36 stats spot signs between content marketing success or failure 0

Posted on February 22, 2016 by Rob Petersen


Content Marketing

Content marketing is now used by 88% of organizations and 76% plan on producing more content this year than last according to the Content Marketing Institute.

With this many companies doing content marketing, there are bound to be winners and losers.

To help you differentiate the two, here are 36 stats that spot signs between content marketing success or failure.


Companies that struggle with content marketing use only a portion of their marketing staff, have trouble development engaging content, lack a consistent strategy, don’t identify their audience and have a measurement plan. As a result, they don’t see the business value in content marketing.

  1. 87% of companies say that developing engaging content is a major challenge. (Forrester)
  2. 85% of B2B marketing leaders fail to connect content activities to business value. (Forrester)
  3. 80-70% of content in most marketing organizations goes mostly unused. (Sirius Decisions)
  4. 72% of surveyed marketers say less than half of their marketing staff plays a primary role in content marketing today — leaving content to quickly degrade to talk of products, features, and what the company has to offer, rather than cleverly packaged bits of the interesting insights buyers crave. (Forrester)
  5. 70% of marketers lack a consistent or integrated content strategy. (Altimeter)
  6. 60% of corporate marketers say they have no to very little understanding of what the best practices are for buyer persona development. (Tony Zambito)
  7. 56% say lack of data quality and completeness is most challenging obstacle to content marketing success. (Act-On)
  8. 32% of B2B marketers are challenged with finding trained content marketing professionals versus 10% last year. (Content Marketing Institute)
  9. 31% of Fortune 500 enterprises now maintain an official blog, down from 34% in 2013. (Sword and the Script)
  10. Top 5 Content Marketing Challenges: Lack of Time/Bandwidth to Create Content (51%); Producing Enough Content Variety/Volume (50%); Producing Truly Engaging Content (42%); Measuring Content Effectiveness (38%); Developing Consistent Content Strategy (34%). (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community)


Companies that succeed with content marketing have identified business goals, know their buyer personas, make content marketing a company competency, use a variety of content forms, curate and re-purpose content and have metrics to measure success, often throughout the entire buying cycle. They also cite trust as an important benefit to content marketing.

  1. Top 3 factors that make content effective: Audience Relevance (58%); Engaging and Compelling Storytelling (57%); Triggers a Response/Action (54%). (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community)
  2. CMOs at the largest technology companies report that building out content marketing as an organizational competency is the 2nd most important initiative, only behind measuring ROI. (IDC)
  3. 86% of B2B buyers “frequently” use mobile phones to access business-related content. (DemandGen Report)
  4. 85% of corporate marketers are using buyer personas for content marketing and messaging. But only 15% say their buyer personas are very to significantly effective. (Tony Zambito)
  5. 82% of marketers curate content. (IMN Inc.)
  6. 71% of business bloggers have some type of center of excellence team. (i.e., a team that provides a blogging code of conduct, audience engagement guidelines, best practices and guidance to help internal teams execute their own blogging activities). (Curata)
  7. Most effective B2B content marketing tactics are in-person events (cited by 69% of marketers), webinars/webcasts (64%), video (60%), and blogs (60%). (eMarketer)
  8. 67% of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make B2B purchasing decisions than they did a year ago. (DemandGen Report)
  9. 54% of corporate marketers say that quality content is among the most effective SEO tactics their company uses, while 50% also cite (closely related) frequent website updates. (MediaPost)
  10. 52% of marketers support 2 to 4 roles and buyer personas with dedicated content. (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community)
  11. Top 3 drivers of blog content strategy include: personas, audience demographics and buying stage. (Curata)
  12. 48% of marketers support 3 to 5 buying stages with dedicated content. (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community)
  13. 52% of consumers say watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions. (Ber|Art)
  14. 46% of people say they’d be more likely to seek out information about a product or service after seeing it in an online video. (41 Stories)
  15. Over 2/3rds of companies report that their video content budget is increasing. (53% “slightly” and 16% “significantly”). (DemandMetric)
  16. 41% of marketers say driving sales is the No. 1 goal for their content marketing strategies; 94% put sales in their top five content marketing goals. Brand awareness was the second-most-popular goal with 88% adding it to their top five, while 21% ranked lead generation as their No. 1 goal. (MediaPost)
  17. Most-trusted types of online promotional content include peer reviews, natural search results, and brand Web sites, while display advertising and push text messages are the least trusted. (MediaPost)
  18. Over 50% of marketers that curate content indicate that it has increased their brand visibility, thought leadership, SEO, web traffic and buyer engagement. (Curata)
  19. 41% of marketers that curate content indicate that it has increased the number and/or quality of their sales-ready leads. (Curata)
  20. Most useful forms of content when making online B2B purchases are technical brochures / specification sheets (cited by 61% of buyers), followed by instruction manuals / how-to documents (46%), videos (38%) and case studies (31%). Less than a third said webinars, while a quarter value infographics and social media activity. (V3B Blog)
  21. 29% of leading marketers systematically reuse and re-purpose content. (Curata)
  22. Brands that use shortened URLs with a “vanity domain” experience an average increased click volume of 25% compared to long URLs or generic URL shorteners. (Social Media Today)
  23. Content shared on Thursdays has the longest “link lifespan” (people still clicking on those links several days later). (Social Media Today)
  24. Marketers’ top investment areas across the content marketing space: Curation & Aggregation (38%); Creation (34%); Workflow (29%). (Altimeter)
  25. Top 5 content marketing metrics: Web Traffic/Visits (63%); Views/Downloads (59%); Lead Quantity (42%); Lead Quality (39%); Social Media Sharing (36%). (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community)
  26. Metrics for B2B content marketing success: Sales Lead Quality (87%); Sales (84%); High Conversion Rates (82%); Sales Lead Quantity (71%); Website Traffic (71%); Brand Lift (69%); SEO Ranking (87%) (Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs)

