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Key Findings September 2013

Small B2B Marketers and B2B Enterprise Marketers Bet Budgets on Content Marketing

Hand Drawing Content Flow ChartThey may differ when it comes to focus and use of specific tactics, but according to a recent study, small B2B marketers (10-99 employees) and their B2B enterprise peers (1,000+ employees) continue to build marketing programs on a foundation of content.  For example, both groups agree that in-person events are the most effective content marketing tactic; yet, marketers at small B2Bs favor social media (other than blogs) as the content marketing tactic they use most often, compared to marketers at B2B enterprises who prefer video.

The study was generated from results of a survey conducted by The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) of some 1,416 business-to-business (B2B) marketers from 398 small businesses and 216 enterprise organizations in North America.

CMI found that 57% of B2B small business marketers plan to increase the amount allocated to content marketing over the next 12 months, compared with 46% of their B2B enterprise peers.

Brand awareness is the top goal for both B2B small business marketers and their B2B enterprise peers. Goals for small B2Bs ranked Brand Awareness (82%), Customer Acquisition (78%), Lead Generation (74%), Customer Retention/Loyalty (69%), Thought Leadership (67%),  Website Traffic (66%), Engagement(63%), Sales (49%) and Lead Management/Nurturing (47%).

Among the B2B small business marketers, here’s how content marketing tactic preferences shake out: social media (other than blogs) 86%, website articles 82%, enewsletters 81%, blogs 76%, case studies 75%, videos 73%, in-person events 71%, articles on other websites 69%, white papers 64%, webinars/webcasts 60%, research reports 42%, infographics 39%, branded content tools 36%, microsites 33%, print magazines 31%, books 29%, mobile content 27%, virtual conferences 24%, mobile apps 23%, digital magazines 22%, licensed/syndicated content 22%, print newsletters 22%, podcasts 20%, annual reports 15% and games/gamification 10%.

Both groups said they still need work mastering content marketing, with just over 30% admitting their organizations are effective at the strategy.


Women Know What They Want…Keep Asking

what_women_want1Most marketers targeting “women” know how challenging it can be. Let’s face it, when you are marketing to a group who’s prerogative is to change their minds, you’ve got your work cut out for you. And if you think you have it figured out, prepare to be schooled.

Former University of Pennsylvania frat boy, Ryan Harwood, thought he knew women. He had grown up with a sister and his mother’s best friend had four daughters. He knew they generally controlled much of the household budget and were primarily “chief purchasing officers” for their families. He also  did his research into existing studies and focus group data.

Harwood eventually convinced a company targeting women to hire him to manage its email newsletter, an offshoot of its website. He continued his research and hosted more focus groups of women of various ages. He asked them what they liked to read online, what they didn’t like–and says he got some intuition-defying answers.

1. Women of all ages are sick of parenting advice. Focus groups told me mommy-blog space is oversaturated, Harwood says. Even parents were sick of being pigeonholed as being only interested in reading about parenting.

2. Women don’t necessarily read what’s targeted at them. About 25% of the women at the focus groups said they were reading magazines and websites for much younger women. Women well into their 20s, for example, were picking up Seventeen. Why? Because nothing served them better. Younger publications are very fashion-forward.

3. Women don’t define themselves by their narrow interests. Women in Harwood’s focus groups told him it’s fine for publications to write specifically for women, but they didn’t like being categorized any further. Harwood says: “The message was, don’t silo me. Don’t say I’m a divorcée, a mom, an office worker. We are women at the core, and identify with that, regardless of stage of life.”

Another lesson Harwood learned was to expect the unexpected, and not to bank 100% on focus group data. While women said they wanted to read about wine, turned out they didn’t really. Yet, surprisingly to him, technology articles on his company’s website are often the most extensively shared. Neither of which he saw coming.

Three takeaways from Harwood’s lessons…don’t believe you have women figured out, keep asking, be willing to modify assumptions as needed, and admit it when you are wrong.

