Content, Content, Content.  You can’t leave a marketing meeting these days without hearing the word "content."

In a recent study by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs, 76% of B2B marketers in North America said they expected to create more content in 2016 than the prior year. That trend is certain to continue into 2017.

Why has content become so important?

A simple explanation: Information is available instantaneously, 24/7. Thanks to Google, Bing and other search engines, volumes of valuable information is now at our fingertips wherever we are, whenever we need it.

The potential value of content is what makes it king. But the key word is "potential," because marketers, brands and thought leaders peddling mediocre content are more often than not seen as jokers. Moreover, providing only one type of content – just webinars, for example – isn’t very kingly either; the customer’s journey is short and underwhelming.  

Let’s say that your prospect is a technology buyer within a health system looking to integrate his or her financial management system with a new materials management system. That person will most likely begin with a Google search. Let’s say that your company sells a solution that can help streamline that integration. How do you reach that prospect as they move from Google to other parts of their journey, which often includes multiple searches? On average, B2B influencers do 12 searches prior to visiting a specific brand's site. Equally important, did you know that 49% of B2B prospects use their mobile devices to do product research while they’re at work?

Knowing that buyers search more than 12 times along an average journey is enlightening. It’s also sobering in some ways because you’ll need to deliver different content for at least some of those interactions. And, according to a recent eMarketer study, summarized in the table below, content performance varies based on where the prospect is in the buying process.

An effective integrated marketing strategy requires content distribution at a frequency few are prepared to meet. More importantly, that content must be fit for a king, meaning that it’s somehow more superior (valuable and useful) than what else is out there. Lastly, it can’t just be the same content at every step in the journey – it must meet multiple needs, often for differing personas, and that’s not easy.

Yes, content is still king. In fact, it’s more important than ever. That’s why you need a strategy that is fit for a king, but doesn’t cost a king’s ransom.