Do these statistics help you spot the signs of success or failure to content marketing for your company? Do you need help getting on the right track with your organization’s content marketing?

30 statistics explain struggles and success of Startups 0

Posted on September 14, 2015 by Rob Petersen




Few accomplishments in business are as gratifying as having an idea for something that didn’t exist before turn into a success through hard work, perseverance and smart decision making.

We (BarnRaisers) get approached by Startups for marketing services, as a full service digital marketing agency that builds brands with proven relationship principles and ROI; perhaps more than most businesses.

We’ve been inspired by Startups’ success but also know the many struggles. We admire people who follow their passions but have to make decisions knowing the realities. What have we learned?

Here are 30 statistics to explain struggles and success of Startups.

LIKELIHOOD OF SUCCESS: Most won’t make it, but those who listen to change, remain flexible and know how to recover have a much better chance.

  • 90% of Startups fail (Mashable)
  • 74%, failed due to premature scaling. Premature scaling means spending money on marketing, hiring etc. either before you found a working business model (Quora)
  • 62% of Startups fail due to co-founder conflicts (Funders and Founders)
  • 52% are less likely to scale prematurely if the startup has “pivoted” once or twice (Quora)
  • 50% face development problem (Five for Focus)
  • 45% close their doors in six months (Five for Focus)
  • 42% identified “lack of a market need for their product” as the single biggest reason for their failure (Forbes)
  • 30% struggle with time issue (Five for Focus)
  • 30% fail because their management was not experienced enough to handle finances, hiring and marketing (Entrepreneurial Insights)
  • 20% find their hang-up in sales and marketing
  • 10% of Startsups succeed because they listen to change, stay flexible and know how to recover. (Forbes)
  • Customized eCommerce, Education Technology, Mobile App Development, Green Technology and Wearable Technology are areas where Startups that are expected to surge (Mashable)

FOUNDERS: Two heads are generally better than one. Experience counts, even if the experience at the previous Startup wasn’t a good one. A good VC firm can increase the chances of success.

