Content in Context

This is the age of big data: making data-driven decisions entails not just gathering all the relevant
points of information, which requires breaking through silos, but also applying the right analysis
to extract value from it and act on it.

Finding valuable insight is not a question of integrating as much data as possible, but of finding
the right data as well as the connections that reveal its points of relevance. The right data is
pertinent, precise, and clearly identified. That’s where analytics comes into play, filtering out the
irrelevant and identifying exactly what you need to know.

For businesses that deal in information, the first rule of thumb is “content is king." The second is
“timing is everything." Put the two together, and you get the guiding principle for making use of
Big Data: an analysis of content in context, which should serve as the guiding principle of
effectively targeted marketing.

Gartner identifies smart personalization as the driver behind an increase of 15% in profitability
for digital businesses by 2020.   Those statistics include B2C marketing, which has progressed
further on the personalization front than B2B.

However, B2B customers also expect personalized marketing, according to a Marketo study, The
State of Engagement. Of the B2B customers surveyed 73% agreed, “For brands or vendors to
successfully engage me, they must have a deep understanding of my needs.” And 66% said, “I
expect all of my interactions with brands or vendors to be personalized.”

Ads and offers don’t exist in a vacuum; they all contribute to the larger context of customer
engagement, from phone calls to social media exchanges. If there is no integration, it’s
impossible to put together the comprehensive picture required for effective personalization.
While websites and email are still the primary focus of most B2B marketers, they need to pay
attention to the experience of their customers on all channels. The State of Engagement reports
that 74% of B2B consumers consider having “their profile data integrated across touchpoints” to
be important.

It’s now possible to not only tailor the content but to personalize the context, which includes
identifying the channel preferred by the individual, whether that’s your website, your Twitter
posts, SMS, email, or something else. Another is getting the timing right, communicating with
the customer when there are indications of interest such as when the person is on your website,
just opened your email, or has registered a response to your social media post.
The purpose of analyzing past performance is not just to understand what happened only to
dispense pats on the back or slaps on the wrists. It’s to make better decisions for the future based
on the data, to create a “virtuous cycle” where marketing interactions continue to get more and
more effective. The point of the analytics is to turn the data into actionable insight, to plan the
next move based on what actions have been proven to lead to the defined goals in the past.

Integrating those points of data enables marketers to achieve a comprehensive perspective and a
responsive strategy. With that approach – and the right analytics programs and services – mobile
and social channels can be extremely effective in helping businesses achieve their marketing
goals. Remembering our two guiding principles (“content is king” and “timing is everything”),
then, an effective way to get started is to:

– Capture and maintain data points from all direct marketing interactions to be able to
determine which content is relevant to which targets and in what context; this data stream
comes from your website’s web logs, your e-mail marketers tracking data, and the
analytics on your online advertising and social media placements.

– Use that data to continually refine how future content is presented, and in what context,
to targets in order to enhance engagement, deepen relationships, and ultimately increase
customer lifetime value by increasing frequency and monetary value of purchases.