The Compelling Case of Data-Driven Content
According to a 2016 IDG Enterprise report, the number of organizations that have implemented data-driven analytics has more than doubled in the last two years. Yet, as the quantity of data continues to grow, leveraging these analytics to create compelling content is becoming harder. Struggling with a huge amount of data, many companies have been unable to capitalize on the possibilities it would otherwise create.
For all the value that data-driven marketing can offer, the number of businesses that are gaining competitive advantage from content marketing is still relatively small. The majority of businesses are yet to realize the enormous benefits they could achieve from turning quantitative information into quality content.
Nine out of 10 organizations today are marketing with content. Not surprising when, according to the Content Marketing Institute, 70% of people would rather learn about a company via an article than an ad. While content marketing is not new, it is now gaining momentum as businesses are realizing that it holds consumers’ attention increasingly well, particularly when content is more relevant and personalized.
For a long time, businesses have relied on third-party publishers to provide media content and platforms through which they engage with consumers. Today, businesses are flipping this model on its head by becoming publishers themselves. Communications agencies, for example, have learned to effectively monetize branded content in the Middle East. Their emphasis on owned media and publishing is very telling. They are not just producing branded content; they are actually building editorial properties with loyal audiences for their clients.
More businesses are embracing their roles as publishers and digital influencers in order to achieve several objectives, mainly increasing targeted consumer traffic and creating value.
Traffic: Increasing traffic and visibility has become a critical goal for brands today, much like generating leads and converting them into sales. Content marketing on its own will not generate traffic but data-driven content marketing that is used effectively will. Bringing traffic to a website is a critical success factor in marketing, but what is more important is how targeted and relevant the traffic is. Marketers and developers will also need to have a plan for managing this traffic once it lands on their website and content platforms.
Value: Industry leaders did not get to the top of their profession by chasing consumers, but by attracting them. Businesses that have a clear data-driven content strategy are constantly sharing relevant information that is both accurate and interesting to consumers. They are offering quality content that gives people something valuable to them with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
The return on investment for content marketing can be phenomenal if executed correctly. According to a 2015 Forbes report, “leaders in data-driven marketing are more than six times more likely than laggards to report achieving competitive advantage in increasing profitability”. There are several web tools and technologies that allow businesses and organizations to collect important information about their consumers and help them come up with compelling content.
Content Analytics: Whether it’s Google Analytics or one of the many other solutions available today, content analytics are essential tools to learn how traffic behaves on a website. With them, marketers can assess how their content is performing in real time. For example, they can observe on which pages a visitor clicks, how long they stay on them, the actions they take, and even the keywords that they have searched for before getting to the site, among a multitude of other information.
Social Listening Analytics: Also called social media monitoring tools, companies use these to monitor internet mentions of a particular product, brand, business or individual. Social listening tools help articulate an effective response management strategy based on sentiment.
Marketing Automation Softwares: Marketing automation is about streamlining repetitive marketing tasks such as email and social media posts, and processes such as customer segmentation, customer data integration (CDI) and campaign management. This provides customers with highly personalized and useful content, and grows revenue faster. Marketing automation makes repetitive processes, which would have otherwise needed to be performed manually, much more efficient and facilitates the creation of new marketing processes.
Predictive Analytics: Predictive Intelligence uses algorithms to deliver dynamic content based on estimates of what consumers need in real time. The technology anticipates a certain need and then provides a unique recommendation based on what has been observed. Recommended products, services, offers, and even embedded live social feeds are generated and delivered to each customer across web-based channels like email or text.
The process of using data analytics and interactive web technologies to plan an effective content strategy is not a linear one — different tools and approaches must be adopted and used interchangeably to develop compelling and meaningful content that is driven by useful and valuable data.
Digital technologies have transformed consumers from passive recipients of information to active players whose every choice can be observed. This alone is causing a seismic shift in the practice of marketing and digital communication.
Companies like GE are using data-driven content marketing with great effect. They illustrate how content can shape or impact a whole industry. With it, businesses can rise above their competitors and become thought leaders, change agents and a valuable resource, receiving in return audiences, engagement and loyalty.