  • 80% and successful Startups have multiple founders (VC Josh Hannah)
  • 68% of founders believe the odds of their succeeding are better than others in their sector (Harvard Business School)
  • 48% of founders are between 35-44 (Gist)
  • 29% are between 26-34 (Gist)
  • 39% have experience as a Founder/CEO of another Startup (Mashable)
  • 20% of founders who have failed on their first Startup, succeed on their second (Quora)
  • 10% of first time founder succeed (Quora)
  • Failed entrepreneurs who are funded by experienced VC firms have a 22.1% chance of succeeding (OnStartups)
  • First-time entrepreneurs have a 17.6% chance of succeeding when funded by more experienced VC firms (OnStartups)
  • Only 8% are female founders and 92% are male founders (Founder’s Guide)
  • Founders could be making no salary to salaries that are competitive with other industries (Quora)

FUNDING: Only a small percentage of startups are funded by VC’s; most are self-funded.

  • Only 1% of funding for Startups comes from VC firms (Entrepreneur)
  • 3% comes from Crowdsourcing (Entrepreneur)
  • 3% comes from banks (Business Ideas Lab)
  • 24% comes form friends and family (Entrepreneur)
  • 41% are funded by loans (Entrepreneur)
  • 41% are funded by lines of credit (Entrepreneur)
  • 80% are self-funded (Entrepreneur)

Many Startups start with less than 5 employees according to Nathan Therrian, a benefits broker for startups. So a lot of work and responsibility is generally spread across a small number of people.

If you need more information to make your decision about working with or at a startup, there are some good Infographics on startups. Below is one of them.

Did this explain struggles and success of Startups for you? Did it inspire or discourage you? Or give you a perspective that you needed?

Startups infographic #1

10 big ways social media participation raises search ranking 0

Posted on July 06, 2015 by Rob Petersen



social media and search ranking

  • 54% of people find a website from natural search results (source: Forrester)
  • 33% choose the website in the #1 position on the first search page (source: Chitika)
  • 32% find a website from social network sites (source: Forrester)

The numbers say high search ranking and strong social media presence give a website the best chances of being found.

But a website has an even better chance if social media and search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, the strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the amount of visitors to a website by obtaining a high search engine ranking, work together.

Here are 10 real ways social media participation raises search ranking.

  1. KEYWORDS SET GOALS: To get to a top rank, you have to start with the keywords you want to rank highly for. No software platform is a substitute for your own judgement. But Google Webmaster Tools can tell you what keywords people use who come to your website. Google Keyword Planner can tell what is the monthly search volume for those keywords and social monitoring tools like Topsy, Social Searcher and Radian 6 can tell your what people say about these keywords and your brand. Together, they give you a road map for the keywords on social network sites and your website that are likely to attract the most attention and interest.
  2. SOCIAL MEDIA IMPROVES LINK POTENTIAL FOR SEO: Social media activity helps increase awareness of a brand’s website content. This increased familiarity leads to links that signals to search engines your brand is an authority on your chosen topics. Tools like Alexa and Marketing Grader measure if social media is increasing links to your website.
  3. SOCIAL SHARES ARE THE NEW WAY TO BUILD LINKS: Because links raise search rank through authority, they have been manipulated in the past through black hat techniques such as invisible text and creating “fake” websites. Google now discredits these tactics. Instead, they have chosen to look at links through social signals like blog mentions, Tweets, Facebook Posts and+1s as a non-manipulated way of getting links and demonstrating authority.
  4. AUTHORSHIP SHOWS AUTHORITY: Google+ allows an author’s picture to appear next to search results of content they have created. With Google authorship, you can improve your search ranking and brand yourself as a thought leader in your field as well as add a face to your work.
  5. GOOGLE FAVORS GOOGLE+: Google+ may not be a great social network but Google has given their Plus button a big advantage when it comes to their own ranking factors. If you have a Google+ button on your website, sharing on Google+ can have a big effect on search ranking.
  6. SOCIAL MEDIA PROFILES RANK IN SEARCH ENGINES: While social shares may or may not affect a webpage’s position in search listings, your social profiles definitely influence search results. In fact, social media profiles are often among the top results in search listings for brand names. They can double, triple and quadruple the number of times your brand is seen on a search engine page.
  7. SOCIAL NETWORKS ARE SEARCH ENGINES TOO: People don’t just go to Google or Bing to look up things. For example, YouTube is the #2 search engine. If your business is active on a particular social network, it’s likely people are going to find out about you there as well as search engines.
  8. GOOGLE AND TWITTER EQUAL STRONGER SEARCH: In February, Google and Twitter penned a deal giving Google access to the “fire hose” of Twitter’s public data, generated by its 300 million users. Now, all of Twitter’s profile information, Tweets, and other public data are immediately accessed and available on Google in real time.
  9. CONTENT LIVES IN TWO PLACES: Even with all these ways social media and SEO can work together, great content is still the primary ingredient that raises search ranking. Now, it can live and be distributed in two places – on your social networks and your website.
  10. IF YOU CAN’T MEASURE IT, YOU CAN’T MANAGE IT: Now, with a plan and process in plan, a measurement plan can help measure your progress and optimize results. Look at goals and track progress through metrics like keyword rank, website visits, Likes, Re-Tweets, Shares, Comments, Views and conversions. Make the measurement that are most important your Key Performance Indicators.

