B2B marketers have, for long, tried to find that perfect magic formula of techniques and channels to use to achieve success in connecting with the customer. Forrester has confirmed through research, in its recent report on the state of B2B marketing mix, what the marketers have kind of suspected all along:
- There is no single ‘magic bullet’ approach or technique that has been shown to be consistently effective in connecting with customers and building brand value, according to survey of top B2B marketers.
- Nevertheless, content marketing stands out as the one parameter that is highly popular and effectual as a technique for generating demand and creating brand awareness.
It is a no-brainer, then, that content marketing should be taken seriously by any B2B marketer worth their salt. In formulating an ideal marketing mix, content marketing should be given its due as not just a campaign building block but as a means to begin and sustain a healthy and gainful relationship with the customer. Content, instead of being treated on a campaign-to-campaign basis, should be treated as an integral part of marketing and one that contributes heavily to the overall business development.
Now, if content is that important, then it equally important to have an efficient system to measure the impact that content marketing has on a business as a whole. After all, as Peter Drucker said, “What gets measured gets managed”.
There are four critical areas in which the value of content marketing can be measured:
- Content Performance: Measure of how content is consumed, interpreted and distributed, creating brand awareness in the process. This can be done by analyzing what type (format) of content gets the most traction; what kinds of channels are buyers gravitating towards; what topics resonate best with buyers; and so on. The results should also indicate whether and how repurposing of content in various forms results in increased engagement with the customers.
- Audience Performance: The response of the customer to the content directed at them.
Again, analytics can help to deduce how content is impacting brand perception. Content can help drive the buyer from one point to the next in his journey, and also reveal loyalty drivers for long-term engagement. Content can be cleverly designed to engage the customer by means of asking relevant questions about his/her preferences.
- Sales Efficiency: The number of successful interactions with sales leads in a given time.
The way to measure the value of content is by seeing if the speed of lead conversions has increased after publication of a certain piece of content and also if sales is using the content in other ways to increase the number of leads.
- Business Performance: The effect of content on the performance of business overall.
This is where the direct impact of content creation is felt. By measuring how much revenue and new sales can be attributed to content, one can see the direct justification of investment made on content. Future strategy for content can be devised on the basis of the influence of content on lifetime value to the customer.
What this goes to show is that it is not enough to have a stunning content strategy for one or two campaigns. Content marketing needs to be integrated into the DNA of any business’s marketing program; measurement of the success rate of this content strategy should also be an indispensible part of the plan. Only then, will a holistic picture of the influence of content on the customer will emerge. Only then will content creators and marketers realize the full potential of the power of content.
For more information on how content can be instrumental in driving your business to success, explore our Resources section here.