A Better Way for Content Marketing- The Social27 Playlist
In our digital age, content is king. But, in the age of streaming services like Netflix and Spotify, B2B marketers need a better way to connect with potential buyers.
Today (2019), nearly half of organizations’ marketing budgets are spent solely on content and almost ninety percent recognize their content strategy as linked to all parts of their business. Clearly, content marketing is a critical piece of any marketing strategy. In our digital age, everyone is a marketer and content is a sort of currency. We’re all trying to post captivating images, articles and other types of content in exchange for more followers and engagement. As B2B (business-to-business) marketers, we need to find impactful ways to deliver our content that rises above the average Tweeter, Instagramer, blogger, or drip campaign.
Top five challenges for B2B content marketers
There are endless blogs and articles outlining B2B content marketers’ biggest challenges. For this blog, I’ve read many of them and have identified five of the most frequently mentioned challenges as proof of ROI, misalignment with sales, customer segmentation, a lack of actionable insights and scalability.
1. No sure way to prove ROI
Tracking engagements on a piece of content or how many websites visits a piece of content initiates isn’t enough. Organizations want to know how many sales and/or conversions come from specific content pieces and campaigns. This can be hard or even impossible for many marketers to track, as many potential buyers go through multiple pieces of content before converting to a customer and some get passed from the marketing funnel into the sales funnel where content opened the door, but sales closed the lead.
Additionally, content marketers struggle to define relevant, measurable metrics as markers of success.
2. Misalignment with sales
Sales and marketing, while theoretically after the same goals, have long had a disconnect in their strategies. In the past, content marketers have measured their success in the number of leads they generate while sales representatives are after high-quality leads who are ready to buy. Regardless of the quality of leads sales are given, they’re often not given much context into the leads — what they’re interested in, what they already know, etc.
Having a relevant, personalized conversation with a lead can make or break a sale for a sales representative. Without contextual insight into what a potential buyer needs, sales representatives don’t have the tools they need to give potential buyers a personalized experience.
3. Targeting specific customer segments
The first issue many face when approaching a customer segmentation strategy is where to start! The first step, and challenge, in segmenting and targeting customers is putting a collection of great data and an analysis process all in one place. Even after an organization gets the insights they need, they often don’t know what to do with this information to differentiate their product/service and speak to their customer segments’ unique needs.
Targeting specific customer segments requires stepping into the mindset of the customers, meeting them where they hang out and giving them the content that’s most compelling and pertinent to them.
4. Lack of actionable insights
If content marketers had actionable insights it would be easier to align with sales teams, prove their ROI AND easily reach their target audiences. Actionable insights empower content marketers to create new content with defined parameters, deliver content in a way that buyers will be most receptive and more easily identify highly-qualified leads.
Actionable insights rely on great data and intelligent systems that can predict buyer behavior, give content marketers insight into which types of content convert and which don’t for which customer segments, or identify which types of content best compliment other types in the marketing funnel.
5. Efforts are not easily scalable
A top concern for most content marketers is creation. Time is limited, but the amount of content that needs to be created and shared for a successful content marketing strategy is infinite. As organizations grow and branch out to new customer segments, they require more robust content marketing strategies.
Since so many marketers already struggle to keep up, creating the right content and delivering to the right audiences, scaling their efforts can be daunting. Many result to repurposing or updating existing content, but this still requires mainly manual work and ends up taking time away from creating new content, putting content marketers in a vicious cycle.
Artificial intelligence is necessary
Let’s get real, you know this has been coming. How do you tackle these challenges? While there are many things content marketers themselves can do to combat the above challenges, artificial intelligence (AI) is key to boosting content marketers’ efforts in these arenas.
Luckily, you don’t have to be a data scientist or engineer to reap the benefits of implementing AI for your content marketing efforts. With many off-the-shelf solutions, you can start benefiting from these intelligent systems without taking the months and years of engineering and training them yourself.
Social27 Playlist solves your content marketing challenges
Social27 Playlist leverages APIs from Microsoft to power content marketing strategies ethically with built-in security and compliance. Utilizing these tried-and-true solutions and our deep knowledge and experience in B2B content marketing for more than ten years, Social27 Playlist perfectly marries the unique talents and skills of content marketing professionals with the scalability and data analysis capabilities of AI.
How does it work? Well, Social27 Playlist gives your potential buyers content in a binge-able, streaming format with a recommendation engine that can cue up the most relevant content to a unique potential buyer’s needs based on what they’ve interacted with previously. It also gives marketers deep insights at the account or individual level with actionable steps to improve their content, strategy or relevant information tied to a specific account/lead to pass off to sales.
Before I get into the nitty gritty of how Social27 Playlist works, I’d like to walk you through some high-level use cases to showcase the versatility for B2B content marketers across industries.
How to get the most out of Social27 Playlist across industries
Those who are most successful in marketing professional services tend to market to a very specific niche and have visible experts linked to their services. Social27 Playlist allows content marketers to curate content from within their organization’s platforms as well as associated experts to help deliver a diverse experience to potential buyers. Users can pull in content from all types of sources.
For example, a professional services organization focuses in branding and design, largely creating logos, style-guides and other branding assets for tech start-ups. Their playlists may consist of content such as:
· YouTube videos of customer testimonial
· Medium blogs by some of their top designers
· White papers on how to create great style guides
· Worksheets that help companies identify the best color palettes and styles for them
· Podcast episodes that feature their brand experts as guests
Visitors of the Playlist can binge on as much of this content as they have time for and can opt-in to giving their email address for an email list. Then, content marketers get a wealth of valuable insights about the people and accounts that have engaged with their Playlist.
