Improve Your ROI: 5 Content Metrics You Need to Track Today
By Dayna Rothman, Director of Content, Captora
Rothman will be presenting “Content Marketing for Demand Generation ROI: Create, Track, and Optimize Your Content Strategy” at the Lead LifeCycle Series, #LLCSeries. Register here to save your seat!
In today’s fast paced, multichannel world, content marketing is how brands can get their message heard through the noise. In fact, 61% of consumers are more likely to buy from companies that create custom content and 80% of decision makers prefer content marketing to traditional advertising. Clearly, marketers are on board. But, shockingly, only 27% of marketers are effectively tracking content metrics. So, how do they know what is working and what isn’t working?
Although increasingly difficult to measure, content marketing can be tracked through your sales funnel, from reach and engagement at the top of your funnel to revenue and closed/won deals at the bottom of your funnel.
Let’s take a look at the top five content metrics you should be tracking today. And to find out more, make sure you sign up for my Lead Lifecycle Series webinar on July 21, Content Marketing for Demand Generation ROI: Create, Track, and Optimize Your Content Strategy.
1. Program Performance
You need to know how your content is performing in all of the different programs you are running—from emails to your database, sponsored email programs, content syndication, paid search, or social programs. Hopefully, you are using content as fuel for your lead generation programs, so you have to track what works best. You will likely find that your content performs differently depending on the channel and the audience. For instance, your early stage eBook might work great on Facebook but isn’t performing so well on your content syndication programs. Track what works best and constantly test and optimize. If you are using a vendor, make sure they are providing you with these crucial metrics.
2. First Touch and Multi-Touch Attribution
These metrics are critical for tying content marketing to pipeline generation and customer acquisition. First-touch attribution tracks if a content asset is the first marketing activity that brought a new lead into your system. Multi-touch attribution shows how all of your content works together by tracking the different content assets that move a lead through your funnel to become a customer. If you have a marketing automation tool, you can track these metrics by running custom reports.
3. Downloads and Lead Quality
Your content should be generating leads for your company, and good leads at that. As a content marketer you need to assess not only how many leads you are getting through your content, but how many good leads you are getting — meaning how many leads fit your internal definitions. It’s great that your new E-book has been downloaded 300 times, but if none of the leads fit your marketing-qualified definition, then it’s time to reassess the type of content you are creating.
4. Competitor Benchmarking
Know what your competitors are writing about and benchmark your content to determine what is performing best in an absolute and relative sense. By keeping an eye on competitors you can also determine if there are any gaps in your content strategy that you need to address. A solution like Captora can help you do this efficiently. And of course don’t underestimate the power of listening and keeping tabs on what your industry is talking about.
5. Social Sharing and Engagement
What assets are being shared and engaged with on social channels? These metrics give you a good sense of how sticky your content or message is with your audience and the reach and share of voice you have. You will also quickly learn what sort of content is gaining traction on what channels. Most of the social platforms, like Facebook have good insights into content performance, or you can use your marketing automation tool or another analytics tool to track social sharing and engagement for your content on social.
What other metrics are you tracking? To learn more about content marketing for demand generation ROI, be sure to sign up for my webinar!
Dayna Rothman is Director of Content for Captora, a marketing cloud solution designed to discover, engage and convert new buyers by intelligently and automatically using existing content to scale targeted campaigns across multiple channels.
Michael Brenner Talks About His New Role, Future Of Content Marketing
By Kim Ann Zimmermann, Managing Editor
Demand Gen Report recently caught up with Michael Brenner, who recently left SAP as VP of Global Marketing to take on a new role as Head of Strategy at NewsCred, where he plans to help more companies up their content marketing game. We chatted about the past and future of content marketing.
Demand Gen Report: As a content marketing veteran, what are some of the major trends you have seen over the past few years?
Michael Brenner: What I’ve seen is a transition from content that is helpful to content that is truly inspiring. It is about turning brands into storytellers. It is no longer about cranking things out of the content marketing factory; it is about a change in culture. We have evolved from producing content about us as brands to human storytelling.
