Marketing Automation Bolsters Content Marketing Effectiveness

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Marketing Automation Bolsters Content Marketing Effectiveness
Marketing Automation Bolsters Content Marketing Effectiveness

Marketers who use automation are more effective than their peers—especially when it comes to using content marketing for lead generation, according to the 2013 Lenskold Group/Pedowitz Group Lead Generation Marketing Effectiveness Study. Additionally, the report, which is based on a survey of 323 B2B lead generation marketers, says that content marketing represents nearly one third of the average budget for lead generation marketing.

However, automation alone isn't the only practice that makes highly effective marketers more successful than their peers in terms of content marketing and lead generation. “Marketing automation is not the ultimate answer for content effectiveness,” says Debbie Qaqish, partner and chief strategy officer of Pedowitz Group.

“Highly effective, efficient marketers” do a much better job repurposing content, capturing data regarding the content, customizing content for audiences with specific job titles, and intelligent targeting, according to Qaqish. These marketers have a much more developed business process for content marketing than do their peers.

Four in five “top-tier” marketers (13% of the survey sample) have marketing automation integrated with sales or CRM systems, while another 10% use marketing automation, but it isn't integrated with sales or CRM technology.

The top-tier marketers also are much more likely (57% versus 26%) to use lead generation scoring, which helps companies concentrate their marketing and sales resources on the best prospects, helping to drive increased sales and revenue. Qaqish adds that marketing automation that reports the results of content marketing efforts leads to more precise lead scoring.

Measuring key financial outcomes is another practice that separates highly effective marketers from their peers. According to the study, measuring incremental revenue from and the ROI of content marketing aren't common practices among marketing organizations, even though the ones who monitor these financial measures tend to perform much better than their peers. Only one in five marketers measures these outcomes. Companies outperforming their competitors were three times as likely to measure ROI and twice as likely to measure revenue compared to other marketers.

The measurements don't need to be complex. Basic tracking and simple attribution dominate content marketing measurements. But combining these measures with marketing automation that integrated to sales or CRM systems can help to link leads or sales to specific content marketing efforts. In fact, two thirds of respondents' companies that have integrated marketing automation are able to measure the sales conversions that come from content marketing, as well as measure content requests and content participation.

Advanced measurements can produce a competitive advantage due to improved marketing effectiveness and revenue contribution, according to Qaqish. “Marketers need to step back, slow down and look at what they're doing,” Qaqish says. Rather than “just getting content out there,” content marketers instead need to target the right people with the right content at the right time. The content appropriate for the prospect who's “just looking” is much different from the content appropriate for the prospect who is on the cusp of a purchasing decision. Top-tier companies do a much better job of repurposing content for the different parts of a buyer's journey, the report notes.

To improve content marketing effectiveness, Pedowitz recommends:

  • Determine content gaps in the buyer journey and created targeted content to fill them.
  • Develop fully segmented personas for more targeted content marketing.
  • Develop a tightly focused content development plan for lead generation.
  • Use the technology the company already has in house to start measuring the performance of a company's content marketing efforts.
  • Eliminate underperforming content after six months if it's not producing the desired engagement or conversions.
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