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500 European C-suites reveal their thoughts on branded content

500 European c-suites had their say about branded content in the most extensive research study of its kind released in 2017, revealing an unexpected set of results.

Content marketing specialist Raconteur undertook a recent survey of over 500 European c-suites, with the results as follows:

  • It’s boring, repetitive and predictable! (71%)
  • It’s often too sales-driven and not credible (51%)
  • Bad design (UX and look & feel) kills engagement (57%)
  • Brands are missing a trick by shying away from long-form (65%)

This might sound like bad news for brands, but it’s not all doom and gloom. The report reveals that c-suites are in fact hungry for content – and many will actively research new sources themselves in the quest for the right kind. If brands manage to make a good impression, they will have won a valuable and trusted relationship.

The report provides a more in-depth picture than similar research in the same area. It corroborates many of the results from smaller studies by Forbes/ Deloitte, Grist and EUI when it comes to the appetite for thought leadership. However, the report also nuances and builds on the factors that produce successful content, especially in the area of design, which is the number one factor for engagement, according to Raconteur’s survey.

The findings are reinforced with commentary from leading industry experts and brands, such as Jason Miller, Global content marketing leader at LinkedIn, Jeremy Waite, Evangelist at IBM, Tom Goodwin, Head of Innovation at Zenith and Mark Schaefer, Adjunct Marketing Professor at Rutgers University.

In an age where there is over 211 million pieces of content produced every minute and ad-blocker use is rocketing, the report highlights the importance of investing in understanding your audience in order to cut through the noise. Brands who pick up this research are already closer to producing more meaningful and impactful content.

Facebook beats LinkedIn as content king for senior execs…

B2B content marketing agency, Grist has confirmed Facebook to be the ‘go to’ social platform for C-suite executives to seek business advice.

As a result of its new The Value of B2B Thought Leadership Survey – presenting the findings from more than 200 interviews conducted at FTSE 350 companies – Facebook was cited as the most popular social platform for senior executives to engage with business content (79 per cent), followed by Twitter (73 per cent) and LinkedIn (68 per cent).

Regards thought leadership, 84 per cent believe this plays an important part in adding value to their role. Meanwhile, two-thirds search for thought leadership particularly on a Monday and believe it fails to make an impact when it’s too generic (63 per cent); lacks original ideas (58 per cent); or doesn’t address the reader’s needs (53 per cent).

Andrew Rogerson, founder and managing director at Grist said: “This research is great news if you are in control of your firm’s marketing and communications programme. The C-suite clearly values thought leadership and is happy to receive it from advisers.

“However, we can also see that much of this content is below par. The C-suite is a sophisticated and demanding audience, and will not respond to rehashed marketing material. Instead, thought leadership must provide a return on investment (ROI), both for the firms that invest the money to produce it and the senior executives that invest time in reading it.

“Consider, too, that Facebook matters in business-to-business communications. The marketing department, content teams and agencies need to deal with the consequences of this and devise a compelling editorial plan that includes a wide range of channels and different perspectives.”

Format was also discussed, as 800-word articles (63 per cent) and 300-500-word blog posts are preferable to longer content pieces.

Access the full survey here

CMOs ‘first in firing line’ if company targets are not met…

The annual The C-level Disruptive Growth Opportunity’ online research report from Accenture Strategy analysing the attitudes of 535 CEOs and 847 CMOs from organisations around the world has determined that, although an estimated five ‘C-level executives’ are usually held responsible for driving disruptive business growth, the majority (37 per cent) will place CMOs first in the firing line if growth targets are not met.

The results found that CEOs depict CMOs to be the ‘primary driver’ of disruptive growth (50 per cent), closely followed by chief strategy officers (49 per cent), and chief sales officers (38 per cent). The majority of CMOs (96 per cent) also recognise the importance of disruptive growth to revenue potential, and an additional 75 per cent believe they have a great deal of control over the disruptive growth levers in their company.

Senior managing director leading Advanced Customer Strategy at Accenture, Robert Wollan commented: “Organisations that rely on ‘growth by committee’ struggle to achieve their targets. It breeds a C-suite culture where everyone is responsible, yet no one is accountable – and onus unduly falls onto someone, usually the CMO.

“CMOs can take a greater role by actively driving the disruptive growth agenda and generating new value for the business. Such initiatives include developing ecosystems with non-traditional players, launching platforms that elevate current products into expanded service models for customers, and increasing revenue through next generation connected data monetisation – all of which CMOs are well positioned to do.”

The report did, however, acknowledge that many CMOs are not currently in a position to drive disruptive growth due to time and mind-set. Only 30 per cent of believe they are cutting-edge marketing innovators, and 37 per cent of their time is spent on innovation. Furthermore, 60 per cent claim to spend the majority of their time on ‘traditional marketing initiatives’, such as improving customer experience and maintaining brand image.

While evidently important, 54 per cent state a large portion of their marketing budget is being wasted and not delivering the results the business expects.
Download the full report here