But buyers have quickly gotten wise to efforts by brands to inject themselves into stories where they don’t belong. There are now some really great examples of professional storytelling, like Coca-Cola with its blog and GE with its Vines and video content, that are moving the needle forward.
There has been an evolution, and I would point to the Content2Conversion conference in 2013 as a turning point. C2C and other conferences taking place around that time started to attract more innovative leaders —not just lower-level practitioners. It was not longer a fad or a buzz word, and the topic started to be covered in a much bigger way.
DGR: How will your experience at SAP shape your new role at NewsCred?
Brenner: I hope to take what done at SAP and apply those lessons to help other companies build their content marketing program. In many ways, I’ve fought every battle and can address just about every question around creating a modern digital content marketing machine — or at least I know where to go to find the answers.
My new role is not a sales role or an internal marketing role. It is independent of both of those functions. I am going to take more of a consultative, partnership approach that is really independent of our platform or technology.
There are really three parts to the strategy:
- A services business helping customers build an effective content marketing platform.
- An on-boarding process to help customers quickly and efficiently generate a return from their investment.
- Working with existing customers to revisit their objectives and see what we can do to help them be even more successful.
DGR: At Newscred, you’ll be working with B2B and B2C companies on their content marketing strategies. How do they differ?
Brenner: I have never bought into the notion that B2B and B2C content marketing is completely the same. They have different objectives and different measurement of success. But ultimately, it is all about reaching the right audience and gaining and maintaining their trust, so in that way, there are synergies.
DGR: What’s your view of the future of content marketing?
Brenner: I think we’re going to see brands, both B2B and B2C, continue to realize the value of telling a story rather than making a product pitch. There is still work to be done in that regard, and I’m getting a lot encouragement from leaders in the field.
SiriusDecisions’ Jen Horton On Building A More Buyer-Centric Journey
By Brian Anderson, Associate Editor
The 2014 SiriusDecisions Summit covered various different areas of the B2B marketing landscape, including new content marketing frameworks, customer experience and influencer marketing.
In a recent interview with Demand Gen Report, Jen Horton, Research Director at SiriusDecisions, discussed some of the key takeaways from her presentation at the recent SiriusDecisions Summit, which focused primarily on how marketing automation has grown into a vital tool to help B2B marketers improve the buying journey.
Demand Gen Report: Care to share a general overview of the presentation you and Service Director Jay Famico hosted at this year’s SiriusDecisions Summit?
Jen Horton: There were three different components of the presentation. The first was our marketing automation benchmark, which surveyed 237 B2B organizations that had marketing automation platforms implemented. We asked questions from a variety of different dimensions, covering how companies are resourcing and operationalizing marketing automation investments.
The second part of it really focused on use cases and what type of things they were using market automation for, how are they designing their nurture tracks, how many nurture tracks have they put in place and also looking at where additional plug-ins to marketing automation are being leveraged.
Then the third effort was really look at how marketing automation has been growing, some data crunching on that end as it work specifically with adoption and growth within marketing automation.
DGR: How has marketing automation grown into a critical piece of the B2B puzzle?
Horton: I think it’s this evolution of organizations communicating from the prospect’s perspective and the buyer’s perspective. From a B2B perspective, it’s understanding what that buyer’s journey looks like in order to create the best journey possible. Those marketing automation capabilities are absolutely required so that they can identify, segment and target those individuals in a meaningful way and have their content properly so that they can serve the right offer at the next step from the buyer’s perspective.
B2B marketing is transitioning from being brand-centric to being more customer and buyer-centric in order to scale and be effective and efficient in that those marketing automation capabilities are really what’s required versus say just simple email marketing where you’re kind of blasting to broad audiences.
DGR: Marketing and sales alignment is another area that B2B companies continue to struggle with. Why are B2B organizations finding it difficult to align their marketing and sales teams, and how can technology like marketing automation help?
