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By Robert Rose,
Chief Strategist,
Content Marketing Institute
Marketing Data:
Vitamin D for your
Content Marketing
Underst...
2
INTRODUCTION
Vitamin D: The Value of Data to Healthy Content
There should be little doubt that content marketing as a st...
3
Marketing Data Management is Key
to Understanding Your Audience
Marketing data, and the productive management of it, con...
4
5 Data Management Prescriptions
for Healthy Content Marketing
In B2B, your company and contact database is the center of...
5
1. Create A Great Wellness Plan: Define The ‘Who’
One of the largest challenges that B2B content marketers have is actua...
6
2. 	Developing A Regimen:
	 Segment & Prioritize The Audience
Once the marketer has the gaps needed to marry the content...
7
Creating a segmentation and prioritization of data in both the short term and long term helps to
inform the targeting st...
8
3.	The Right Exercise at the Right Time:
	 Data Informs the Buyer’s Journey
Of course one of the keys of getting healthy...
9
The key here is to identify the absolute must-have information at each stage – and how that applies
to the decision that...
10
4.	Monitor Your Heart Rhythm: Match Explicit Data 	
	 With Behavioral
The concept of delivering the right content to th...
11
to serve up a more “journey optimized” experience for their content, or simply capture it to understand
visitors more c...
12
5.	Track Your Progress:
	 Report On Actionable Insight
If someone is engaged by our content, submits as a lead, ultimat...
13
Understanding the consumption of content
at an aggregate level through Web analytics
will only get the marketer so far....
14
CONCLUSION
Not Just Healthy Content Marketing - A Healthy Business
So, what does the future hold for B2B Content Market...
15
REFERENCES
Not Just Healthy Content Marketing - A Healthy Business
1. Forrester Blog: Most B2B Marketers Struggle To Cr...
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Marketing Data: Vitamin D For Your Content Marketing

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Marketing data management is key to understanding your audience marketing data, and the productive management of it, continues to be a challenge for all B2B Marketers – CMOs, demand centers, and marketing operations leaders struggle with keeping it maintained. Content marketers have traditionally stayed far away from the marketing database. In this paper, we’ll discuss ways to marry marketing data management practices with strategic content marketing creation, as well as methods content marketers can use to make themselves more valuable to the C-Suite.

Veröffentlicht in: Marketing

Marketing Data: Vitamin D For Your Content Marketing

  1. 1. By Robert Rose, Chief Strategist, Content Marketing Institute Marketing Data: Vitamin D for your Content Marketing Understanding how strategic data management makes content marketing healthy, wealthy and wise.
  2. 2. 2 INTRODUCTION Vitamin D: The Value of Data to Healthy Content There should be little doubt that content marketing as a strategic approach to B2B marketing is expanding. CMI has found that a majority of B2B Marketers indicate they plan to maintain or increase their budgets for content marketing initiatives– a consistent trend over the past four years. In fact, this year it was almost 90% of those surveyed. Content – and how marketing and sales teams are using it to interact with customers across an increasingly complex buyer’s journey – is fundamentally reshaping the way many B2B businesses craft their go-to-market strategies. However, this evolution isn’t without its challenges; the largest being that so many content marketers struggle with attributing measurable success to their content efforts. A July 2014 study performed by Forrester Research substantiates this conclusion by finding that B2B marketers aren’t proficient at the practice as yet. Their research found 85% of B2B marketers couldn’t currently attribute any business value to content activity. As the report’s author, VP and Principal Analyst Laura Ramos, wrote: “this disconnect reveals a more fundamental problem with content marketing today. It doesn’t produce expected results.” In fact, the study found that 62% of these marketers only create content to “fill in the gaps” on a campaign-by-campaign basis. The Forrester report also revealed – 47% of B2B organizations focus only on creating content for the company website, online ads, email and social media. Ramos concludes “the data shows an acute focus on acquisition that practically ignores the rest of the buyer’s journey.” This aligns with our own research at CMI – where year after year, “creating enough content” and “creating content that engages” are the two primary reasons that B2B marketers struggle with the practice altogether. But the question is “why”? Why are B2B marketers struggling? One answer may lie in where B2B marketers are focusing their content efforts – and struggling to connect content to the very customers they are trying to serve. 47% of B2B organizations focus only on creating content for the company website, online ads, email and social media.
