customer experience, 2014 Must-Do: B2B Marketers Must Measure Content's Impact

Want to be effective in B2B marketing? Wait, don't answer that. Dumb question.

Want to know why you should measure the effectiveness of your B2B marketing?

"B2B marketers are doing so much and trying so much, but do they really know what is effective?" asked Michele Linn, director of content development for the Content Marketing Institute. "I think it's key that marketers find what's really working and what's not. It's better for their prospects as they are getting what they want, and it's better for marketers as they can focus and then use that time NOT doing things to experiment with others."

Today, we deliver the fourth piece in our "2014 Must-Do" series — measuring effectiveness in B2B marketing. Earlier this week, we talked about shutting up and listening in B2B marketing and how blogging is essential these days. Last week, we discussed getting back to basics in Web CMS and becoming agile in B2B marketing.

Go With Your Gut. Not!


Are too many B2B marketers trying too many new programs and are unable to keep up? Not exactly, Linn said. Instead, they're not setting specific goals they want to reach. And, they don't know how -- or don't take the time -- to measure how content impacts goals.

I firmly believe there should be room in any marketing program for experimentation and creativity," Linn said, "but decisions on what is successful need to be based more on data than gut feel and the whims of management."

Again, it comes back to a goal. Your goal for your campaign. And, ultimately, your organization's goals. The business objectives. "Effectiveness will mean different things based on what an organization's goals are," Linn said.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you trying to create brand awareness?
  • Generate top of the funnel interest?
  • Nurture people?
  • Encourage customer retention and loyalty?

"In short, you need metrics that align with your goals so you can determine what is effective -- and what needs to be improved," Linn added. "If you look at some very general standards, though, effectiveness is much more than traffic and social followers. It's people taking the kind of action that you desire."

Always Done It?

Marketers often fall into the trap of doing it because they inherited a campaign and the organization's always done it. And management does not want to consider dropping them.

"For example, there could be a monthly newsletter that is created out of habit," Linn said. "While there are subscribers who get value from this, are they the kind of subscribers you want? Are they taking the next action? Is there something else they would get more value from?"

You may think there's cost-savings in generating in-house content, but Linn said there's always an opportunity cost.

"If you are doing something, what are you not doing instead?" she asked. "Measurement is critical so you can determine which things you may need to stop doing. More is often not the answer."

To play off an effective marketing campaign, answer these questions to help understand what is effective:

  • Is it the topic you are discussing?
  • The format you are presenting this in?
  • The way you are distributing it?

"When you understand what elements are working," Linn said, "you can then put more energy behind creating content your customer needs."

Ultimately, "too much" is a common pitfall when it comes to marketing campaigns. If you're launching too many efforts at one time, you're not going to have a chance to measure their impact effectively.

"I think every marketing department can benefit from taking the time to define what effectiveness is for them and setting up the metrics to measure this," Linn said. "If you don't have time to do this, it could be a sign you are doing too much. Figure out what you can de-prioritize -- at least for a bit -- and focus on answering those questions. From there, you'll be better able to really understand if you are doing too much."