Let’s start with a simple question – what is ‘Content Marketing’ and is it different from things like ‘Inbound Marketing’ and ‘Permission Marketing’?

I’ll keep the answer high level. Essentially, these phrases all mean different things to different people but are the various new names for what is perhaps better known as ‘thought leadership’. The thing that has changed today is that there are now so many ways to create, publish and share content that you don’t actually need to be a thought leader to get involved in content marketing.

In a recent content marketing strategy survey carried out by Hubspot and Smartinsights, 2,688 European marketers were asked to summarise how their businesses and marketing strategies were moulding with regards to the new way of marketing. The survey brought up some interesting results.

The stats from Hubspot & Smartinsight’s survey do indicate a ‘change in the wind’.  For example:

  • 32.3% of the brands surveyed say they’ve integrated content marketing into their marketing communications or inbound strategies
  • 40.3% of brands have increased their use of external resource in order to create branded content
  • 55.1% have increased their internal resource for the same.

All this said though, it’s evident that UK businesses still have a long way to go – with 36% of them being entirely inconsistent with their content marketing strategies and 56% currently do not have a defined content marketing strategy at all.

We know that businesses are struggling to comprehend the value to their brand of content marketing and, more importantly, are trying to work out how to assimilate their traditional media mix with this new age of customer engagement.  Simply put: if a brand knows that £1m media spend equates to XX amount of sales, but cannot confidently do the same calculation with a content marketing strategy, then they are more likely to stick to what they know – i.e. maintain their traditional (paid media-focussed) strategy.

This has been the case for some considerable time in the UK and we’re still a long way off that changing – which is proven in the infographic below.

Even as businesses begin to realise the importance of having a content marketing strategy, there is still the ongoing issue with regards to the quality and relevance of the content.  Remember that it’s one thing to have a strategy and an armoury full of useful ‘on topic’ content; it’s another to litter the internet with poorly considered blogs and articles on a raft of unconnected topics.

As businesses attempt to take more content creation activity in-house (as seen in the stats below), it’ll be interesting to see just how much of it actually hits the mark with the intended audiences. Whatever happens, it’s certain that the old adage of ‘quality over quantity’ will hold true.


This post takes its inspiration and much of its content from a blog by Martin O’Toole of Fist of Fury Read his blog here and you can follow him on Twitter @martinotoole.

Here’s the infographic:

Hubspot content marketing infographic