A by-the-book approach to marketing content may not have much audience impact. Some of your content is bound to fail. But you can increase the odds of success by tracking its effectiveness. Data should be used constantly to refine your content strategy.

Why Data is Essential

Most marketers are still unclear on what works and what doesn’t. The problem is that people rarely take the time and trouble to understand the measures they’re looking at and what they mean.

Successful marketers know how to leverage the information they gather. Without this ability, every new campaign may fail to bring in enough revenue to justify the expense. Data-driven content strategies minimize that risk.

Establishing a Data-Driven Content Strategy

As organizations target larger markets and more channels, key tracking metrics are important. Marketing campaigns that are driven by intuition, guesswork, or even past experiences are liable to fail more than they succeed.

Data-driven strategies give better returns financially and in terms of brand awareness. Your company has greater transparency into what’s happening and can use the information to spot patterns, identify customer behaviors, and anticipate trends. Quality content exploits these insights not just to attract customers but to propel them deeper into the sales funnel.

More Efficient and Effective Content

Continued success depends on the ability to produce effective content and to produce it efficiently. More buyers in both B2B and B2C industries are looking to online content to make their purchase decisions. The buyer must be convinced in as few “touches” as possible that your content demonstrates the best overall value.

The need for fresh content on platforms like social media represents a greater need for efficiency in content creation. Many companies have very limited data capabilities in establishing how each new piece of content performs with audiences. Automated tracking of likes, shares, views, downloads, and so forth enables you to tailor your message to what works in the shorter turn-around times required.

Hit Targets to Drive Revenue

Data-driven content helps focus efforts, save time, and promote the bottom line. You are able to generate more brand conversation and more sales for every dollar spent. Your organization can establish realistic targets for every step of the marketing process and craft result-centric and customer-oriented tactics.

Developing Your Content Strategy From Your Data

The right strategy allows your marketing team to deliver an effective message to the right audience at the right time. Data-driven strategies provide measurable performance, higher conversion rates, easier revenue growth, and more informed decision making, but also suggest means of further improvement.

Here are some actionable steps to take:

1. Content Audits

What content do you have out there now? Does it reflect current promotions or ideas? How well is it performing? Conducting an inventory of all the content you’ve already published and gauging its effectiveness will guide your next steps.

2. Implement a Data-Centric Culture

Across most organizational departments there’s a need to implement data-driven decision-making. However, there’s a tendency to rely on traditional methods that are taught as fundamental selling. Many employees prefer to trust their own judgement rather than checking the numbers first, or tend to keep their information in a marketing silo. You must teach your teams the benefits of data-driven strategies and drive a new mindset that helps them embrace and share the data for company-wide advantages.

3. Outline Your Objectives

Your marketing must be proactive. Hitting your targets will be difficult if everyone isn’t clear on what they are. Everyone should approach their duties with the goal of making your targets a reality. Team members should be asking themselves how they can use content to make this happen.

Short-term goals should follow directly from analysis of the data gathered. It’s important that everyone be familiar with the processes by which that data is collected and used.

4. Choose the Best Technology

The right technology has to be in place to help you discover and integrate the right data for your marketing. You need to find the data tools that address specific problems. For example, customer activity might peak on weekends when there’s no one in the office. You could use scheduling functions with your blog and social pages. It will help to provide automation of data processes so that any crucial developments are captured in reports or dashboards that can be quickly checked.

5. Optimize Frequently

Marketing influences change rapidly. If you aren’t on top of your own metrics, you may be reacting too late to take full advantage. It’s essential to your brand’s relevance that you stay informed and develop the agility to react quickly. Your marketing strategy should involve regular testing and validation of your data so there’s no debate on how it should be interpreted. Then you can adjust strategy on the fly and minimize missed opportunities.

6. Make Every Choice Data-Driven

A proven track record of accuracy is the best way to build confidence in your strategy. With quality data at hand, marketers will be better able to eliminate any guesswork. By centralizing and streamlining your data processes with the right tools, you can be sure that the right data is always there to understand the impact of each decision before moving to the next one.

Used properly, content data will provide actionable marketing plans. By selecting the most appropriate tools for your needs and developing a data-centric company culture, you can empower your team to make steady progress.

Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today's business and marketing. When she’s not being all serious and busy, she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, and delivering some fine cooking (her family says so).

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