They say you can never have too much of a good thing. In my view data is a good thing – but can you have too much of it? Clearly many of my fellow marketers do – recent research by IBM found that more than 70% of CMOs are put off from doing anything with their data due to data overload. However I think data needn’t be challenging – by following a few simple tips it can benefit every marketer.
Should content still be king?
There is so much content being created at the moment that marketers’ messages are often drowned out. Just in the last minute 72 hours of youtube video, 571 new websites and 100m new emails were created. How do you cut through all of this content? You need context. If you are not getting the what, where and how right then all your effort spent on content is wasted. So content is still king, but context is its partner.
Think about when
The trick is to start small and to think about the different phases a customer is going through. For example, if you are a mobile phone company – one of the most important dates is obviously the renewal – but the renewal date varies from customer to customer and their situation will be different. Understanding the nuggets of gold in your data, which in turn lets you determine nuance along with understanding which channel works best in that specific situation will deliver cut through.
Don’t forget slow data
Initially, when trying to react to your customer behaviours, you start with “if this – then that” type messaging. For example, if a person browses a product or downloads an article then you send them a certain communication. I call this “fast data” – but there is a much bigger opportunity with “slow data.” This deeper analysis, allows you to find new patterns in the data, which adds colour to your messaging.
How much talking is too much?
There is a fear of sending too many messages and alienating the reader. But this doesn’t need to be the case – it all depends on the context. You can talk a lot to your customer if it is relevant.
Be careful how much you say
Many of us will already be familiar with the perhaps mythical story from Target in the USA. Target used patterns in their data to understand the 25 products an expectant mother would buy. By assigning the products with a score they could calculate how far into a pregnancy a mother was. They were so accurate that they were apparently able to deduce a particular teenager’s pregnancy before her own father could. Whether this actually happened is not the point – the example demonstrates the need to respect your customer and their need not to feel watched.
It all comes down to responsibility – there is a huge amount of data available, but by understanding what you are trying to achieve and by communicating upfront on how you are intending to use the data you can successfully use it to further your content marketing.
COO @ Profusion
21st July 2014