  3. 3. 3 Marketing Data Management is Key to Understanding Your Audience Marketing data, and the productive management of it, continues to be a challenge for all B2B Marketers – CMOs, demand centers, and marketing operations leaders struggle with keeping it maintained. Content marketers have traditionally stayed far away from the marketing database. And with good reason. According to the Netprospex 2014 State of Marketing Data Benchmark Report,– more than 25% of the average B2B database is simply inaccurate. And two-thirds of companies surveyed had an overall data health scale of “unreliable”. But that database can be an important key to capturing the attention of your customers and prospects. A whitepaper titled “Demand Generation Strategies” isn’t nearly as compelling a title as “Tech Marketing Strategies for a Startup Budget”. The ability to get specific when promoting your content across channels where attention span is limited, is often dependent on whether the associated fields in your database are complete and accurate. They can make all the difference in the effectiveness of the pieces you write. Combine that contact knowledge with buyer persona insights, and online behavior, and all of a sudden the content you’re creating is not only strategic, but will actually drive conversions, engagement and ultimately revenue for your business. In this paper, we’ll discuss ways to marry marketing data management practices with strategic content marketing creation, as well as methods content marketers can use to make themselves for more valuable to the C-Suite. 25% of the average B2B database is simply inaccurate. And two- thirds of companies surveyed had an overall data health scale of “unreliable”.
  4. 4. 4 5 Data Management Prescriptions for Healthy Content Marketing In B2B, your company and contact database is the center of gravity for all your prospect and customer communication. It also serves as an important resource for segmentation, targeting and buyer engagement strategies for content marketers. But problems in quality lie just under the surface and can de-rail the best-intentioned plans. In fact, according to the US Department of Labor, even with still relatively high unemployment rates, almost 8% of Americans (almost 2 million) voluntarily leave their job every single month. With a total universe of about 146 million Americans in the workforce (based on current unemployment levels), that theoretically means that everybody changes jobs about every 5 years (actually 4.6 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Without even taking into account incomplete or bogus information, this provides a pretty compelling case for every B2B marketer to ensure his or her data is as fresh as possible. In fact, think of it this way: if the customer data is more than 4 years old – there’s an 88% chance that it’s out of date. Let’s get B2B Content Marketing into better data shape.
  5. 5. 5 1. Create A Great Wellness Plan: Define The ‘Who’ One of the largest challenges that B2B content marketers have is actually closing the gap between the personas they’ve spent the time and effort to create – and the verification of those personas against who is actually visiting and consuming the content they are creating. The investment in persona creation is considerable and - as many marketers discover only after beginning - it’s a process that’s never really complete. People change, habits change – and the business’ ability to engage with them as people change. But, at its core, persona development is mostly developed using qualitative information that marketers glean from interviews, research studies – and ultimately a synthesis of that information into a representative profile of the “needs” and “beliefs” of that person. Successful B2B Content Marketers must have the ability to understand which of these personas are actually engaging with various pieces of content. They must reference that with important data points at the individual and company level. It’s only after the marketer marries this data to the target personas that he or she can answer the questions: Are we describing their challenge and the solution to it in the most relevant and compelling way? Getting Healthy: The first step is identifying the challenge and the existing gaps in our “knowledge”. Best in class B2B Content Marketers are first taking a look at their marketing database and assessing the needs in concert with their persona development. The key is getting together with the data management team (maybe that’s simply the marketing/sales team or a partner or both) and starting to map out a plan to ensure the right data attributes are captured for persona development. As one basic example, the marketer might ask: “can we map industry data – which we can acquire without having to ask for it - with the company name so that we can understand whether engagement we are driving with our new content is actually reaching the right size company or right industry?” This type of exercise allows us quickly to revisit our personas and content to ensure alignment with business objectives. Identifying the gaps in our data capture plan – that will help us map a more complete identification of who is actually consuming our content is the first step in developing a robust wellness plan. Establish a baseline metric for your data health now (both accuracy and completeness) and a goal metric for health for six months or a year from now. Metric:
