State of Content Marketing 2021 - The surprising results

The ongoing Corona pandemic is impacting all aspects of our lives. Private and professional. It is also permanently changing the way we work, market and sell. We took this as an opportunity to conduct a large-scale survey among marketers from a wide range of sectors.


Info about the interviewed groups

More than 240 marketing managers from in-house marketing teams, freelance marketers and marketing agency employees took part.

Larger teams of up to 10 employees accounted for 18% of our respondents. More than half of all participants work in marketing management, with varying emphases. Approximately 14% each are marketers in managerial positions and self-employed persons.

The vast majority (40%) work in small teams with a maximum of 3 colleagues. Almost the same number (approx. 20%) are either solely responsible for marketing or work together with up to five employees.


The Century Challenge - How does Covid-19 impact content marketing?

We asked them all, among other things, what influence Covid-19 had on their work in digital marketing.

While approximately 64% of all respondents said there was an increased or even greatly increased need for digital content marketing efforts as a result of Corona, this decreased for only 4.5%.

Even in direct comparison with other, internal marketing activities, an overwhelming majority (nearly 83%) ranked their content marketing activities as at least as important (42.9%), if not more important (25.6%) or significantly more important (14.3%).

Participants look to the big names for inspiration: brands such as Red Bull, Coca Cola and Hubspot were mentioned with striking frequency in connection with successful content marketing.

State of Content Marketing Study 2021 - Content creation is where most of the time and budget goes


Content marketing goals and challenges

While Corona reveals an increased need for digital measures among nearly two-thirds of marketers, the goals and challenges vary more clearly.

More leads, sales and traffic? - Challenges in detail

Slightly more than one-third of respondents (35.3%) said they do content marketing with the goal of generating leads and improving sales.

Around a quarter (25.3%) would like to increase traffic rates above all else, and 21.2% said they wanted to use digital marketing to improve their standing with their target audience.

Now, one would think that with monthly budgets of between 1,000 and 25,000 euros, these goals could be realized by more than 50 percent of those surveyed.

But Corona is not only challenging the marketing departments in the DACH region in financial terms.

For example, participants in our survey stated that the current, constantly changing situation makes it difficult to make forecasts. Others see themselves confronted with the difficulty of bringing variety into Corona-heavy communication.

"We have virtually the same problems as before the pandemic".

In a large number of marketing departments, fundamental problems in particular seem to have become even more pronounced. A large proportion of the responses give the impression that it seems to have become even more difficult through and during Corona to communicate the meaning and goal of content marketing, to break up entrenched corporate structures, and to encourage bosses and clients to be more courageous and creative in digital marketing.

The answers we received when we asked for possible solutions to overcome these challenges were correspondingly positive.

There was almost unanimous agreement that cross-departmental collaboration, communication and transparency would be one of the keys to success.

Also ranking high was the desire for more budget-oriented solutions, such as increasing the size of the team or more funds and resources to be able to use software for process optimization and automation.

According to over 50% of respondents, the reason why this is not possible is that too few resources are provided or available for content production. According to almost 50% of marketers, most of the time and the majority of the budget is spent on content creation.

Almost 29%, on the other hand, lack opportunities, and more than 25% find it among the most difficult to prove ROI. This is also reflected in the satisfaction with the ROI generated so far: only 56% answered the question about this at all and only 23.5% were really satisfied with the values achieved.

Other challenges faced by marketers from our study include reach building (20.6%) and regularity (18.5%).

For 35.7%, the biggest problem in content marketing still lies in the phases before creation. For example, in brainstorming, editorial planning, and process and content optimization.

The complete study, including infographic and selected answers of the participants, you can get here.


Planning and future of digital marketing

Nevertheless: 40% of our respondents feel very well prepared for the challenges of content marketing and are already planning their next steps. For 64.4% of marketers, these mainly consist of setting up improved processes. A third (33.9%) will in future primarily devote themselves to their own know-how in order to better understand content marketing. Only 1.7% said they would outsource their content marketing. This is despite the fact that almost half of all respondents (46%) said it was difficult to very difficult to find qualified new employees in the area of content marketing.

Among the prioritized formats that respondents would like to devote more attention to in the future is, above all, video content. 56.2% said they wanted to push this content format in particular in 2021. Meanwhile, a quarter of respondents want to develop and expand text content, and only 3.4% will focus on audio content.


Status quo of content marketing measures

60.1% of all participants say they attach a great deal of importance to search engine optimization. In view of the fact that for almost 67% the website or their own blog (57.1%) is one of the main distribution channels for their content, this weighting of SEO is only logical.

Only just under 38% of our respondents use software for content operations. The most important thing for them was that the software maps all phases of the marketing process and is designed to be as intuitive, simple and clear as possible. SEMrush and Hubspot were among the most frequently mentioned tools.


State of Content Marketing 2021 - Download the complete study here

The complete study, including infographic and selected answers of the participants, you can get here.


Book your demo now

Learn best practices and uncover your content marketing potential!
Book a demo
- free of charge


Key Take Aways

More contributions