The 3 Biggest Challenges in Content Marketing

By Patrick Coffee Comment


Content marketing–whatever that means to you–is here to stay. The second part of a study (download here) commissioned by The Content Council and AdAge found that clients’ CMOs are twice as enthusiastic about it as they were in 2013.

  • 39.7 percent of respondents cited a “strong” or “extremely strong” commitment to CM–an increase of more than 100 percent since 2013
  • 75.9 predict a strong commitment over the next two years, meaning the numbers will continue to rise

We covered the first part of the paper in April and found that the biggest trends in the practice were more money, more measurement, and a greater focus on influence over sales.

In the follow-up, respondents laid out the biggest challenges in content marketing.

1. Creating the RIGHT kind of content

This one isn’t a huge surprise, but it’s telling: organizations would love for every content project to be wildly successful, but there’s no way to ensure that happens.

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Mike Scafidi, director of digital marketing and integrated media for Pepsi North America, adds:

“The biggest challenge is that we are moving from an industry that could create one amazing commercial to reach consumers to an ecosystem with a diversified channel structure.”

In other words, it USED to be all about advertising. Not any more.

2. Improving customer satisfaction and engaging employees

The second chart tells us that, while content marketing may lead directly to sales and increase brand perception, other things are less clear.

How can one increase current customers’ satisfaction with a service by using content? And how can it reach an organization’s own employees?

content mktg 2

3. Measurement

More than 40 percent of participants in this study said that content marketing is not measurable. That’s a big challenge.

Now note the ways they try to measure it:

content mktg 3

Interesting to see how many still refer to web traffic as the most important way to measure success–but any PR pro worth his or her salt will tell you that’s not quite true.

Julie Fleischer, senior director of data, content and media at Kraft, says:

“As long as content is measured by esoteric things like impressions and engagement rates, it will be hard to move budget into content.”

Her company’s solution is to focus obsessively on every conceivable measurement…but Kraft can afford to do that because it is a huge multinational corporation.

The key takeaway here is that PR is poised to win big in content marketing–as long as it can convince clients that the practice is more valuable than basic numbers can convey.

The Content Council will discuss its findings in a June 17 webinar; here’s the page to register.