  6. 6. 6 2. Developing A Regimen: Segment & Prioritize The Audience Once the marketer has the gaps needed to marry the content with its consumption, the next step is designing a data model that continually improves persona segmentation over time. Remember, just like persona development itself, our approach to a “data story” is a process. It’s a continuous process, not a project that will stop after a certain time. Successful B2B Content Marketers don’t just identify the gaps in the data for a particular campaign, or even a particular function (e.g. sales enablement or lead acquisition). Instead, marketers must start to apply the different demographic attributes – as well as the beliefs and behaviors –of a persona that can be collected at different stages of the buyer’s journey. This is a critical piece in ensuring the ability to “measure all the way down” and truly understand where content is playing an important role in not only generating MORE traffic – but actually attracting BETTER traffic – that matches our targeted segments at a higher density. Additionally, this work helps to identify the priorities for what “comes next”. The marketer may make decisions about what kinds of programs will first “fill the gaps” of missing data – rather than run programs to add new members to it. Getting Healthy: It’s simple: getting quickly to the underlying “data story” is as important as getting to your content story. Once the marketer understands where the gaps are in the immediate data collection – it’s also time to take an assessment and then prioritize and plan where the data model can be made even more complete over time. It may be a total re-marketing campaign to clean the data. It may be that it just makes sense to start from scratch. Or, it may make sense to prioritize one particular target data segment in order to develop keener insight.
  7. 7. 7 Creating a segmentation and prioritization of data in both the short term and long term helps to inform the targeting strategy with content. As a working example of this, one B2B manufacturing organization we worked with discovered by looking at both their data and content that while they were initially targeting an executive level buyer persona, they were actually attracting a high number of lower level influencer personas. But, when they actually closed a deal, it was from the buyer persona. Additionally, they discovered that many of these influencers were falling out of the engagement process early on. So, what was happening? Basically, they discovered that the influencers that had the capacity to understand the executive-level content were making a great business case to their boss. But a good many couldn’t – and consequently gave up. Therefore, based on this segmentation – they (among a number of other things) decided to prioritize more instructional content to the lower level influencer – helping them to make a business case to the executive buyer. Ultimately, creating a great data story helps to guide the content strategy, giving the marketer greater insights into the customers needs. Create a goal and an associated metric for the persona targeted vs. persona reached. For example, you may associate your content targeting as 60%/20%/20% toward three personas. Associate the actual reach of your content to that goal using the marketing data collected. Metric:
  8. 8. 8 3. The Right Exercise at the Right Time: Data Informs the Buyer’s Journey Of course one of the keys of getting healthy is to match the right exercise with the right part of the regimen. But there is, likewise, a need to understand how each exercise contributes to the next phase of fitness. Similarly, mapping content to the buyer’s journey is only half the equation. The data captured DURING that journey must also be managed in an intelligent way to understand which data does (or does not) affect an outcome at some phase of that journey. Jeff Ernst from Forrester captured this well in a blog post he wrote discussing how B2B marketers still have a “blind spot” when it comes to the buyer’s journey. He said: “You need to recognize that the B2B buying process is not one big decision; it is a series of micro- decisions. And the company that wins the business is the company that is there to answer those questions and provide fresh insights that influence how the buyers think about the problem so that the buyers can confidently advance their journey” This is an important point. Marketers not only have to develop a plan to deliver content at the most relevant point in a buyer’s journey – they also have to develop a plan that asks (and actually retrieves) the right data at the right point in a buyer’s journey. Now, there has certainly been quite a lot written on “progressive profiling” – where marketers ask for increasingly more information based on what stage of the journey, the frequency of the last visit or even in type of content consumed. But if marketers go down the road of “progressive profiling” they must do so intelligently – lest they build bigger databases, containing ever more fields of useless data. Getting Healthy: As content marketers actually take the time to first identify the gaps in their existing data, then clean and prune that data in order to make smarter decisions and priorities about segments to target – they will also benefit by aligning the future data capture (as well as appending through third party services) along the optimal content mapping and buyer’s journey insight.