SEO doesn’t have to be technical or handled by technical people. In fact, if you are consistently putting out strong keyword-based content in a variety of places, you should see the impact of social media and SEO working together in short order.

Did these ways convince you that social media participation raises search engine ranking? Does your business need help making it happen?

5 ways for marketers to win with Millennials (Infographic) 0

Posted on May 24, 2015 by Rob Petersen




by Richard Kao and COS, (BarnRaisers Community Builders)

1. Make Your Products & Services Useful & Affordable

Millennial consumers had to absorb the impact of the 2008 financial crisis characterized by massive student loan burdens and recession. The generation is hopeful, yet they remain cautious of their spending.

57% of the Millennials surveyed said their spending habits won’t change even with the $30 billion inheritance money that will come from Baby Boomers.

If you want to earn this generation’s support, making your products and services as useful as they can be while staying within reach of budgets is the way to go.

And for good measure, revamp your return policy as 55% of Millennials are always on the lookout for the most affordable return option when shopping.

Just take who built a business around shoes AND their easy, efficient return policy. If you’re not 100% satisfied with your purchase, just return the merchandise (within 1 year of purchase) and that’s it. There are no shipping fees to deal with, and there’s no need for receipts as you shopped online and orders are tracked.

Lesson learned: keep your products high-quality and affordable and your return policy easy and clutter-free like Zappos’ – your business could take off because of it.

win with millennials #2

2. Focus On An Integrated Customer Experience

An integrated customer experience is about providing products and services to customers in the smoothest way possible by adopting a multichannel approach. And when you live up to your business’ promises while delivering such a seamless service, it leads to conversions.

Let’s put the spotlight to Grainger, which has sold industrial supplies, equipment, and power tools for contractors and building professionals since 1927.

Their almost-century long presence and experience in the industry shows, especially in the way they use technology (their app especially) for providing an integrated customer experience.

Their app lets you find highly specific products by typing them or speaking to the search box. Products purchased can also be shipped to your chosen location or a nearby store – while even tracking your order’s progress real-time.

Consumers’ shopping cart data is also synced across their PCs and other devices, making it easy to access Grainger and their selection of industrial products while on the job site.

Also, Grainger features a “click-to-call” for help feature which lets you find the nearest Grainger location and share must-buy lists with co-workers. The company knows exactly what their consumers need and has built a smooth service framework from there.

The business and IT world are starting to explore the concept of omni-channel shopping – the next step from multi-channel retailing.

This provides consumers with an across-channel experience. It’s the inter-linking of multiple marketing and sales channels that makes this approach to customer experience truly seamless, benefiting both the consumer and retailer.

For example: a customer can check a product’s availabilityvia his desktop (using the merchant’s website); reserve the item and purchase it 2 days later using his smartphone; and pick up the item at his chosen location.

win with millennials #2 win with millennials #3

3. Build Brand Loyalty Through Rewards & Product Quality

In a world where many products and services are alike, Millennial consumers seek to be rewarded for their buying choices. After all, they could’ve bought from someone else instead of your company – and they’d still get what they want or need.

