Voices

Why Performance Data Isn’t Enough

By Sam Slaughter April 10th, 2017

Readers of a certain age may remember a ’90s commercial for a product called Hair Club for Men, featuring a gentleman who proclaimed “I’m not only the president, I’m also a client.” For lack of a better metaphor, that’s basically how I’d sum up my role at Contently. Not only am I tasked with convincing marketers that our software will solve their content marketing problems, I also use our product to solve our own problems.

As Contently’s VP of content, that means I’m not only interested in measuring the effectiveness of our content, but also tracking the efficiency of our teams as they complete different projects within our technology platform. It’s been a differentiator for me as a boss—and Contently as a business.

Cracking the code

The big challenge our CEO gives our marketing team is figuring out how to drive maximum business with limited resources. If this sounds familiar, that’s because every CEO tasks every CMO with this same problem.

A decade ago, finding the perfect equation of resource-deployment and business results meant cross-referencing a dizzying array of spreadsheets. But in recent years, finding that sweet spot has gotten easier thanks to the rapid maturity of marketing technology, which empowers us to make smarter decisions in less time.

The future belongs to those who embrace technology that improves every aspect of their content marketing.

Today, marketing technology can essentially be mapped to five key functions: governance, planning, production, utilization, and activation, as established by Forrester’s 2017 Wave Report. We’ve built our content marketing technology platform to serve these functions, with our data engine as the secret sauce that clients can use to optimize far quicker than their competitors.

contently dataAt Contently, we collect data on likes, shares, and visitors, sure, but we also have data on over 100,000 freelancers in our network, performance benchmarks across industries, and the production benchmarks of more than 200 enterprise clients. Altogether, we processed nearly 4 billion data points last year. Tying those numbers to specific business goals is extremely appealing to CMOs and other senior marketers because it helps crack the code on where they need to invest to improve their marketing function.

These insights have the power to impact just about every phase of your marketing. Take the planning stage: Contently’s technology platform can surface the most popular topics in your industry, which freelancers are the best at covering them, and how to optimize your content for search algorithms. In the production stage, it can identify bottlenecks in your approval process. And in the activation stage, you can pinpoint which pages of your sales decks and product brochures get the most attention and tailor content for individual prospects.

Marketers who only look at performance metrics are going to fall behind.

I’m not the first person to advocate for more marketing data. We’re at the point where marketers could drown in a sea of stats if they try to analyze all of the information out there. What I’m really talking about is using technology to ensure all of your data inputs make sense when you look at them holistically. When insight into one of Forrester’s core functions is missing, it tends to drag down the other four.

Marketers who only look at performance metrics are going to fall behind. The future belongs to those who embrace technology that improves every aspect of their content marketing program—from how ideas are formed to the ideal workflow to how content drives leads and sign-ups.

You need that perfect mix of creativity, technology, and data. And that’s true whether you’re a president, a client, or just another dude with thinning hair trying to get by.

Image by Getty Images
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