Content marketing programs remain a top priority for marketers this year, but measuring ROI and keeping up with the competition are the greatest challenges marketers face in the course of developing a content strategy, according to an annual study analyzing the challenges and trends behind content marketing strategies by Boston-based healthcare and B2B tech agency PAN Communications.

PAN’s latest “Content Fitness Report” found that more than 60 percent of chief marketing officers surveyed said they view content marketing as a top budget priority for the year.

However, PAN’s study also found that 65 percent of marketers still report a lack of confidence in measuring the impact of their strategies, and 62 percent said they struggle with the prospect of determining the ROI associated with their content marketing efforts.

PAN Communications “Content Fitness Report”

Only 20 percent said they have a successful content marketing program in place, while nearly the same amount (21 percent) reported feeling “ahead of their competitors” when it comes to the strength of their content marketing efforts.

While the PAN study found that content marketing budgets have grown overall, more than a quarter of marketers surveyed (26 percent) said their content marketing budgets have either remained stagnant or decreased since 2017, while 28 percent said their content marketing budgets grew by only five to 10 percent. Only 16 percent of the marketers surveyed reported that their budgets grew by 25 percent or more.

The study also found that nearly two-thirds of the marketers surveyed (58 percent) reported still being in the beginning stages of their influencer marketing programs, and 33 percent said they currently lack a mobile-first strategy.

PAN’s fifth annual “Content Fitness Report” included responses from more than 200 CMOs based in the U.S. The survey was conducted in March.