New study by Economist Group says marketers are missing the mark with their B2B content efforts

A new study from the Economist Group found that while most global business executives are looking for substance, the majority of B2B marketers are unfortunately still focused on “talking about themselves.”

The study conducted in association with marketing services company Peppercomm is based on two separate polls: one involving 500 business executives, and another of 500 B2B marketers.

The findings were outlined in the report, "Missing the Mark: Global Content Survey of Brand Marketers and their B2B Audiences", which can be accessed from the microsite here.

"Readers are looking for content that helps them understand their world, their industry," said Jeff Pundyk, global VP of content solutions at the Economist Group, in a video post. "Marketers are still marketing--they are talking about themselves.”

According to Pundyk, business executives have made it known that they are looking for content to help “make a complex world more simple”. According to the report, this could range from gaining new ideas, obtaining new insights from their peers, and access to information that will help these executives stay current in their industry.

"There is a massive gap between what the senior executive audience wants to see in the content and how marketers approach creating it," said Elena Sukacheva, senior VP and managing director of the Economist Group's Content Solutions Unit. "Senior executives are bombarded with content, and not surprisingly, they reject everything that smells like promotion and wastes their time. Marketers are still focused on promoting themselves, their products and services."

On their part, marketers are facing pressure to perform too, and also grapple with unclear metrics on how to justify their spending. While 80% of B2B marketers say the their primary reason for creating content is to build the brand as well as to establish positive perceptions, 70% saying they measure the effectiveness of the content by the number of calls from prospects and customers.

Another 38% indicated that they do not think they have the metrics in place to measure the effectiveness of what they do, and just 31% say that their content strategy is “highly understood and integrated” within their organizations.

All is not lost though, given how B2B executive buyers were apparently willing to give vendor content a look, as long as marketers save the product pitch for another time. This leaves the door open to the savvy marketer to put together a long-term plan to establish their brands--assuming they can hold their act together against the internal pressures to sell.