Transactivating the Next U.S. Power Grid

transactive energyThe U.S. power grid has been called a modern engineering marvel, but it’s long overdue for a massive upgrade. Enter big thinkers and an emerging concept for the future: transactive energy. Huh?

“Transactive energy is a means of using economic signals or incentives to engage all the intelligent devices in the power grid—from the consumer to the transmission system—to get a more optimal allocation of resources and engage demand in ways we haven’t been able to before,” said Carl Imhoff, manager of the electricity infrastructure sector for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and moderator at the first U.S. conference on the subject held earlier this year.

Utilities across the country are amassing volumes of data from newly installed smart grid systems. Transactive energy systems, say the experts, will aide in putting all that data to work, integrating both utility-owned and third-party-owned resources, including power generation, ancillary services, load management services, etc. in order to secure the lowest-cost electricity in real time.

The key driver of this concept is economic: everybody wins — service providers, consumers and potentially, the environment.

“A transactive energy system utilizes smart grid infrastructure to send signals back and forth between utilities, grid operators and individual assets in the grid system, communicating the real-time flow and cost of power,” blogs Reese Rogers, a MAP Sustainable Energy Fellow at Worldwatch Institute.

According to Rogers, this is no pipedream. Transactive energy demonstration projects are now under way to begin understanding the challenges and full benefits of such systems. The Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project is the largest transactive energy demonstration in the U.S. at present. (Source:

“Certainly these are large challenges to surmount”, he said, “which require not only technical solutions and regulatory reform, but also a shift in thinking away from a decades-old mindset of a centralized electricity system. But the good news is the right people, including utilities, regulators, grid operators, and other stakeholders are coming to the table. The transition to a transactive energy system will be an evolution, not a revolution.”


Cubicles? Open-Plan? Workplace Designers Still Miss Mark with Office Workers

WORKPLACE DESIGNAccording to a study by the Journal of Experimental Psychology, the open-plan workplace, despite its widespread adoption by many of America’s trendy tech companies, doesn’t necessarily improve communication or boost productivity. CBS This Morning recently interviewed Huffington Post’s senior columnist on Life/Work/Family, Lisa Belkin, about the report that surveyed 42,000 U.S. office workers in 303 buildings. “Work space designers and others originally believed open-plan space would aid in cross pollination of ideas,” said Belkin. “Those surveyed, however, said several drawbacks hinder this.For one, open-plans don’t allow for varied work styles. In many cases, it doesn’t offer workers privacy when they need it, while others find open-plans too noisy.”

At the other end of the spectrum are cubicles which still seem to dominate most of today’s office environments despite worker disdain. Immortalized in movies such as Office Space and the television sitcom, The Office, “cubes” were introduced by furniture designer Robert Propst in 1969 and sold as “flexible, semi-enclosed workspaces” by, of all companies, Herman Miller. The Action Office line of cubicles are still manufactured and marketed by Herman Miller today, which claims a $5 billion install base.
Cubes have evolved but not in a good way, according to their creator. In 1997, Propst said that he had hoped his idea would “give knowledge workers a more flexible, fluid environment,” but regretted his idea had evolved into “rat-maze boxes of offices,” saying that “the cubicle-izing of people in modern corporations is monolithic insanity.”

In the future, Belkin thinks we will see more variety in workplace design. “It is likely we will see areas where employees can congregate, mixed in with smaller quiet spaces — places to make phone calls, stretch out on a couch and get together one-on-one,” she said. Alas, it would seem the dream of a corner office may be difficult for many of us to shake even though planners say “forget about it.” According to this study, the most satisfied workers are those with private offices.