Research carried out by Thrive Analytics and Local Search Association in 2014 revealed that 71% of US smartphone users (aged 18 to 29) shared their location with businesses to get personalized offers and deals, while 67% said the prospect of gaining loyalty points convinced them to do so.

So set yourself apart from the competition by rewarding your customers for choosing you over other product / service providers.

Follow the example set by Starbucks. Their My Starbucks Reward program makes it easy for users to be rewarded.

They can earn points by paying with their registered cards,completing incentivized actions, participating in product promotions, engaging with Starbuck’s mobile app and social channels,buying in grocery stores and more.

The Stars earned are saved in the customer’s profile and can be used for redeeming drinks, food items, etc.But that’s not all: the program also has Green and Gold levels that members can move up to once they reach a certain number of points, giving the most loyal of customers and avid fans the opportunity to get more out of their membership.

win with millennials #4

4. Use Social Media To Engage & Get Millennials Involved

The phrases of note here are “engage” and “get them involved.”

Millennial consumers do “Like” and “Follow” retailers on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. They may find the brand cool but research has shown that their social media relationships with brands and retailers are mostly transactional.

In simpler words: to find good deals, coupons, and the latest promos.

One Millennial consumer noted:

“I would have to be pretty emotionally moved to just ‘Like’ a retailer for no reason.”

And that should be the plan! Businesses shouldn’t be on social media just to establish presence. The goal instead should be to generate positive buzz and to get talked about by Millennial consumers. Be the topic of social conversations for the right reasons and your brand and sales will enjoy a significant boost.

Consider this too: Millennials broke the record for volunteering hours, and the number of non-profit organizations and socially-focused businesses founded by the generation is just as astounding.

With that in mind, perhaps it’s a good idea to combine social media engagement with campaigns that address the social and economic issues this generation faces.

5. Create More Apps To Inform, Engage, & Educate

Tech manufacturers (especially those in the mobile industry) can look forward to sunny days ahead with 40% of Millennials gearing up to purchase a tablet in the next 5 years. Those ahead of the tech curve (38%), so to speak, are prepping to buy a wearable device like Apple’s new iWatch.

So what does that mean for business OUTSIDE the smartphone and tablet industry?

The statistics above means businesses should create better apps to inform, engage, and educate Millennial consumers…or risk losing brand exposure and even sales.

One fine example is CVS Pharmacy app which enjoys a 4.5 star rating and over 16,000 reviews on iTunes: it lets you easily find a store nearby,save money with digital coupons, and even collect points without leaving the app. The app also lets consumers scan prescription barcodes with their phone’s camera to refill their medications.

win with millennial #5

5. Create More Apps To Inform, Engage, & Educate

Tech manufacturers (especially those in the mobile industry) can look forward to sunny days ahead with 40% of Millennials gearing up to purchase a tablet in the next 5 years. Those ahead of the tech curve (38%), so to speak, are prepping to buy a wearable device like Apple’s new iWatch.

So what does that mean for business OUTSIDE the smartphone and tablet industry?

The statistics above means businesses should create better apps to inform, engage, and educate Millennial consumers…or risk losing brand exposure and even sales.

One fine example is CVS Pharmacy app which enjoys a 4.5 star rating and over 16,000 reviews on iTunes: it lets you easily find a store nearby,save money with digital coupons, and even collect points without leaving the app. The app also lets consumers scan prescription barcodes with their phone’s camera to refill their medications.

Below is the infographic. We appreciate this work from Richard and COS. Did it teach you something new about how to win with Millennials?

5 ways marketers win with Millenials



6 insights into the social media paradox 0

Posted on March 15, 2015 by Rob Petersen




  • 50% of business owners have increased their time on social media
  • 55% state they use Facebook, Twitter and the other major platforms for customer acquisition and sales leads
  • 60% say they see no results (source: Forbes)

Why do so many companies put so much time into activities that don’t produce results?

A paradox is an absurd or seemingly self-contradictory statement that, when investigated, is well-founded and true. These facts say there is a paradox (or paradoxes) about the way businesses use social media. Because spending so much time and seeing no results makes no sense.

