Stop Making Content Marketing Decisions With Sticky Notes

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We’ve all been there – 10 or more people in a conference room, armed with colored sticky notes, whiteboards and easel pads – fruit aging on the counter with every passing hour since lunch.  .  Welcome to the classic content marketing campaign “dreamstorm.”

The dreamstorm is a place where you come up with a litany of out-of-the-box ideas that, in reality, will  never get executed or, if they are, would be  difficult to quantitatively rule a success.

In a world where every other function of business is data-driven, why is content marketing still guided by colored sticky notes?

It’s hard, after all, to find the small area of overlap between the message you need to convey and what interests your audience. But if you’re investing in content marketing, it’s incredibly important and not something that should be left to sticky notes, even in the hands of the smartest marketers.

Data Won’t Solve Every Problem, But It Sure Will Help

Applying data to your content strategy doesn’t make content marketing easy.  You still have to provide great content, take the angle that readers will value while advocating for your brand. But starting with a foundation of data allows you to avoid misconceptions, keep the loudest voices from dominating the strategy, and  above all, focus on topics that  matter to your audience.

Using data doesn’t squash your marketing team’s creativity, in fact, it does just the opposite. Data provides insight into the challenges your audience is facing and how they are searching for solutions. With these key insights, a creative team can use their collective brainpower to produce creative, compelling content targeted to just the right audience, at just the right time.  

A foundation of data does not provide a magic bullet – it won’t solve every problem or make your product better than your competitors’ (with seemingly infinite marketing budgets). But it will allow you to find the arbitrage opportunities—the areas where you can compete and win, where you are more relevant and can differentiate from those behemoths.  

Using data is important, but not the only factor in driving a successful marketing campaign. Data aligns you to the opportunity size and the right level of investment. It is the “marketing DNA” that helps you and your executive team define what success looks like, how you’ll measure it and when something worked, or didn’t.

So next time you gather the team, book the conference room for the day, and craft an agenda of brainstorm activities, consider starting the day with an overview of the data: What do you know about how your customer thinks? How do they search and what are they searching for? What’s important to them – and how does that align to your business?

And if you’d like help in figuring out how to get started, let us know. We’d be happy to help.

 

About The Author, Caroline Ferris

Caroline is the head of marketing at Demand Signals.  If you can’t find her at work, try one of the many playgrounds in the Raleigh area, where she’s probably on the slide with her two kids.