  • 75% of engagement on a Facebook post occurs within the first five hours. It only takes 2 hours, 30 minutes for a post to get 75% of the total impressions it will get. In regard to reach, 75% of your post’s audience sees your post in less than 2 hours. Furthermore, it takes just 30 minutes for a post to get 50% of its global reach. (
  • Americans watched 20.1 billion online video ads in June 2013, up 27% from the previous month. (comScore 703-438-2000)
  • More than eight in 10 U.S. bank account holders (85%) are concerned about online banking fraud. (Entersekt 678-781-7238)
  • B2B Content Marketing tactics usage trends from 2011 to 2012: Use of research reports has risen from 25% to 44%; Use of video has risen from 52% to 70%; Use of mobile content has risen from 15% to 33%;Use of virtual conferences has risen from 10% to 28%. (
  • 78% of CMOs say the marketing organization’s influence on corporate strategy is much greater, and 56% agree that they’re spending more time in front of the board of directors. (

Brand Strategy

  • 75% of engagement on a Facebook post occurs within the first five hours. It only takes 2 hours, 30 minutes for a post to get 75% of the total impressions it will get. In regard to reach, 75% of your post’s audience sees your post in less than 2 hours. Furthermore, it takes just 30 minutes for a post to get 50% of its global reach. (
  • ANA’s newest Trends in Agency Compensation survey reports fee-based compensation is on the rise, representing 81% of comp agreements in 2013. The use of risk-reward structures, where agencies risk a downside if they underperform, has risen sharply over the past three years. Tellingly, there’s been a huge jump in the involvement of procurement teams in agency compensation reviews, to 82% from 56% over the past three years. (
  • Nearly all Americans (97%) watch TV, according to Viamedia. More than seven in 10 (72%) watch cable TV, and 33% watch on devices other than TV sets (smartphones, tablets, or computers). (Consumer Trend Research)
  • E-commerce accounted for 5.4% of total retail sales in the U.S. in Q4 2012, up from 3.6% in Q1 2008, according to Nielsen, and is expected to grow 8.5% annually through 2016, nearly double the rate of any other single retail channel. (State of the Shopping Center)
  • One in seven opt-in commercial emails (14%) sent to U.S. consumers in the first six months of 2013 never made it to the intended recipients. (Return Path 212-905-5500)


  • Nationwide, nearly 125,000 convenience stores are responsible for an estimated 80% of all gas sold in the United States, according to National Association of Convenience Stores. (
  • It can take up to 7 million gallons of water to frack a single well, and at least 30% of that water is lost forever. (
  • About 40% of all seaborne cargo is oil, and there is literally more seaborne cargo at any given time (by weight) than there are fish in the sea. (
  • The difference in power generation between solar power and oil production is more than the difference between a professional bicyclist and a Formula 1 racecar. If solar power generation doubled every decade for 100 years, it would still be pretty far behind oil today. (
  • Over the next three years, wind power is expected to increase by a whopping 34%. Predictions were pushed 9 percentage points higher after Congress voted in January to extend wind’s renewable-energy production tax credit. (


  • The top-grossing athletic fundraisers in 2012 (revenue in millions) were Relay for Life (American Cancer Society) $407.5; Race for the Cure (Susan G. Komen for the Cure) $126.8; March for Babies (March of Dimes) 107.0; Heart Walk (American Heart Association) 97.8; and Bike MS (National MS Society) 82.3. (Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council)
  • 13% of American women 50 or older experience symptoms of an eating disorder; 60% report that their concerns about weight and shape negatively affect their lives; and 70% are trying to lose weight. (
  • Americans who live in rural areas are 22% more likely to die from injuries than peope who live in cities. (Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania 215-349-8369)
  • Americans who never attend religious services are almost three times as likely to smoke as those who attend at least weekly. 30% vs. 12%. (Gallup 202-715-3030)
  • Increased use of imaging (e.g., CT, MRI) has led to sharp increases in the incidental diagnosis of low-risk thyroid cancers that often are treated unnecessarily, according to a BMJ analysis. Thyroidectomy is being performed more and more often, rising by 60% between 1996 and 2006. While diagnosis of low-risk lesions has tripled over the past three decades, the death rates from thyroid cancer have remained stable. (NEJM Journal Watch)

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