“Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Bibhakar Pandey, vice president of customer experience and marketing services at Capgemini.
It’s time to move beyond one-off pieces of content. Sure, interesting singular pieces can pique visitor interest. But if the message isn’t part of a unified strategy that engages the visitor at every stage in the funnel, then that content – and the effort – can get lost.
The more strategic approach is creating compelling, connected content that grabs the individual visitor and seamlessly leads them from acquisition to conversion to purchase. To get this strategy right, brands need several key elements in place.
The first is an understanding of the why; metrics hold the key.
It’s not enough to simply measure results. You must learn the why behind your results. And to ensure the content is delivering, organizations must monitor results, continuously test and measure and modify approaches as needed.
Tracking what content is grabbing users’ attention is critical. A content scorecard that measures several factors, including who is consuming the content and the best-performing content delivery channels, will give valuable insight and help craft a thoughtful strategy, ideally leading to conversions and strengthening customer loyalty.
Who is consuming the content?
Identifying the consumers of your content and staying true to their needs is extremely important. Top performers are more likely to always or frequently craft content based on the stages of the customer journey (74%), while that rate dips to less than half (48%) when looking at all respondents, according to research by the Content Marketing Studio.
Most brands have a decent grasp on their target audiences, but prioritizing segmentation and revisiting the data can help ensure customer insights go deep enough.
Ongoing segmentation enables brands to develop targeted and unique content for each group or individual and determine which digital channels work best based on customer behavior and preferences. Marketing messages can be better tailored along the buyer’s journey and account profile.
Data plays an important role. When collecting internal customer data, that information can be augmented with third-party data to gain big-picture trends or actionable insights. With this in mind, more brands are moving toward more comprehensive solutions such as customer data platforms.
What types of content are engaged with most extensively?
For the most part, content that resonates with consumers tends to be articles, videos, social feeds and influencer blog posts. Engagement metrics should be continuously monitored to determine the content’s share and reach. Having a better idea of the intrinsic value of the content being promoted will help determine its viability and strength – and whether it is worth continued investment.
If a particular format is producing a measurable benefit, it may be worthwhile to increase creation of that content type to maximize impact. Likewise, if customers aren’t engaging with a specific format, you can evaluate why and rework the strategy.
What messaging or creative variations are resonating best?
Brands need to fine-tune the specific message and creative components based on the persona or where customers are in their journey to ensure the content is resonating. It will also help determine what content is most relatable and what the user’s subsequent action will be.
For example, the Content Management Institute suggest that brands use different types of video content depending on where their customers are in the buying journey. These include educational video content for customers in the earliest awareness stage or demo videos for customers who are ready to consider the brand’s product.
Each of these content types can be measured, evaluated and refined to better meet customers at each stage of the buying journey and move them forward.
What delivery channels are getting the most traction?
The channels are the ultimate window through which the users engage. One of the key parameters to determine what channels are most popular is to examine where the most active users are originating from. Knowing which channels – such as web, mobile apps and social apps and sites – will help prioritize the marketer’s efforts and eventual investment.
For example, a brand that’s delivering content primarily through its company blog and Instagram social media platform might start by giving equal resources to both content streams. However, as data on views, click-throughs, conversions and revenue emerges in each channel, marketers can see which drives better results.
At that point, they may decide to shift some content and messaging resources from the lower-performing channel to the better performing one. If the discrepancy in channel performance is intractable, they might abandon a strongly underperforming channel altogether to focus on the channel delivering better results.
How are campaigns performing?
Another key metric includes the ultimate goal of any campaign content: performance. The key metrics for performance include engagement (channel and subsequent actions), conversion (next-best action and steps) and lead generation. These main metrics track campaign effectiveness and can influence current and future spend.
Constantly collecting, reviewing and refining this data helps identify themes so marketers understand why certain tactics work better than others. This enables them to pivot when needed, while also refining and perfecting future content planning.