  9. 9. 9 The key here is to identify the absolute must-have information at each stage – and how that applies to the decision that will be made at a specific point in the buyer’s journey. So, for example, one B2B software company we worked with deployed a content marketing program that included a thought leadership blog. Registration for subscription to the blog was part of the education portion of their buyer’s journey. But, the next stage was not to pull them into the sales process – but rather just to interest them enough to identify themselves for contact. Therefore, an Email Address was the only field required. Using a data service, the software company could then identify the “quality” of subscriptions they were getting – matching domains to industry and company sizing – and establishing email campaigns to invite them to Webinars and other educational events based on that segmentation. Then, and only then, was each of those registration forms expanded to include additional elements for the next part of the buyers journey. This is the critical piece here. It’s not just having one type of registration form that gates ALL content – independent of the stage the buyer may find themselves in. Taking the extra time to understand:  What value is THIS content providing  What stage is the buyer likely to be in for this piece of content  What is the kind of content this customer is most likely to want next (what should we be putting in as a call to action)  How do we also progressively ask for more information based on the “non-linear” nature of the journey  How can we use external data to enhance the intelligence we have at various stages As content marketing begins to play more of a substantial role over more conversion points (the “micro-decisions” as Ernst called them,) creating a plan for progressive profiling and evolving data attributes will be a critical piece of a healthy strategy. Establish a baseline and an ongoing measurement for form conversions. Monitor the increase in conversions as you both decrease and optimize the fields for which you ask for information. Additionally, measure the depth (by pieces of relevant information gathered) as customers go deeper into the funnel. Metric:
  10. 10. 10 4. Monitor Your Heart Rhythm: Match Explicit Data With Behavioral The concept of delivering the right content to the right buyer at the right time is the brass ring for a healthy content marketing program. This is where the promise of delivering the right content to the right person at the right time is met. But the only way this is achieved is by not only understanding the explicit data that the customer provides (e.g. name, title, email, industry, preferences etc…) but also the behavior of that individual over time. Best-in-class B2B content marketers are collecting this behavioral data and integrating it into their marketing data strategy. This is certainly one of the biggest benefits proposed by new web content management tools (or CXM- Customer Experience Management as it’s called now) as well as MAP’s (Marketing Automation Platforms). In fact, chances are that most B2B marketers already have a method to capture at least some level of behavioral data – but don’t actually utilize any of it to optimize the content experience. A study conducted last year by IBM (through recently acquired company Silverpop) found that 45% of marketers are capturing and actually consolidating customer behavioral data. But then only 17% of those surveyed assessed themselves as “practitioners” of using this data at all for marketing. But, according to that same study, of that small group who is actually capturing, and using behavioral data – these marketers find themselves contributing to 34% of the pipeline vs 26% for those not using it. That’s pretty easy math to do: how would you like a 10% lift in your content marketing program – by incorporating data you are probably already capturing in some capacity? Getting Healthy: Context is truly one of the most important things that, as marketers, we can capture to understand the true nature of the audiences we are trying to influence. And, the first step to developing a plan here is to understand the different types of behavioral data you are already (or could easily be) capturing. Then, the objective is to categorize it against the goals that you’ve set up in other parts of your plan (see above). There are generally two types of behavioral data you could be utilizing:  Ambient Data. This is the data that we can derive without even knowing who the audiences are, but is simply collected within the context of their consumption of content. For example, marketers can use systems to acquire behavioral data that can both collect and optimize content display based on browser type, or device (e.g. mobile vs. desktop), ad campaign URL’s, or from third-party data sets such as weather, or even reverse IP (Internet Protocol) lookup on a company. 

