Global Business Executives to Marketers: Stop Marketing

New Study from The Economist Group Content Solutions in Association with Peppercomm Reveals Significant Gaps Between How Marketers Are Approaching Content Marketing and What Global Executives Value.

A study of 500 global business executives and 500 marketers conducted by The Economist Group Content Solutions in association with communications firm Peppercomm found that while 93 percent of marketers plan to maintain or increase their investment in content, most are missing the mark. The report titled, “Missing the Mark: Global Content Survey of Brand Marketers and their B2B Audiences,” found that global business executives are seeking substance, while companies are largely still marketing.

Seventy-five percent of global business executives report that the primary purpose for seeking content is researching a business idea, and only 16 percent said it was to support a purchasing decision. However, 75 percent of marketers said that mentions of their products or services are a frequent part of their content strategy.

“Business executives are looking for context and perspective to help them do their jobs better,” said Elena Sukacheva, Managing Director, Content Solutions at The Economist Group. “Brands that can help provide it will become trusted advisors, but to do so they have to put the reader first.”

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • Global business audiences judge content on its distinctiveness, while marketers judge success on sales. Sixty-seven percent of business executives said that content that contained timely or unique information had a meaningful impact on their perception of a brand and 71 percent report that one of the primary reasons content from companies turn them off is when it seems like a sales pitch. Meanwhile, 70 percent of brands said they measure the effectiveness of their content by the number of calls from customers and prospects and 93 percent say they tie their content directly to their products and services.
  • Business executives still rely on text. Eighty-five percent of global executives report that they prefer text to video or audio and 78% said they prefer using their desktop or laptop computer rather than smartphones or tablets.
  • Marketers lack organizational alignment. Only 31 percent of companies reported that their content strategy is highly understood and implemented throughout the organization.

“Content has become the new currency between brands and their audiences as business executives seek quick and efficient access to information that enhances their ability to make decisions and understand changes in their industries,” said Ted Birkhahn, President and Partner at Peppercomm. “To engage meaningfully with today’s business executives, brands must think like a publisher, listen intently and understand how to create, curate and deliver content on the audience’s terms, not their own.”

The survey was conducted with the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Opinion Leaders Panel, made up of more than 100,000 global executives. More than 40% of the business executives surveyed are C-level, representing a wide array of industries, geographies, and company sizes. The complete survey results can be found here:

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About The Economist Group Content Solutions
In an era of information overload, The Economist Group Content Solutions helps organizations be heard by the world’s most influential people. With 60 years of experience of delivering content to clients, bolstered by 650 expert analyst and editors worldwide across 200 countries – underpinned by an unrivaled in-house survey panel that bolsters the qualitative and quantitative analysis we undertake – we have the depth and breadth to deliver vital business intelligence which can rise above the noise.

About Peppercomm
Peppercomm, Inc., an award-winning strategic, integrated communications and marketing firm headquartered in New York City with offices in San Francisco and London, prides itself on listening first, last and always. The firm’s tagline: “Listen. Engage. Repeat.” emphasizes the unique approach Peppercomm takes in understanding exactly how a client can engage in authentic conversations with its audience. Peppercomm was ranked No. 1 in Crain’s New York Business Best Places to Work 2012, is currently ranked number 30 on a national industry list by PRWeek, and was a finalist for the 2012 PR Week Midsize Agency of the Year. More information about the agency may be found at its new website