Australia’s content marketers urged to document strategy to see improved results – CMI

The Content Marketing Institute and Association of Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) have released the results of their third annual report on content marketing.

The take-home message from the report is that it’s very important for marketers to document their content marketing strategy if they want to see improved results. 44% of those who have a documented content marketing strategy said their content marketing was effective, compared with 29% on average. 37% have a documented strategy, while 46% are using a verbal-only strategy.

Content marketing strategy documentation graph

“These factors are critical for marketers. Marketers who document their strategy and follow it closely are more effective than those who do not,” Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi says.

‘Content Marketing in Australia 2015: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends’ shows the results of a survey of 251 for-profit marketers from both B2B and B2C organisations.

This year 89% of organisations said their organisation uses content marketing, according to its new definition crafted by the Content Marketing Institute this year:

“A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Last year, the figure on this question was higher, with 93% or organisations saying they used content marketing. That was when it was defined as:

“The creation and distribution of educational and/or compelling content in multiple media formats to attract and/or retain customers.”

The top four content marketing challenges are:

  • Producing engaging content (50%),
  • lack of budget (48%),
  • producing content consistently (46%), and
  • measuring effectiveness (44%).

The most effective content marketers engaged in the following activities more than the average or least effective content marketers:

  • Have a documented content marketing strategy,
  • content marketing strategy very closely guides efforts,
  • have a dedicated content marketing group,
  • is successful at tracking ROI,
  • uses an average number of 14 tactics (compared to 12 on average),
  • uses an average number of six social platforms (on par with the average),
  • publishes new content daily or multiple times a week, and
  • allocates 36% of the total budget to content marketing (compared to 27% average).

The average organisation spent 27% of its total marketing budget on content marketing.

74% of Australian companies have created more or significantly more content over the last 12 months than previously. Although the majority are creating more content, some companies have slowed down since last year – in the 2013 study, 81% of respondents said they were creating more content than before.

49% of organisations publish new content daily or multiple times per week. 72% of the most effective Australian marketers follow this kind of regularity.

Unsurprisingly, larger organisations are targeting more audiences than smaller organisations. Enterprise firms with more than 1000 employees target an average of five audiences, while the overall average is four. 45% of respondents said they targeted two to three different audiences.

39% of companies have a dedicated content marketing group.

Responsibility for content marketing was most likely to fall under product marketing (25%) or business owners or C-level executives (23%).

Respondents considered content marketing goals in the following order of importance:

  • Engagement (87%),
  • brand awareness (85%),
  • lead generation (79%),
  • customer retention/loyalty (78%),
  • sales (74%),
  • lead nurturing (73%),
  • upsell/cross-sell (62%), and
  • customer evangelism (59%).

20% of respondents rated their company’s efforts to track content marketing ROI as either successful or very successful.

graph: success at tracking ROI

They ranked content marketing effectiveness metrics in the following order:

  • Website traffic (60%),
  • higher conversion rates (46%),
  • sales (46%),
  • SEO ranking (39%),
  • time spent on website (38%),
  • sales lead quality (37%),
  • qualitative feedback from customers (37%),
  • subscriber growth (32%),
  • sales lead quantity (29%),
  • benchmark lift of company awareness (29%),
  • inbound links (28%),
  • benchmark lift of product/service awareness (21%),
  • customer renewal rates (19%), and
  • cost savings (8%).

When it comes to tactics, more marketers are using in-person events than last year, while less are blogging.

Content marketing tactics used include:

  • Social media content – other than blogs (86%),
  • articles on your website (85%),
  • enewsletters (83%),
  • in-person events (74%),
  • case studies (72%),
  • videos (72%),
  • blogs (68%),
  • illustrations/photos (66%),
  • infographics (61%),
  • microsites (54%),
  • online presentations (47%), and
  • research reports (45%).

The top 10 list of tactics that marketers consider effective differs in order to the list of those that are most-used:

  1. In-person events (65%),
  2. enewsletters (62%),
  3. blogs (62%),
  4. whitepapers (61%),
  5. microsites (57%),
  6. case studies (57%),
  7. social media content – other than blogs (53%),
  8. videos (53%),
  9. articles on your website (52%), and
  10. research reports (50%).


Organisations are using an average of six different social media channels to distribute their content. Here are the top 10:

  1. LinkedIn (83% use, 57% say it’s effective),
  2. Facebook (81% use, 46% say it’s effective),
  3. Twitter (79% use, 53% say it’s effective),
  4. YouTube (70% use, 48% say it’s effective),
  5. Google+ (59% use, 19% say it’s effective),
  6. Instagram (33% use, 31% say it’s effective),
  7. Pinterest (31% use, 25% say it’s effective),
  8. Vimeo (24%),
  9. SlideShare (23%), and
  10. Flickr (13%).


SEM is the most commonly-used paid advertising method for distributing content. The seven most-used methods are:

  1. Search engine marketing (SEM) (68% use, 61% say it’s effective),
  2. social ads (63% use, 42% say it’s effective),
  3. print or other offline promotion (62% use, 42% say it’s effective),
  4. traditional online banner ads (58% use, 32% say it’s effective),
  5. promoted posts (50% use, 40% say it’s effective),
  6. native advertising (42% use, 33% say it’s effective), and
  7. content discovery tools (16% use, 33% say it’s effective).


Michelle Herbison
BY Michelle Herbison ON 21 November 2014
Assistant editor, Marketing Magazine.