Then, they can use this data
  11. 11. 11 to serve up a more “journey optimized” experience for their content, or simply capture it to understand visitors more completely. For example – one B2B organization we worked with is using ambient data collected from visitors on whether they are arriving from a mobile device to highlight specific video content (shorter, and mobile optimized) – and easy navigation to directions to their field offices.  Implicit Data. This is the data that marketers can derive from observing and tracking the behavior with either a known or unknown visitor. For example, a team can track the behavior on a Web site and begin to optimize experiences, and track the consumption, of specific pieces of content based on a series of clicks. As a visitor clicks on more content in a particular category, certain preferences are implied – and persona attributes can be assigned to that record if he/she becomes known through giving some explicit data.

One of the main drivers of using implicit data is, of course, lead scoring – where certain platforms can assign weights to various CTA’s and once a critical threshold has been reached – transform that prospect into a lead. But even beyond that, this behavioral data can be appended to the database to provide additional insight into that customer’s attributes. This can be as simple as appending the customer record with the list of white papers downloaded, blog posts visited and/or webinars attended. Or, in a more sophisticated sense, can be used to assign new persona attributes to a particular record.

For example – we worked with one B2B company that was selling various types of power equipment. They had tagged all of their content in a way that if someone came in and, for example, browsed the blog post on solar power, attended the webinar on hydro-electric power, and the CEO’s video on the importance of alternative power sources – they received a persona attribute of “Eco- Passionate”. In this way – when it came time for a sales rep to have a conversation with that prospect – the rep knew which way to immediately steer the conversation. Of course, integration of all of these types of data into a holistic profile is what ultimately gives the content marketer the ability to deliver true value to a healthy content marketing program. Understanding where and how you will grow your target audience, by both enabling your technology to capture it, and applying it from the top of the funnel all the way through the journey is the key to a successful content strategy. This is what brings us to the final piece – which is delivering that actionable insight. Start to optimize content in real-time based on behavior, then track engagement across your consumed content by individual personas. Enrich your marketing database with behavioral data and measure the types of content being consumed vs engagement of targeted personas (e.g who you thought would consume it vs. who actually did) to ensure the success of your content programs. Metric:
  12. 12. 12 5. Track Your Progress: Report On Actionable Insight If someone is engaged by our content, submits as a lead, ultimately becomes a customer - but no one is there to measure it, did it count? While looking at it from a business strategy we’d like to think the answer to this is “yes”. However, there are still far too many content marketing programs, where the answer to this question is a clear “no, it doesn’t count”. Why is that? In our experience at CMI, far too many times B2B content marketing programs are cut short or transformed into traditional sales programs – not because of the progress being made – but by the inability to track the health of the program and create actionable insight out of it. It is important to understand that one of the biggest benefits of a smart B2B data program, aligned with a content marketing strategy, is not necessarily the generation of more activity through the pipeline. Certainly more leads are often a positive result. But more traffic, more leads and more activity at the top of the funnel can also be detrimental. When sales is wasting their time on leads that are unqualified, or simply at the wrong stage in their buying journey, it can take precious time away (as well as add costs) to the business. As noted in the beginning, the Forrester Research study concluded that B2B marketers right now have an “acute focus [only] on acquisition that practically ignores the rest of the buyer’s journey.” Developing a measurement plan that reports on how marketing data is becoming deeper, more accurate and generating even greater insight into our consumer can, in many cases, be value enough for a healthy content marketing program. Getting Healthy: Even B2B marketing is inching closer to focusing on “real-time” interactions with customers. The requirement for us (despite the length of our sales cycle) to react more rapidly to the needs of our customers has never been more pronounced.
