A few weeks ago, I mentioned persona-based lead scoring was the most valuable part of any marketing automation strategy. But this brought up a good question: How do you gather this essential lead intelligence for automation? The answer is simple: create high-quality content.
In years past, content was mostly used to build your brand. You would write an eBook or whitepaper to demonstrate you were knowledgeable in a particular space. But as Internet marketing evolved, so did the end goal for creating content.
Here's how it used to work:
Now, we know more form fields means fewer conversions. But we also know those form fields provide necessary lead intelligence for both marketing and sales.
Today lead capture looks more like this:
Instead of just creating one downloadable piece of content, today we're developing a larger volume of high-quality content to keep end users engaged. (Kuno's content development schedule includes approximately two new eBooks per month in addition to blog posts and educational videos.)
We've learned from Google's suite of applications like Gmail and Facebook's massive Open Graph that if the product is good enough, users are willing to provide some personal information in exchange for digital products and services. However, no one is willing to give up information all at once. You have to earn it over time.
The content you create for marketing is free like Google and Facebook are free. You provide a website visitor with valuable, problem-solving information in the form of a download at no cost, and the visitor gives you a little bit of information in return. Every time you make a new download available, you gather more information through progressive profiling.
For example, we ask a number of questions only visible when a lead reconverts. After just one month, we gathered a variety of new data points on hundreds of leads, which:
But only 36 percent of marketers think their content is effective. That's a surprisingly low statistic considering just how important this content is for gathering demographic information on buyers. Would Google's products or Facebook's social network be able to gather data about users if the products weren't good enough? The same goes for B2B content marketers. Content for data is a simple quid pro quo. Make content worthy of a conversion and visitors will give you some information.
Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt once said, “Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.” The same goes for your B2B content marketing and automation.
Your goal with content isn't to find out how many kids buyers have, their relationship status or their eye color. You only want information that will improve the visitor's experience.
Often the information that will benefit your marketing automation efforts and user experience is the same. It's not just that you want to know when they are planning to purchase, it's that you take that information and provide them with relevant content for their stage in the buying cycle. And that use of content intelligence is the big picture quid pro quo: All the data you collect requires you create content a user wants—not just what sells your product.
photo credit: caseorganic
Dan Stasiewski is an Enterprise Data Consultant at Kuno. When he's not talking about marketing data and trends, he's probably in a movie theater... or randomly breaking into song. You can connect with Dan via Twitter, LinkedIn or Google Plus.