Horton: It’s one of those conversations that never ends because it’s not something that’s ever totally solved.I think in order to help drive progress in that relationship with sales and marketing, technology is the way to try to help. It helps put accountability on both sides of the relationship. It helps from a reporting and measurement perspective and it helps to improve the execution on both sides of the house. So, if you think about sales and marketing alignment and the investments that have already been made in a lot of that sales technology just has to balance on both sides of the house. I think that’s another reason why it’s becoming so critical and viewed as ignition critical piece. You know that sales and marketing alignment discussion continues to happen in organizations and continues to evolve, but that’s kind of more than an internal facing perspective versus an outward marketing perspective.
DGR: What other hurdles have you noticed organizations struggling to get over when implementing marketing automation platform?
Horton: I think that having the right people to help get the process right is a big hurdle. I’ve always believed thatmarketing automation is great when you’re automating the right process, and painful when you’re automating a broken process. A lot of these organizations struggle with the data and the system that they have in place, or the relationships that they have where there’s hand-off between different functions in the organization. So, in order to bring the technology in that will satisfy the business, it does require people that know how to have a vision for how that technology can be applied, drive change and manage change across the organization. That’s a hard set of skill sometimes to have if it’s not already internally in the organization and it’s a hard set of skills to hire for.
Will The Sales Team Be Wearing Google Glass?
by Kim Ann Zimmermann, Managing Editor
Wired recently ran an insightful blog about Salesforce’s move to try and extend the use of wearable technology in the workplace, which could have some implications for marketers and sales people. The post noted that while consumers have been targets of wearable technology such as Google Glass digital eyewear and Samsung Gear smart watches, Salesforce is now opening up its development platform to those who want arm their workforce with wearable technology that links to its CRM.
While surgeons, technicians and others who need to be hands-free to perform their jobs have long relied on wearable technology, it hasn’t taken off among sales professionals and marketers. The primary reason is that, until now, there hasn’t been a link to key platforms such as CRM and marketing automation that drive their daily work lives.
My colleague Brian Anderson and I spotted someone wearing Google Glass at a Salesforce event in New York earlier this year. That person was a journalist who was videoing the event to review later, not a sales person accessing the CRM.
The move is a clever one by Salesforce to increase reliance on its CRM platform. A sales person, and most of us, to be honest, check our smartphones 100 times a day or more, according to Salesforce’s Senior Vice President of Emerging Technologies Daniel Debow. Why not expand that same reach to other devices?
But an alert on a smart watch about important campaign metrics or a deal that just closed doesn’t seem like all that much progress to me from getting the same notification on a smartphone.
And is it any less intrusive for a sales person to check his watch than pull out a smartphone during a meeting to look up account details in the CRM, for example? I’m not quite convinced. A glance at a smart watch might be seen as a sign that that the sales person is bored and wants to wrap up the meeting. And if a sales person shows up wearing Google Glass, that might be a novelty, but I’m not quite sure whether it’s going to help close any more deals.
SiriusDecisions’ Intelligent Growth Hangout: Your Content Shouldn’t Be A ‘Selfie’
By Brian Anderson, Associate Editor
At its first Intelligent Growth Hangout, SiriusDecisions delved more deeply into several topics from 9th Annual SiriusDecisions Summit, particularly the role of content in lead generation and sales and marketing alignment.
Tailoring the message to the audience continues to be a pain point for many marketers, participants noted. Online content has to move beyond the “selfie” with original messaging that resonates with buyers, according to Marisa Kopec, Vice President and Group Director at SiriusDecisions.
Kopec added that “messaging is a large area of misalignment in marketing and sales organizations,” and SiriusDecisions “really hit a sore spot on an area that needs to be improved on — and essentially transformed — in our client organization.”
An overwhelming majority (90%) of the companies who attended the Summit stated they are confident in their ability to grow, according to Jim Ninivaggi, Service Director of Sales Enablement Strategies at SiriusDecisions.
“The whole point of conference is growth, and it was amazing to see the amount of confidence B2B marketers have now when it comes to growing their organization,” said Ninivaggi. “The world of B2B is in a very good place right now, and it’s focused on positive growth.”
Other topics discussed include:
- Why B2B marketing technology has been slowly adopted over the past decade;
- The future of the buying process, and the chance that B2B marketers may have little to no control over it; and
- How B2B marketers are preparing for the future, and thinking more like “scientists.”
