Last week, we covered the four main categories of access strategies (paid, earned, leveraged and owned media) and how they all intertwine to maximize customer engagement with your brand. Access strategies are essential to any business model as they help you communicate with your customers and prospects. This week, we’ll cover ideas for developing an informed, data-driven content strategy so that your communications will be effective.
I’d like to begin with the premise that all companies need to develop and amplify relevant content in order to compete today. An effective content strategy builds a dialogue with customers by sharing valuable information, ideas and solutions that relate to your understanding of their needs and interests. If you execute your strategy well, you will increase engagement with your brand in positive ways and build trust. You should also commit to managing a dynamic content strategy that improves over time through tracking online engagement, monitoring feedback, and engaging in an ongoing dialogue that provides insight into future content needs.
Larger, more-sophisticated businesses understand the need for a data-driven content strategy and are devoting increased resources to meet the demand for useful, searchable content. However, small and mid-sized business often lack the data, insights, resources and capacity to generate their own content to provide the timely and insightful information needed to engage key target audiences. So, I recommend that all companies, big and small, first commit to learning as much as possible about their customers and prospects. Consumer brands now have affordable ways to leverage third-party data providers to get a fuller picture of customer lifestyles, values, needs and perceptions. Doing so will enable you to see high-priority segments and stimulate the insights you need to tailor your content, communications, tone and visual elements to increase relevancy and engagement. Third party data sources can also shed light on B2B decision-makers, but I recommend supplementing that with research which we’ll cover in a future Insight.
Hopefully you are already doing this, but remember to monitor your social media pages and tags closely. You’ll want to know what customers are saying about your brand, whether their impressions are positive or negative, if they share anything related to your brand, and more. Social CRM services now enable you to capture customer sentiment as part of a fuller picture of interactions and perceptions of your brand. Take advantage of this and apply it to your content strategy. Observe how your audience is interacting with your content and with your products and services. Think of content and commerce as parallel but connected and mutually-reinforcing assets.
Now, how do you increase capacity for increasing data-driven content? One solution is deploying sponsored content which is the product of a collaboration between your brand and the publisher platforms you use for access. One great example of leveraging sponsored content is Mediaplanet’s story, Recycling Your Fashion for a Better Future, which features fashion retailer H&M’s initiative to collect unwanted clothing from shoppers that they then repurpose (through rewearing, reusing, or recycling) to promote sustainability. Not only does this initiative highlight the brand’s CSR tactics, it produces an effective content marketing campaign that creates brand awareness and connects to their target customers’ values.
An example of data-driven content leveraging “owned media” is the personalized mailings and emails I receive from my health insurance company about preventing asthma attacks. They know from my inhaler prescription that I am the right audience for this message. I appreciate the tips they share with me, and know that my insurer is responsibly improving health outcomes by finding efficient ways to lower costs and premiums.
An example of data-driven content leveraging “paid media” is also in the wellness space. ShareCare is a leading publisher platform that knows the health interests of its millions of engaged customers. You can deploy sponsored content on ShareCare to engage with very defined segments in a geo-targeted way.
Implementing these data-driven content strategies on the right access channels will enhance your marketing intelligence and your brand equity. The benefit of committing resources to these disciplines extends to your development of improved product, service and customer experience strategies. Remember, you don’t have to be a FAANG company to compete successfully. Just leverage what is already available, pull it together with a unified strategy, execute consistently, and continue to learn and improve.
September 27, 2018
Written by Tom Sullivan
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