Data-driven content marketing strategies generate five times more marketing revenue than standard content marketing strategies, according to new research by the Aberdeen Group. Those companies driving the most revenue have a focused strategy, aligning content to their target personas across the entire buyer’s journey.
As content marketers, we strive to not only create really great content, but content that will appeal to the right people at the right time and through the right channels. Because today’s consumers are doing more research across channels before they make a purchase decision, content is key to targeting prospective customers and convincing them that your brand is one to consider.
- The average buyer guides themselves through 60% to 90% of the traditional sales funnel before ever contacting a brand or salesperson (Forrester).
- 81% of shoppers research online before setting foot in a store (GE Capital Retail Bank).
- Consumers spend an average of 79 days conducting online research before a major purchase (GE Capital Retail Bank).
And when content is targeted and customized to unique buyer personas, consumers pay attention and are more likely to purchase as indicated in the Aberdeen study.
- 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content. (Demand Metric)
- 90% of consumers find custom content useful. (Demand Metric)
- 61% of consumers say they feel better about, and are more likely to buy from, a company that delivers custom content. (Custom Content Council)
- 60% of people are inspired to seek a product after reading content about it. (Demand Metric)
Consumers are more demanding and expect relevant communications. Data must inform every aspect of today’s marketing strategies, and content marketing is no exception. In the early stages of using content as a marketing tactic, simply creating content was enough. Now as digital channels have become more saturated with more and different types of content, this can no longer be a 'hit or miss' process but an informed, data-driven strategy.
Use Data to Understand Your Audience
Have a clear vision of who your target audience is. This includes demographics, firmographics, preferred channels and preferred types of content. In research conducted by Content Marketing Trends, both B2B and B2C marketers tailor their content most heavily around industry trends and profiles of individual decision-makers.
Another useful tactic is to create buyer personas with names and images. Adding humanization with visualization is a great way to create more personalized content.
Other ways to create informed content include techniques such as social listening tools to monitor your audience’s preferences, interests, and the type of content getting the most traction. Go out on sales calls and listen to your prospects’ challenges or create audience surveys using tools such as SurveyMonkey. Be sure to also create buyer journey maps to understand your customers and which types of content will be most useful and appealing at different stages in their purchase process.
Top-Performing Companies Using Data to Drive Content Results
Brand leaders using data-driven content marketing strategies have become more sophisticated in how they use data to inform content creation and tactics.
Kohl’s Department stores uses an innovative technique that allows shoppers to opt in for promotions as they enter the store. With an indoor positioning system that tracks a shopper’s movements, content and promotions are delivered in real time based on what the shopper appears to be most interested in. For example, a shopper browsing the women’s clothing aisles may be delivered content on the hottest fashion trends. Kohl’s also combines data with their CRM system so information can be assessed on a current customer’s past purchases, making served content and promotions even more targeted.
Kellogg also used data-driven approaches to create targeted content. According to an article in CMO magazine, Kellogg increased how often their ads are viewed from 30% to 70% by applying analytics across hundreds of ads to determine which elements of creative encouraged higher views. Data is also used to determine how content is best delivered by analyzing data on consumer engagement and social media interactions.
Arby’s is another fun example of a brand using data to deliver relevant content as a way to join the conversation. Arby's took note of the high correlation between TV and Twitter usage among its audience. By analyzing its customer data, Arby’s determined that many of their customers would be tuning in to the 2014 Grammys as well as engaging in conversations on Twitter. Of course, history was made when Pharrell Williams wore a big, wide-brimmed hat and twitter followers started commenting on the similarity to the Arby’s hat. An employee monitoring social media noticed and sent out a tweet and the rest was history.
Brands are becoming more innovative in how they use data to deliver content that drives higher revenue. Whether it is using social data to create a tweet to engage social followers as in the case of Arby’s, or using behavioral data to deliver targeted offers in the case of Kohl’s, the advantages of using data-driven content are endless. And when done well, your data and content has the potential to drive 5 times more revenue from marketing.