Some social media paradoxes to explain these paradoxes are:

  • Social media is perceived to be an end when it is a means to an end
  • Social media is so attractive because it is the least social form of communication
  • There is no such thing as a strategy for social media; there is only a business strategy in which social media fits

The Socio-media-logy chart above illustrates a social media paradox. Although to “run” is the fastest way to get someplace, the paradox is companies would see better results with social media if they took the time to “crawl” and “walk” first.

Here are 6 insights into the social media paradox.

  • BUILD IT AND THEY DON’T COME: On average, there are 1,500 stories that can appear in a person’s Facebook News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. Even Facebook says their organic reach is declining. Over 2,000,000 blog posts are written and 864,000 hours of YouTube videos are uploaded every day. Your business may expect if you build, your audience will come, but the numbers say they don’t.
  • TARGETING INVOLVES KNOWING WHERE TO AIM: It doesn’t matter how many social networks your business uses if you don’t where your target customers are most likely to be So, before you began, a little research goes a long way. Look at the social presence and growth of your competitors on their social networks. See what thy post; what is commented on and shared. Listen using keywords about your industry or brand using a social search engine like Topsy or HootSuite. Profile what social networks are used most often on Social Searcher; what days of the week, what time of day and when content is most shared on BuzzSumo.
  • INFLUENCE COMES FROM KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT IS PERSUASIVE: 15,100,000 consumers go to social media before making purchase decisions. 81% said friends social media posts influenced their decisions; 79% like a company Facebook page because it offers discounts and incentives; 44% of women trust their favorite blogger. Do you know what’s likely to influence purchase decisions for your brand? Are you doing it?
  • PERSUASIVE CONTENT TEACHES SOMETHING NEW: Social media is the least social channel if it is used to broadcast information that is put out on non-social channels. That’s why it’s most effective use is usually for a purpose not meet by other marketing channels. One that is socially oriented. Customer service, product in use demonstrates, new usages, crowd sourcing new ideas and customer feedback are just a few of the ways social media can be used to teach something new and amplify your selling proposition.
  • TRUST IS BUILD WITH CONSISTENCY: Research shows that 42% of consumers who complain on social media expect a response within 60 minutes. 57% expect the same response time at night and on weekend, even if it’s not during normal business hours.Being reliable, honest, timely and showing integrity and qualities that build trust. They happen not in a single occurrence but by showing up authentically day after day, week after week and month after month. They pay dividends in good times and in bad.
  • IF YOU CAN’T MEASURE IT, YOU CAN’T MANAGE IT: You can’t determine what is successful until success is defined. Success doesn’t have to involve a whole new nomenclature either. For example, it can be done with: 1) Reach = a measurement of the size of audience you are communicating with; 2) Engagement = the total number of likes, shares, and comments on a post; 3) Conversions = he number of people who achieved a desired result and 4) Sales = did your business make any money? It can also be done with just a couple of analytic tools like Google Analytics and Buffer.

Does this explain the social media paradox? Did it teach you something new? Does your business need help with the social media paradox?

  • Subscribe to our content by email

    Join Our Mailing List
    For Email Marketing you can trust
  • Strategic Digital Marketing (Rob Petersen | Contributing Author)

  • 166 Case Studies Prove Social Media ROI – Over 150,000 downloads

  • How we work. Over 500,000 views

  • Rutgers Business School – MBA Faculty

  • Affiliate Disclosure

    I am an affiliate for some of the products featured on this website. This means if you purchase them through a link or banner, I earn a commission. I recommend these products because of my regard for them, not because of the commission. Whether or not you decide they are right for your business and purchase them is completely up to you.

  • SEMrush

  • Categories

  • Follow Me

  • Privacy Policy

    We do not share personal information with third-parties nor do we store information we collect about your visit to this blog for use other than to analyze content performance. We are not responsible for the republishing of the content found on this blog on other Web sites or media without our permission. This privacy policy is subject to change but will be updated,
  • About

    BarnRaisers builds brands with proven relationship principles and ROI. We are a full service digital marketing agency. Our expertise is strategy, search and data-driven results.

↑ Top