Content Intelligence: Another case for marketing automation

I recently collaborated on Manticore’s Quintessential Marketing Automation Guidebook with a number of experts.  All in all, this was a successful ebook creation that I definitely recommend reading it.  It’s why, by the way, I wrote this post.  I just read the other collaborators work and wanted to comment on the chapter by Ardath Albee.  As many of you know, I collaborate once in awhile with Ardath and respect her and her work highly.  Her chapter in the ebook: Use content Intelligence to Drive Pipeline Momentum is pretty much classic Ardath.  First let me say, Ardath is not just writing about content, she is trying to help marketers put into perspective the value of marketing automation.  That’s important as the success of your marketing automation roll-out often times fails for reasons other than the actual system. The reality is that marketing automation gives you the platform to strategically leverage content to move buyers down their purchasing cycle.

There are some key points she makes that compelled me to write:

  1. Right message, right time – This is key.  Two things to remember about today’s buyers: they will do their research online without you and they have tons of choices in what they choose to research. That makes content really one of the most important ways to engage this new buyer who doesn’t want/need to contact you/your sales team until they are absolutely ready. In order to break through this issue, marketers must leverage content, but not just any content – they must deliver the right message at the right time.  Here’s a quick snippet:“A content strategy is not just about developing an editorial calendar based on a theme. It’s about designing content to help you gather intelligence about prospects based on which information they engage with and what you can learn by their patterns of their activity over time.”  Boom, perfectly said.
  2. Ardath tip on how to map content – One flaw a lot of us who write/talk all the time about the marketing business have is that we sometimes fail to provide actionable advice on how to execute on our ideas and concepts.  In this case, Ardath has a simple way to begin to map your buyers journey, list out all the questions your buyers have from the beginning of the process until they buy.  Leverage those questions into your content map:“Make a list of all the questions your prospects will need to answer in order to build a business case and justify return on investment. Think about this in steps. Their initial questions are not about which companies or solutions to consider. Your prospects are concerned about why they should care, what they need to know and how the issue is impacting their industry and their competitors. Every question you come up with in regards to those areas of concern has an answer that can become a content resource. String them together appropriately and you have a content map.”
  3. Now, to tie it together: Use the content to gain visibility into the prospect, an opportunity provided by marketing automation.  So you created all this great content, how does it manifest itself into leads, opportunities, sales ready leads, etc.?  The buyer’s consumption of your content will tell you whether the timing is right to engage, thus the reason for marketing automation.:
  4. “But content without the visibility provided by marketing automation lacks the intelligence to enable you to demonstrate measurable impact to revenue generation. Maximizing the value of content intelligence requires that content be designed to tell you as much about prospects as it tells prospects about how to solve their problems.”

There you have it — content intelligence from Ardath, great stuff to check out when you get the chance.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter