How to Succeed (With Data) in the New Era of Marketing

Liz Millikin on Content Marketing

In the 1960s, JFK was president, flower power was in full bloom, and modern marketing was born.

Back then, there were five basic channels available for marketers: print media, radio, television, cinema, and direct mail.

Today, there are more than 200 options for marketers hoping to catch their customer’s eye, and that number is only growing as new apps, platforms, and services are released.

If you still think your granddad’s principles of marketing strategy are going to work in this new era of marketing, you’re about to be very, very disappointed.

It was with this stark truth that Mathew Sweezy, principal of marketing insights at Salesforce, opened his talk on the New Era of Marketing. Speaking to a crowded room at the Content Marketing Conference, Sweezy set out the tenants of the new world order and proved that marketing will never be the same – and it will keep changing.

In this post, I explore just a few of Sweezy’s assertions, including the new status quo of content creation, content consumption, and how data can help your marketing efforts right now.

If Content Is King, We All Live in Castles

2007 marked the end of business as usual for marketing departments all over the world.

By the end of that year, Facebook hosted 100,000 business pages, but even with that seemingly huge business presence, 2007 was the first year when consumers overtook businesses as the single largest creators of media and content.

Today, Facebook has grown to support 1.65 billion monthly active users. Each one of them is a content creator, posting photos, video, and status updates.

As a marketer, you are no longer competing with other marketers for your target audience’s attention.

Now, you’re competing with other marketers and your target audience for their attention.

The fact is, breaking through consumer created media is more difficult than competing against other ads.
The numbers get scary. On average, there 1,500 posts clamoring for your attention every time you log into your Facebook account. And, if you think that social media is still just for teenagers and millennials, think again. The average user aged 35 to 49 checks their Facebook account a whopping 17 times a day.

1,500 posts.

17 times a day.

And that’s just on Facebook.

On average, each person is active on 7.4 social media channels. Add in the amount of content available on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and others, and you’ll quickly find the amount of content to compete against isn’t just big, it’s astronomical.

From now on, you can’t just put out great content and expect it to be found.

Mobile Content First

The high level of competition for your audience’s attention is one hurdle. The next is adapting to the way people interact with your content.

While many professional marketers create for laptop screens first, this may not be the way your audience wants to view your content.

When you think back on this statistic, that more people in the world have access to a mobile device than to clean water and electricity, remember, too, that this means more people have access to mobile than a laptop or desktop computer.

It’s not just that the future is mobile. The present is mobile.

Are you optimized?

The Present State of Online Content Consumption

In the United States, individuals now spend 12 hours a day consuming content. We now use content as a means of learning new things (like about the New Era of Marketing) and as a means of escaping (Take This Quiz to Find Out Your Dream Vacation).

Learning and escaping doesn’t just happen while you’re sitting at your 9-to-5, either. Content consumption is happening 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As smart marketers, our job is to figure out how to get our content in front of our audience the moment they are ready to view it.

To do this, we have to understand how our audience is looking for and navigating content.

Your Audience Disqualifies Before They Qualify

The best illustration of disqualification is your email inbox.

The first thing you do when you open your email is to delete any and all emails that are not relevant to you. Only then do you decide which emails need our attention most, and you manage your inbox accordingly.

Consumers determine the value of content within 1/20 of a second.
This means, you have 1/20 of a second before your potential customer:

  • Clicks away from your blog
  • Deletes your email
  • Skips out of your YouTube pre-roll ad

Your Audience Searches in Batches

Thanks to Google, it’s become really, really easy to find information. Because of this, your audience consumes content in batches.

Instead of, say, downloading one white paper and immediately reading it, your audience today is much more likely to download a few white papers, an ebook, and two one sheets to read later.

This behavior doesn’t just manifest in the business world. Think of sites like Pinterest and Pocket. Their model is based around saving content on the fly for users to consume later.

Pocket has over 17 million users and 1 billion saved articles (The Verge, Pocket).

Pinterest has more than 88 million active users (TechCrunch).

The key to taking advantage of your audience’s batch research behaviors is to balance micro-content, which can be consumed quickly, and larger pieces. Micro-content keeps your brand top of mind, while your longer or more involved pieces drive your business goals.

As Sweezy so eloquently put it, “Am I going to read your white paper during my escape time? Hell no. I am trying to escape your white paper.”

But how do you tell what kind of content your audience wants at any point of time?

Using Data to Create Effective Marketing Campaigns and Drive Results

Is your CRM connected to your website and your survey software and your social profiles?

A fully integrated marketing system is the path to success in the new era. There are three types of data to keep in mind:

  • Behavioral Data
  • Psychographic Data
  • Internal CRM Data

One of the best things we can do as marketers is to leverage this data, using it to inform every step of our process, from planning to creation to paid ad placements.

It is the best way to cut through the crowd and have your message heard by the right people at the moment when they are most receptive to it.

Let’s take a look at all three types of data, so you’ll be armed with the right piece at the right time.

Behavioral Data

This information is generally collected from a user’s web-browsing habits. It can include which pages within a site the user visits, how long they stay on that page, which links they click, and what search terms they use.

On social media sites, behavioral data includes which posts a person clicks, likes, comments on, and shares.

All of this information can be used to determine what kind of content, and even which exact piece of content, you should show to a particular person in a particular place.

Facebook, for example, may not be a great place for your white paper. But it is the perfect place to share your video of an excavator and telehandler duking it out in a massive game of Jenga.

Psychographic Data

Whereas behavioral data reports on an individual’s actions once they are on a site, psychographic data addresses who they are offline. This, however, goes beyond demographic data and includes additional personality traits and world views.

This information will determine where you should be placing ads and how you should be targeting them, going far beyond the basics of audience demographics.

With a clear understanding of your existing audience’s psychographic data, you can more accurately target future customers with messaging fine-tuned for their needs and personalities.

Internal CRM Data

Your CRM is the lifeblood of your sales team and should be the driving force behind your marketing campaigns as well.

The information collected by your CRM should be combined with behavioral data to inform your content planning sessions, ensuring that future content is more successful than anything shared in the past.

Use your CRM in conjunction with psychographic data to continuously define your audience and refine your ad placements, segmentation, and targeting.

Smarter Marketing for the New Era

It’s a noisy, content-driven world, and it’s only going to get worse. By 2020, there will be upwards of 50 billion devices connected to the internet (CNN). From smartphones to toasters, more and more devices have to be connected to deliver the experience consumers want.

This means, for marketers, our landscape will continue to change, and that change will happen faster and faster. To adapt, marketing departments must be agile, scalable, sustainable, and continuously add value to the customer experience.

In closing his talk, Sweezy left his audience with this:

“The future belongs to those who understand what is possible, why, and use modern media to build trusted relationships and valued experiences. Advertising alone will not get us there!”

Mathew Sweezy’s entire deck, New Era of Marketing, is available on Slideshare.