  13. 13. 13 Understanding the consumption of content at an aggregate level through Web analytics will only get the marketer so far. Truly gaining insight into how your content is improving the quality of leads, the value of customers and the deeper insight into them is only available through a robust and healthy data management program. A CMO at a financial services software company once relayed to me that he no longer looks at Google Analytics as a measure of how his content marketing efforts are moving the business forward. “Traffic”, he said, “is the least of my concerns. The blogs we have set up across our different product groups are there solely to help sales understand what topics, concerns, discussions and challenges our customers are having. The data generated by those blogs is appended to every record we keep on prospects and qualified opportunities. My measurement is feedback from our sales group – and the number of quality discussions they have with those opportunities. My goal is to simply help those prospects come to the logical conclusion that we are the best choice for them.” Create a great dashboard for measurement, one that tracks the right things and will be the most effective way to show your success. Today’s content marketers need a dashboard that shows the increasing quality, depth and overall health of the marketing database overtime. Metric:
  14. 14. 14 CONCLUSION Not Just Healthy Content Marketing - A Healthy Business So, what does the future hold for B2B Content Marketing and Data? One thing is clear. If B2B marketers are to truly succeed with content marketing as a strategic cog in their marketing process – they will need to change their approach to both content AND data more broadly. There is simply no argument that both content and data are affecting the business. Research firm IDC has predicted that enterprise data will grow at 60% annually. Forrester has predicted that enterprises are growing unstructured content at a rate of 200% annually. So, content and data will affect the business – it’s now just a matter of “how,” not “if”. So for the B2B organization, content and marketing data can be by-products of the organization; an on demand service that simply operates from campaign to campaign, occasionally helping but more often weighing down the business. Or, content and marketing data can be the strategic asset that it has (or can) become – helping to differentiate and create success for every part of the business. The marriage of creative content marketing, and intelligent marketing data management is truly one thing that can keep a company healthier than it was before, wealthier today and wiser for tomorrow. If B2B marketers are to truly succeed with content marketing as a strategic cog in their marketing process – they will need to change their approach to both content AND data more broadly. About NetProspex: NetProspex is the smarter B2B data partner. We help marketing and sales organizations optimize their revenue impact by increasing the quality and effectiveness of their marketing database. Thousands of B2B organizations rely on NetProspex to manage their marketing data in order to fuel high-performing marketing campaigns and accelerate the creation of sales pipeline. To make marketing databases accurate, targeted and actionable, the company offers a suite of data services backed by its proprietary CleneStepTM verification technology and the industry’s largest and most accurate reference database of B2B contacts and companies. For more information visit www.netprospex.com
  15. 15. 15 REFERENCES Not Just Healthy Content Marketing - A Healthy Business 1. Forrester Blog: Most B2B Marketers Struggle To Create Engaging Content http://blogs.forrester.com/laura_ramos/14-07-16-most_b2b_marketers_struggle_to_create_engaging_ content 2. MarketingProfs and CMI 2014 Content Marketing Budgets Benchmarks And Trends http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2013/11759/2014-b2b-content-marketing-benchmarks-budgets-and- trends 3. Sirius Decisions: The Impact of Bad Data on Demand Generation https://www.siriusdecisions.com/TheImpactofBadDataonDemandCreation.aspx 4. Forbes: 2 Million Americans Leave Their Job Every Month http://www.forbes.com/sites/alanhall/2013/03/11/im-outta-here-why-2-million-americans-quit-every-month- and-5-steps-to-turn-the-epidemic-around/ 5. Bureau Of Labor Statistics Estimate on Job Tenure http://www.bls.gov/news.release/tenure.nr0.htm 6. Jeff Ernst Blog: Marketers Have A Blind Spot In The Buyer’s Journey http://blogs.forrester.com/jeff_ernst/12-07-26-b2b_marketers_have_a_blind_spot_the_buyer_journey 7. Behavior Gets Better Results http://www.silverpop.com/blog/Behavioral-Marketers-Get-Better-Results 8. BizTech Magazine – Data Storage http://www.biztechmagazine.com/sites/default/files/88473-wp-data_storage_df.pdf

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