I’ll go deeper into what those insights are below, but first I want to walk through a couple other examples of the types of content that could be included in a Playlist for different industries and talk a little bit about customer segmentation and scalability.
Information Technology (IT)
IT companies often serve several different customer segments. Let’s say, an IT company is selling internet-of-things (IoT) sensors and markets to a variety of sectors. They sell sensors to enterprise-size industrial factories, oil rigs and airports, but also have products marketed toward private homeowners. They may have multiple Playlists, but let’s just look at two that they may curate.
Their enterprise-level Playlist might include:
· Case studies with previous enterprise-level customers from the company blog
· White papers that cover the benefits of using sensors in factories/oil rigs/airports/etc.
· YouTube videos that show behind the scenes of their work with various enterprise-level customers
· Reports on the cost savings and ROI various enterprise-level companies have seen using IoT sensors
· A deep-dive into how the technology works
· A thought-leadership LinkedIn article by their CEO, CXO or CIO
Meanwhile, their residential-targeted Playlist might include:
· Customer testimonials
· A video that showcases how easy set-up is
· Articles about the benefits of smart-homes
· A blog about the company’s commitment to privacy and security
· A virtual tour of a smart home set up by the company
Each of these Playlists will also include an optional email sign-up and will give content marketers the same deep-insights thatI’ll show you below. But first, one more industry.
Financial services firms serve a vast array of customer types as everyone needs money, money management, accounting services, etc. whether they’re a large corporation or a single individual. Let’s say a bank is trying to focus on their small-to-medium-size business (SMB) segment. These businesses could be run out of a garage by one person or out of a medium-sized office with up to two-hundred employees.
They could deploy dozens (or even thousands) of Playlists in a day to target all the various niches they serve within this sector alone. Let’s look at what general kinds of content they may have in each of these Playlists, though each would be tailored to a specific industry and size of SMB.
Their SMB Playlist template content might include:
· Customer testimonial videos
· Informational article about managing finances for SMBs
· A Medium post by a financial expert connected to the firm, who specializes in the segments’ specific industry niche
· A calculator that can help SMBs calculate the ROI, savings, or other financial benefits of the finance firm’s services
Of course, Playlist viewers could opt-into emails and everything mentioned previously. Without further ado, let’s look at the insights companies can get from their Playlists!
Rich insights from Social27 Playlists
One of the greatest things about Social27 Playlists is their rich, actionable insights. Below, I’ll walk you through some of the most exciting data displayed in the Social27 Playlist dashboard.
In the Playlist dashboard’s “Overview” tab, you’ll see the total amount of unique visitors, view time, sessions, incremental view time, form submissions and average view time for each of your Playlists. You can compare these stats across Playlists to see which Playlists are performing best and take best practices from those. Further down the page (not pictured) you’ll also find a graph of known versus unknown visitors, a list of the best performing content in that Playlist and the top visitors, meaning those who have viewed the most content on your Playlist and for the longest.
Under the “Playlist Content” tab, you’ll find a list of all the pieces of content within the selected Playlist so you can compare what types of content perform best. Did your blogs get the most views? Whitepapers? Videos? This will help you calibrate what types of content you should be adding to speak to the customer segment targeted in each of your Playlists.
Finally, under the “Visitors” tab, you’ll get a list of known and unknown visitors. Known visitors will also include their email address, city and country of origin, device and browser. If you click into a visitor (not pictured) you’ll see a list of the content pieces they viewed. This is a goldmine for your sales representatives as they’ll have an initial point of contact for each lead as well as context for what their top interests are. You can also easily see if multiple people from the same organization have viewed the playlist based on their business emails. This will help you gauge the account propensity and only pass the highest qualified leads onto sales.
Even more insights
With other services like Social27 AI Assistant and Social27 Conversational Intelligence, you get even more rich, actionable insights and even better leads. By including these services, the dashboard includes:
· Sentiment analysis showing whether customers are using more positive or negative words with your AI Assistant and on sales calls
· Account views showing your most engaged accounts, least engaged accounts, deep insights into each of your accounts and your opportunity influence over each account
· An overview that includes conversational intelligence, new contacts, meetings scheduled and more
Partnering in your AI automation projects
At Social27, we strive to understand your business needs and jointly develop the right AI automation strategy with the help of a step-by-step framework and best practices from across the industry. Subsequently, our automation products and solutions can enable rapid deployment and value realization.
To find out more about how automation can enhance your marketing AND sales efforts, go to social27.com today. We would appreciate the opportunity to partner in your intelligent automation journey.
What content would your Playlist have?
Social27 is an AI powered Automation, Augmentation and Analytics platform. Social27 Playlists empower B2B marketers to deliver a personalized and ‘binge-worthy’ content experience in real-time. Our AI Assistant identifies buyer intent, qualifies leads, and schedules meetings; accelerating sales and revenue growth. Social27 Deal Room automates all the repetitive and time-consuming processes in the deal workflow, keeping all calls, contracts, and compliance in one place. And finally, the Partner Ecosystem Accelerator enables velocity across your ecosystem by enabling a #NoFriction customer journey.