Content marketing is a hot topic these days. It’s enjoying a resurgence of epic proportion. As the driver of customer engagement, content fuels the rich, rewarding experiences that earn customer satisfaction and loyalty. For savvy B2C and B2B marketers, this is nothing new.
What has changed, however, are the stakes.
Create quality content, keep it fresh, keep it constant!
Every digital marketing channel is essentially a delivery mechanism for content. In fact, many experts have simply accepted the fact that content is marketing. As digital channels and devices continue to proliferate, marketers are (rightfully so) doubling down on content marketing efforts to better compete for share of voice.
They are challenged, first and foremost, with creating and/or curating quality content in a timely fashion. In close second is measurement and optimization of it’s performance. According to recent research published by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 33 percent of B2B marketers and 41 percent of B2C marketers cited the inability to measure as a significant challenge. It is this topic — near and dear to our heart at Scope Analytics — that we’d like to explore further today.
A gap between theory and practice
At Scope Analytics we talk about ‘innovating on purpose.’ In digital analytics — from the perspective of a performance services company — we do this more times than not by proactively seeking insights that forever change the ways clients look at their customers. In talking with clients we’ve discovered that a frustrating gap exists between theory and practice for content marketers. And this gap is preventing insight-driven innovation of the customer experience.
Content marketers are simply not able to connect, in a meaningful way, the dots between content, audiences, and the customer journey. Ironically, content marketers think about and plan their digital marketing strategies across these three dimensions on a daily basis, yet usually have little to go on — beyond basic click reports — in the way of deep contextual analysis of the customer journey.
Content marketers are simply not able to connect, in a meaningful way, the dots between content, audiences, and the customer journey.
The fallout, unfortunately, is that too many content marketers are forced to make unnecessary compromises in the quality of insights cultivated from their content marketing measurement programs.
Introducing our custom web analytics implementations for content marketers
To bridge the gap content marketers need more from their web analytics solution than what standard “out-of-the-box” set-ups offer.
The good news is that the technology is already embedded in most leading web analytics solutions. Vendors have built open, flexible systems that can be configured to collect a wide range of custom data dimensions and metrics. Once collected, these data points can be combined in completely unique ways for drilldown, segmentation, and analysis.
The sad truth, however, is that for most content marketers these advanced features remain drastically underutilized (the reasons for which is topic for another blog). So, it is the job of companies like Scope Analytics to help make sure the sheer power and flexibility of these solutions are released in focused, value-generating ways.
Stepping-up to the challenge
So, we set out to do what we do best at Scope Analytics — innovate on purpose — and as a result are very excited to introduce a custom web analytics implementation specifically designed for content marketers.
Our customized web analytics implementations help content marketers orchestrate the customer journey with content analytics.
The core benefits of our solution
Our customized web analytics implementations help content marketers orchestrate the customer journey with content analytics by:
- Applying content marketing measurement to the entire customer journey
- Uncovering how content marketing decisions accelerate (or not) milestone progression
- Delivering pervasive intelligence and key insights into the storytelling strategies of brands
- Analyzing content marketing effectiveness for granular customer segments to better understand behaviour patterns
- Understanding exactly what combinations of content themes and attributes are resonating with target audiences
- Knowing what really motivates customers
The customer journey as “connective tissue”
The customer journey is the connective tissue that brings all the elements of solid content marketing measurement strategy together. It describes where customers stand in relation to the buying process. As such, content marketing should parallel the customer journey as close as possible, providing the right content — white papers, videos, case studies, mobile apps, eBooks, etc. — at the right time to different target audiences.
There are many permutations of the customer journey, or customer lifecycle. Perhaps the most commonly referenced is the classic ‘Awareness-Consideration-Preference-Purchase-Retention-Loyalty’ model. However, they vary widely across B2C, B2B and industry vertical, for example (of late, these models have been re-worked by many to account for the impact of social media).
Below is an example of a hypothetical B2B customer journey applicable to the early stages of a lead nurturing program. For each phase, we’ve mapped specific content assets to the journey. In practice, each piece of content would be designed with specific intent and purpose to support a brand narrative and conversion goal.
Beyond single-session to understand “milestone progression”
No matter how the customer journey is mapped, engaging audiences early and moving them forward – though a series of milestone progressions (moving from one phase to the next) — is really the main objectives of content marketing.
