Customers today have an insatiable appetite for information, making content a vital part of how sales and marketing teams communicate, educate and influence prospects throughout the buying cycle. But, there are some clear indicators that we need to get smarter about how we view content marketing and its relevancy to our customers and businesses. The stats are sobering: arecent studyfound that 50% of content gets eight shares or less;another uncoveredthat 60-70% of B2B content goes unused; and Forresterdiscoveredthat 90% of content is ignored by B2B sales teams. It’s clear that there’s misalignment between the content that’s being created and its intended audience.
Though the words “data” and “content” are not often thought of as being interrelated, predictive analytics can be a game changer for content marketers. With predictive intelligence, B2B marketers are able to look past vanity metrics — such as number of downloads — to identify top performing content through deeper insights about which pieces attract the highest quality leads, drive larger deals, or accelerate deal velocity. This actionable intelligence enables teams to measure marketing effectiveness in real-time and adjust campaigns to improve content and audience alignment, and ultimately boost marketing ROI.
Predictive models work by analyzing customer data from your internal systems of record — such as MAP and CRM systems — and combine it with thousands of external signals about a prospect to predict whether they are a good fit to buy your product. By leveraging this type of historical data to inform content development, predictive analytics enables you to rely less on educated guesswork and more on data in order to produce content that is relevant and attractive to buyers.
Rather than waiting for the full marketing and sales cycle to play out, predictive analytics provides content marketers with a litmus test to help measure the effectiveness of each content program. It lets you look at the quality of your lead sources in real-time as new leads are generated. Now, you can identify which assets deliver the best-fit leads for the business, and direct your marketing spend towards the highest performing content channels. We call this a “test-and-invest” strategy, and it’s something you should repeat over and over again to continuously fine-tune your content marketing efforts.
Let’s walk through this approach with an example from how my company, Infer, uses it to compare several eBook assets and find out which is driving the most high-quality leads.
Step 1: Line up several pieces of content.