The way consumers research, engage with, and buy from brands has changed completely in the age of digital marketing. Where print and television advertising once were the primary mediums for building and interacting with your audience, marketers today understand that a well-defined digital content strategy is a critical piece of any successful marketing plan.
According to DemandGenReport, 47 percent of B2B buyers consume three to five pieces of content before engaging with a salesperson. That means your customers are researching solutions and formulating opinions long before they ever speak with anyone from your company. Which raises the question:
How can you create content with which your prospective clients want (or need) to engage?
The answer is to analyze marketing data. Most businesses are sitting on a wealth of customer information they use to develop high-impact marketing campaigns. According to Curata, only 63 percent of marketers are using marketing data analysis to create content by buyer persona. It gets worse from there.
- 38 percent create specific content by vertical
- Just 30 percent focus on geographical dividers
- Only 30 percent by account or customer (as you would do with an account-based marketing strategy)
At ReachForce, we believe clean, quality data can help your business reach customers in new, innovative ways. Creating truly engaging content is no exception. Here is how to establish a data-driven approach to content marketing.
Start By Collecting the Right Data
Knowing where to start your marketing data analysis is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome in creating data-driven content. Test these data sources as a reference for relevant information about the types of content that matter to your audience.
Survey Your Current Customers
What better place to start than with the organizations who have already successfully navigated the customer journey and decided to use your service?
Sure, customer surveys typically only see a 10-to-15 percent response rate. However, smart marketers use their current audience to better understand the types of content that helped them reach a buying decision. This can include both content topics and delivery methods (i.e. webinars, blog posts, video content, etc.). Here are a few good survey questions to ask:
- Which of the following pieces of content was most influential in your buying decision? (Company blog, product demos, case studies, video how-tos)
- What blogs/websites were most helpful when you first began researching solutions?
- What content was missing or hard to find while in the decision-making process?
- Rank the effectiveness of the following content types for your business…
Of course, anecdotal feedback from customers should just be one source for developing data-driven content. Your marketing data analysis should also look at hard numbers generated on both your website and your competitors.
Analyze Site Traffic
If you are already creating and distributing content, site traffic data can be a great indicator of the types of content that work best for your audience. Google Analytics allow you the flexibility to splice datasets by age, gender, device use, and other demographic data sets. If you are using a data enrichment tool like SmartForms, that demographic data can be enhanced with more behavioral information to create an even more robust customer profile.
Suppose you are not already generating content or that you are not confident in the quality of your inbound data. Or, perhaps you just want to glean some insights from someone with an impressive content marketing strategy. Try this next source.
Check Out the Competition
There are a number of different tools on the market to help you do a little competitive sleuthing, all of which can aid in your marketing data analysis and help give you some ideas for data-driven content. Even if you do not feel comfortable spending money to spy on your competitors, following influential brands on social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn and tracking engagement with the content shared can be a simple, free way to generate ideas on what matters to your audience.
Of course, it is important to note that in addition to collecting the right data, you need to ensure you are working with clean, quality data, too. Dirty data leads to inaccurate, often damaging marketing decisions. Make sure you are collecting and running all data through a great data management platform before extracting insights.
With the right marketing data analysis in hand, it is time to test out the right content formats for your audience.
Test New Mediums, Measure Results
Generating the right content for your audience is not just about what you say; it is also how you say it. Certain content types may be incredibly successful with one target demographic, while it falls completely flat with another. That is why a key part of your marketing data analysis should be testing and measuring the success of various content delivery methods. Some to try include:
- Blog posts
- Video content
- Downloadable templates/checklists
- Social media
- Email newsletters
- Trade shows/live events
Again, the key here is to actually measure the success of these different mediums to hone in on the types of content that add value for your audience.
Consistency and Quality are Key
The truth is, a successful content marketing strategy relies on the consistent production of quality content above all else. Marketing data analysis informs the types of content you should create and the subject matter that resonates with your audience, but it is your responsibility as the marketing expert to continuously develop and distribute new, fresh content to your audience.
On top of that, always be collecting data on the success of your content strategy and using that data to influence future content development. A great data management platform — like ReachForce — can help make that happen.
ReachForce helps marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make initiatives like marketing automation, personalization, and predictive marketing better. Whether you have an acute pain to solve today or prefer to grow your capabilities over time, ReachForce can unify, clean, and enrich prospect and customer lifecycle data in your business, and do it at your own pace.