Measuring the success of content marketing

Companies who invest in quality content marketing tend to see their sales go up, but they can’t always pinpoint the cause.

Was it the blog article? The Facebook post? The sales brochure? If you implement multiple marketing campaigns simultaneously, there’s no way to know for sure where the surge in sales came from. This leads to ineffective implementation of further marketing campaigns because you won’t know which outlet people are paying attention to. There’s no sense in updating your sales brochure if customers are more interested in your Facebook page. Thus, as a marketing director you need to analyze your content marketing strategies and determine a way to measure their effectiveness.

Forrester researchers have found that “customers rely solely on content to do their research until the final 30-40% of the purchase journey, when they seek contact with sales.” With 60-70% of the decision based on a customer’s own initiative, marketers need to make sense of where customers are getting their information, who they’re sharing it with, and what each step of their decision making process is.

Impacting the purchase path

A barrier to this is simply the unknown—you can’t know where each and every customer comes from and you can’t control the channels of information. Ryan Skinner, a contributor to London-based newspaper The Guardian, explained several approaches marketing directors tend to take. Some use the brand advertising theory, which means they rely on exposure and recall to change buying practices, which is a very imprecise system. Such marketers, he said, “struggle to understand or influence their impact on behavior in the purchase path.” He likened these marketers to “the general who only counts how many soldiers he throws forward and how many come back—not a very potent role.”

The communications approach

Another ineffective approach is that of PR or communications. These people have a lot of content and focus on gaining readership and backlinks, but have very little idea of how these strategies affect their bottom line. Skinner applied his metaphor here again, saying, “This general wants to see that his soldiers are running around and shooting, but doesn’t focus on winning the war.”

Waging the content war

So how do you optimize your content marketing analysis? Skinner explained, “The ideal model for measurement would account for multiple audiences with differing values to the business, and different modes or intents. A content marketer who can create experiences that correspond to these, and measure them, will be in a good position to win the war.”

Source: The Guardian

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