Worse still, according to the report, is that marketers are forced to operate under a misguided content strategy driven mostly by budget, time and the whims of executives.

These are the key findings of the new report, which was produced in partnership with Rock Content and titled, Turning a Creative Eye on Content ROI. The report reveals the extent of the content marketing problem, which ranges from strategy to quality to distribution to measurement.

Marketers have indicated that the top three factors that impacts, directs and shapes content strategy include:
  • budget (49%)
  • time (44%)
  • executive request (32%)
Marketers also indicated the following regarding content quality and impact:
  • 43% rate their content as hit or miss without real consistency
  • 16% struggle to create content that is impactful with customers and prospects
  • Only 31% rate content highly or exceptional
The report is based on a CMO Council survey of 195 marketing leaders and eight in-depth interviews with executives from:
  • IBM
  • ABC Entertainment Marketing Studios
  • Autodesk
  • The Economist
  • Fast Company
  • Fuzzy Door
  • Guinness World Records, and
  • Boston Ballet.
"Prospects, customers and partners expect contextually relevant content distributed over the right channel at the right time," says Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council.

"When content hits the mark, results can move the sales motion forward and even influence the way a product is sold or delivered. When it doesn't, at the very least, it wastes budget, devalues marketing's efforts and loses customer attention," adds Neale-May. 

According to the report, marketers clearly have work to do to improve content performance and return. At the top of their wish list is knowing if the content being created actually influences and engages the audience, the report found. Marketers also tend to produce too much content.

Diego Gomes, CEO of Rock Content, says, "Producing any content without understanding the buyer or their intent can compromise the best-laid marketing programmes and demand generation campaigns."

"This means doing a bit more work during the research phase to analyse data and make informed decisions to produce the right content strategy that will fuel the creation of engaging content that drives outcomes," adds Gomes.

"Today, there is an array of content types, such as user-generated content, video and podcasts and distribution channels available to marketers that can lead them astray. The challenge is keeping up with content marketing's rapid evolution, while never losing focus on content's impact on its audience," says marketing leaders in the report.


When Hollywood star Jennifer Aniston broke the record for the fastest time to reach a million followers on Instagram — 12 hours, three minutes — the Guinness World Records team leaped into action. Records management needed to verify the feat in order for marketing to create newsy content and post it across the organisation's social platform.

"Ten years ago, our content strategy was telling stories when our book came out," says Samantha Fay, senior vice president of global brand strategy at Guinness World Records. "But now, with 24/7 rolling news, records need to be reported on as they're broken."

The report delves into the qualities of content and distribution practices and provides tips on measuring content's impact. Good content fills a specific need for the target audience, while selective distribution identifies where and when they'll most likely engage with the content.

"Content is a company's most important asset," concludes Robert Schefferine, vice president of production at ABC Entertainment Marketing Studios. "It's the way you communicate to customers about who you are, what your brand is all about, why people should care and that you care about your customer."

For more information, visit www.cmocouncil.org. You can also follow the CMO Council on Twitter.