SiriusDecisions will be hosting live Google+ Hangouts every month to cover various topics and questions from the Summit, as well as trends and new research. Next month’s Intelligent Growth Hangout is slated for July 15.
Below you will find an on-demand version of the hangout, share with us what you think was the most valuable advice!
Three Pillars Of A Winning Demand Gen Strategy: Data, Inbound And Nurture
By Brian Anderson
With today’s technology and knowledge of the B2B landscape, marketers are still struggling to fuel campaigns with the right content or understand how to get started with inbound marketing.
In a recent webinar, Cari Baldwin, President of BlueBird Strategies, shared its insight into what factors play a significant role in how prosperous a demand generation strategy is for a B2B company — and how to enhance these factors to ultimately boost your revenue.
Successful demand generation strategies have these three key components:
Data is one of the most important factors in a demand generation strategy, so it’s vital that you “build, don’t buy” your database, according to Baldwin.
Segmenting the data is key to making the content relevant and valuable in the eyes of prospective buyers.
“If you obtain data, improve your deliverability and track your communications, you’ll see your data strategy come into place,” Baldwin said.
The Inbound Strategy
Using inbound, marketing can turn strangers into customers and promoters of your business. There are four steps to a great inbound strategy:
- Attract: Engage with prospects who are unfamiliar with your brand via your blog and social media, using keywords to personalize the interaction.
- Convert: Develop relatable forms, calls-to-action and landing pages that will make these new visitors continue engaging with your company.
- Close: Use targeted, personalized emails to engage new leads while tracking buying signals.
- Delight: Tailor events, social interaction and “smart” content for new customers to inform them of the latest trends and keep them happy.
“If you have a solid inbound strategy, you are going to be more successful in building your own list of leads instead of buying blacklists,” said Baldwin.
The Nurture Strategy
To successfully nurture your leads, you have to effectively combine your data alongside your content. If done correctly, B2B marketers can leverage their data in order to personalize content for each stage of the nurture cycle.
Leverage your brand advocates to promote engagement, and also amplify your message to convert prospective buyers who are still on the fence. Paired with personalized content, advocates can easily get the message to the right prospects — and also increase the potential for that prospect to convert.
With nurturing content, you want to be sure that it’s:
- Presented at the right time; and
- Brief. 71% of B2B buyers want content that is five pages or less.
Doing The Math At SiriusDecisions
By Matthew McKenzie
This week’s SiriusDecisions Summit has had a bit of a mathematical bent. Case in point was this session: The SiriusDecisions Messaging Nautilus.
The Nautilus — an eight-stage framework for developing and operationalizing a messaging strategy — turns out to be a formidable body of best practices. I’ll focus here on one aspect of the process: activation mapping.
Put simply, activation mapping addresses a familiar disconnect between messaging strategy and on-the-ground content execution. “Too many messaging originators have no idea what happens with that messaging once it goes into content creation,” said Marisa Kopec, SiriusDecisions VP and Group Director.
What often happens, Kopec said, is that the content simply ends up getting broken. The process of turning messaging into content, and then distributing that content by format or channel, dilutes or distorts the messaging. That has a predictable result on the impact of your messaging.
What’s the solution? Kopec and her partner on stage, SiriusDecisions Service Director Erin Provey, suggest thinking about your content options as part of a two-axis grid. The first axis maps against interactivity: print, digital, social and live content. The second maps against format length: words, phrases, short form, long form and custom content.
It’s an intuitive system that covers everything from single-word slogans and ad copy to white papers and infographics. It gives you a blueprint for applying your messaging, in very precise and consistent ways, against a full spectrum of content options.
Activation mapping doesn’t have to be rocket science. In fact, it’s mostly an awareness-building exercise, but that doesn’t mean it’s familiar ground to marketers. “It sounds intuitive, but it’s not happening in most organizations today,” said Kopec. Until that changes, our customer messaging will keep getting broken — and our content won’t live up to its full potential.
Matthew McKenzie is Chief Content Officer at Content4Demand.