One thousand seven hundred and sixty four working days ago…to the day
Nostalgia is rare in the content marketing world, but I think I’ve found some…
In 2007 Loudhouse Research undertook one of the first B2B-focused opinion polls on blogging. Who did it? Why? What was it useful for? Controversially, does it have a future!?
You can see a small video of a man in an ill-fitting suit chirping on about the results here.
In seven years it has received a mindblowing 317 views!
The research was sponsored by an agency called Inferno, which got consumed by Bite, which got consumed by Text 100. Strangely, the ‘birthing’ of these agencies was a mirror of this: Text 100 launched Bite, Bite launched Inferno. This all becomes relevant later on!
The rhetoric of the survey is full of nascent promise. Around a third of businesses were actively blogging and many were planning to have blogs in future. There were also some clear assertions on the value of blogging, particularly in terms of customer engagement.
Anecdotally, I can say that most vendor blogs at the time were awful! They were full of self-serving, circular references to things such as ‘value’ and ‘robustness’, lacking intention or authenticity. How things change? (ahem).
Also, blogs were sort of stranded. Social media, analytics, SEO were all still finding their feet.
Fast forward 7 years, or 1,764 working days and the promise of the blogosphere has been supplanted by the promise of the inbound-osphere. Okay, it’s not as catchy, but in B2B terms its implications are considerably greater.
Now all the channels are up and running and activity can be captured and measured with relative ease. Business are changing the way they sell to other businesses. Great! Blogging won!
There’s a catch for agencies, though. My favourite stat from the 2007 data was:
“54% of respondents believe that new skills sets and approaches are needed by their organizations in order to make use of blogs.”
Imagine the upheaval then for turning your marketing organisation into an inbound customer acquisition machine. Blogs, social media, SEO, PPC, sales alignment, workflows, mobile, content strategy…the list goes on.
But this is what’s happening. At the HubSpot event Inbound 2014 next week the show has 189 separate seminars, workshops and training sessions. 189! In marketing terms we call they ‘a lot’. (more on this from the floor next week). It represents some seriously joined-up potential for marketers today.
The kicker for agencies is that they have to re-think the world they serve. The creation and consumption of agency progeny – the Inferno, Bite, Text 100 story, stands testament to the fact that what was appealing for clients in 2007 has markedly changed since. Blogs are a small cog in a big wheel, driven by an evolution in the way customers use content to inform buying decisions.
Like the blogging sceptics of yesteryear, everyone is trying to figure out how best to join the dots on inbound strategy in the enterprise. However, 1,764 working days from now, any absence of clarity on B2B content marketing will be looked upon with the same novelty, charm and mild embarrassment that we assign to speculation on blogging in 2007
The research questioned managers with direct sales and/or purchasing responsibility at 300 companies with over 250 employees to discover how they and their companies use blogs to interact with existing and potential customers, and how they engage with the blogosphere to inform their own business decision making.
From the key findings below the survey report clearly shows positive thinking in the UK about the value business blogs may present.
I wonder where will blogging be in another one thousand seven hundred and sixty four working days?