Understanding how content affects the overall flow and development of customer relationships is pivotal to both e-commerce and demand generation programs because these movements influence the types, formats, and styles of content different audiences want to consume, knowing full well that what customers find relevant will change as they move along conversion paths.
It is precisely these intersection points between content, audiences, and the customer journey that marketers need to measure, test, and analyze much more thoroughly. The payoff is actionable, evidence-based decision-making to ensure that A) key information needs of target customers are covered and B) that they are engaged, valued, and inspired.
Contextual “framing” and analysis
There are literally hundreds of reasonable dimensions to consider including in your content marketing measurement program. Content attributes provide the context needed to continuously evaluate and optimize techniques to accelerate customer journey progression, including granular segmentation, cohort analysis, and predictive analytics. Furthermore, attributes can be isolated and/or combined to explore a specific relationship within data, or zoom out to provide holistic program views.
In the coming weeks we will be diving deeper into the specifics of our content marketing measurement methodology. In the meantime, we hope to inspire and get you thinking about the possibilities of deep “contextual analysis.”
Listed in the table below are just 12 examples of common data dimensions and sample values.
Ask yourself, how many of these data dimensions are currently rolled-up into your content marketing measurement framework? Do you know what content formats, themes, and attributes work best on different customer segments at different stages of the buyer journey?
What could this new level of insight tell you, tomorrow, about customer behaviour, intent, and motivation? How could you better inform your content creation, testing and optimization strategies?
Correlate with Implicit and Explicit Data Points
Furthermore, how could you combine and segment these content attributes with explicit user profile or company records data collected in web forms, site registrations, CRM systems, social graphs, or surveys, etc. and the implicit behavioural data captured in various web-based analytics and marketing systems?
Our delivery methodology
Our content marketing delivery methodology is anchored by two key deliverables, introduced in brief here:
The Strategic Part:
- Content Marketing Measurement Framework
- We map content assets to each phase of customer journey and develop a robust meta-data taxonomy to establish clear intersection points between audiences, content, and key milestone progressions.
- Our robust taxonomy integrates all source systems and data for robust contextual analysis.
- Content Marketing Measurement Framework
The Technical Part:
- Data Capture Scripting and Configuration
- We write scripting logic and functions (client-side code on your web page) that control how data is collected, formatted, and passed to your web analytics solution for processing – leveraging custom dimension, metrics, and event tagging features.
- We build custom dashboards, reports, visitor segments, and cohorts used in analysis of activity patterns.
- Data Capture Scripting and Configuration
In our interviews and research we learned that marketers just are not receiving the level of insight into their content marketing efforts that they need. Too many important questions are left unanswered. However, custom web analytics implementations are cost-effective way for content marketers to unleash the powerful capabilities already embedded within core web anlaytics systems.
Many content marketers just don’t realize the degree to which data collection, reporting, and analysis can be aligned to directly support the objectives of their burgeoning content marketing programs.
This blog is the first in a series. We will expand on what has been discussed today, drilling more closely in the following areas:
- Exploring specific B2C and B2B content marketing measurment and analysis scenarios
- Dive deeper into new “touch percentage” & “cycle time” metrics to improve frequency and time between purchases
- Review sample custom report features, segments, and cohorts using Google Analytics
About Scope Analytics Inc.
Scope Analytics Inc. is a digital intelligence consultancy providing consulting, managed services, and training in the areas of digital strategy, web analytics, and interactive marketing and channel optimization. We specialize in helping clients develop and deliver comprehensive data-driven strategies for the web and other emerging digital marketing channels, including video, social media, and mobile.
Two core philosophies at Scope Analytics Inc.:
Innovate on Purpose
Data represents opportunity. Yet, most web-based data is dramatically underutilized. Marketers need creative service solutions that help them move beyond typical “doorstop reporting” practices and transition into learning environments that proactively seek new knowledge and insights that drive marketing innovation – a layer of exploration and insight discovery using all sources of data to uncover actionable digital intelligence.
Data helps, People Deliver
People give data value. More focus is needed on teams and the digital intelligence processes that unite those teams. Technology is critical and content powers customer engagement. But data uncovers paths for growth and is marketing’s key “currency.” This currency must circulate within teams to create an internal economy that empowers individuals to drives business forward.