If we think of marketing as the brain of our business—the place where we decide what we want our brand to look like and how we’ll take it into the marketplace, our customer data are the nerves. They carry information back to the brain to help us make informed decisions. They tell us what’s working and when we need to shift direction. Without customer data, we are like the only multicellular animal without a nervous system. We don’t operate proactively; pressure causes us to contract. We get poked around and bend to the ocean current. We’re like this:
At the Content Standard we monitor visitor data daily using the Skyword Platform and Google Analytics—this allows us to know exactly who our target audience is, what they like, and what’s not resonating. It’s what makes this program Skyword’s top lead generator. We’re customer data obsessed, because we know it’s an essential component to modern marketing, and we owe it to our audience to serve content they want to consume. Also, we don’t want to be sea sponges.
As pointed out in a recent Forbes Insights survey of executives across a wide range of industries, customer data has historically been important to customer-facing organization such as banks and phone companies. They had to pay attention to customer data; their businesses depended on it. Now, with the proliferation of digital content channels—social media, blogs, video marketing—every company with a stake in the digital world must keep a close watch. The benefits are undeniable, with 47 percent of leaders citing customer loyalty as a data-driven marketing advantage, 43 percent citing gaining new customers, and 42 percent customer satisfaction.
Data marketing must become an enterprise-wide endeavor. As customer data touches each department, marketing must take the lead in educating the rest of the company, and this starts with senior management. If your CMO and directors aren’t keenly aware of how customer data affects the success of your digital content, how can you expect the rest of your staff to be? As the report states, “To succeed, companies need skill sets in data management, data science and analysis. Perhaps just as important, decision makers need to develop their skills in critical thinking, to be able to look at information and ask what can be improved or can be done differently.”
Skyword’s findings from our 2016 marketing trends research, “A Study in Brand Transformation,” support the belief that enterprise organizations have to hire employees with the full spectrum of customer-data-related skills, the core of which comes from critical thinking. Only 17 percent of enterprise marketers reported having an analytics scientist role on their in-house marketing team. You might wonder, if data analysis is crucial to digital content success, why aren’t more teams hiring data scientists?
The answer has everything to do with how marketers are adapting their skill sets to the proven success of content marketing. No longer do companies need just an SEO expert, or just a journalist, or just a Web designer. Today, companies look for all three (and more) in one. And with increasingly-intuitive content technology to aid in our education, this rounding out of skill sets is necessary for both individual and enterprise success.
It’s a tall ask, but entirely doable.
Customer-data will always be vital to content marketing, and the enterprises that adapt to the changing tides will deliver superior products and stories to their customers, making the customer the protagonist of their own journey. The choice is yours: sea sponge or killer whale?
Want to learn what customer data points you need to be aware of, how to develop customer-centric strategies, and how to launch customer-inspired products and services? Check out the webinar slides below, and if you want to learn more about using customer data in enterprise marketing to tell great stories, subscribe to the Content Standard Newsletter.