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Meeting the Demand for Custom Content

New survey suggest that companies are struggling to produce the content they know they need. Consider the following findings of three recent studies:

  • 83 percent of top marketing executives are receptive to the idea that custom content should be an integral part of every marketing plan, and 84 percent go as far as to say that content marketing represents the future of marketing.
  • With custom content now accounting for upward of 20 percent of the average marketing budget, 66 percent of marketers say they are now moderately or even aggressively shifting their spending toward content marketing.
  • Of the marketing employees in American corporations working with custom content this year, 75 percent of them had roles that were specifically designated as editorial or design-focused. Yet the percentage of the workdays that these marketers spend developing custom content has declined: this year these employees spent 50 percent of their time on custom publications, down from 56 percent in 2018, and only 38 percent of their time on other content creation—not geared to traditional custom publications – down from 41 percent last year.
  • Despite the surge in interest in custom content, corporations remain frustrated in their search for content they can use: 40 percent of marketers said that producing engaging content was their biggest content marketing challenge; another 21 percent said they were concerned about producing enough content.

Taken together, these findings paint a picture of corporate marketing operations that are at once committed to custom content, frustrated by demands for custom content, and spread so thin in terms of tasks and staff time that finding the content and fulfilling their commitment to producing and distributing it is difficult at best.

The tension, it appears, is a byproduct of growth in the demand, but not the supply of content. It’s a question of companies trying to keep up with changes in the marketing landscape in general and the emergence of content marketing as a key discipline in particular.

Content marketing is continuing to evolve, and brands are engaging in more custom content than ever before. “With more competition among brands and their content, succeeding requires that brands engage more personnel – and more talented personnel. It goes hand-in-hand.

The question, however, is, Where is this personnel housed? While companies appear more likely to ask their content-producing employees to focus on such specialty areas as editorial and design, these employees are spending less of their time working on custom projects. Moreover, there are, on average, fewer full-time employees focused on custom content this year than there were in 2018. This year, the survey says, the average company has assigned 2.09 full-time equivalents to its custom content initiatives.

Despite these in-house trends, it’s critical to keep in mind that the aggregate amount of time and budget that marketers are now devoting to custom content has increased. The macro trend for the last decade, is that investment in content marketing – whether through allocating personnel or budget to custom projects – is on the rise.

The implication, then, is that to get the job done, companies are looking for outside help, in the form of external providers of content marketing services.

Corporations are struggling to respond to the demand for content by assigning specialists, rather than generalists, to the task of creating branded content, but these specialists are clearly stretched thin. If corporations are to sate their demand for content, they’ll need to outsource it to the growing bands of custom content providers that understand the various channels and distribution streams that are now available to them.

Last modified: July 24, 2021