documented content marketing process to generate qualified leads.

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With or without a documented plan, which content marketing strategies do agencies turn to first? According to our research, micro-blogs, email blasts and guest posts on someone else’s blog are the top tactics.

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Why Aren’t More Marketers Using Content?

Our data shows an overall dearth of content marketing strategy backed by digital planning and support from paid media, social media engagement and email marketing. So we asked top marketing pros why they are reluctant to employ a digital content marketing strategy. Executives named lack of time, process and day-to-day planning as the top hindrances.

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Conclusion

To say there’s room for improvement would be an understatement. But that also means the bar is low. Look for top public relations and advertising agencies – as well as B2B brands – to make digital communications a priority in 2012. That means more content, and more importantly, higher quality content.