Flash back to me at Inverta’s 2019 company offsite, and I’m discussing our content themes for the coming year.
I’m feeling smug.
“Data-driven marketing. Isn’t that what we’ve been doing all along? Since marketing automation?” I made no attempt to hide my sarcasm. “Why are we even here?”
My colleague claps back, “maybe yes, maybe no. The idea is more comprehensive than it’s been before. It carries a bigger meaning.”
I shook my head.
Flash forward to present day. I’ve tossed the idea of data-driven marketing around in my head for a couple months trying to answer the question: Why does the term “data-driven marketing” resonate with so many? Why are these words, this lexicon, picking up speed after so many years?
My big sister is a professional triathlete. She probably wouldn’t win a medal at an individual swimming, biking, or running event – but string them together, and she has the talent and endurance to decimate IronMan courses across the United States.
SEO and content, demand generation, display and programmatic, social, email, field events – today’s marketers might medal in one or more of these disciplines. But the data-driven marketers are the triathletes of modern marketing. They recognize data as the invisible string that ties everything together, and allow each function to operate at a data-driven pace that results in the biggest overall impact: a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
They recognize data as the invisible string that ties everything together, and allow each function to operate at a data-driven pace that results in the biggest overall impact: a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
To be data-driven is to be holistic, but the “how” is to examine the three legs of the data-driven marketer’s stool: Planning, Content, Orchestration.
The heart and soul of data-driven marketing lies in how data is leveraged in these three scenarios. What are the tools that make that data available in real time, and how do planning, content, orchestration and intent work together seamlessly to deliver next-level results?
We’re committed to further investigating what it means to be data-driven with a new Seminar and Panel Series called Data-Driven Marketing: Dissolving Boundaries and Delivering Impact.
Have you sat, dumbfounded, in front of a spreadsheet or a content management system with a list of content pieces, sometimes hundreds of titles long– all needing to be sorted and organized by buying stage to support your lead generation initiatives?
Me too! Although … not recently. You see, my husband and I welcomed our first baby (a beautiful little girl) on May 6th and I’ve been on maternity leave – knee deep in diapers, swaddling like a ninja, and stringing together sleep in 2-3 hour stretches for a couple months now. In fact, as I write this my husband is walking around outside my office with the baby, speaking gibberish to her in a voice that is at least 2-octaves above normal. We couldn’t be happier.
New parenthood is all-immersing so naturally when I had to write this blog post, I thought about my career in digital demand creation and my new role as a parent and where the two might intersect and it’s here: in the area of transitional offers.
Seasoned parents don’t remember this – but new parents absolutely obsess about early developmental milestones. From the moment you have the baby – there are charts and tools to help you track your infant’s progression in everything from motor skills to the color, consistency, and frequency of bowel movements. These milestones represent incremental growth – a gut check to ensure the baby is moving in the right direction. Every baby is different, and it’s impossible to analyze every minute of life – so the medical community has landed on a couple key milestones that ensure growth and progress.
Like an infant’s early developmental milestones, identifying transitional offers in your content library can help you gauge whether or not your user’s interest is increasing in a meaningful way. Why meaningful? Because looking at the recency and frequency of content consumption is not enough – and the number of content pieces consumed is not always correlated with level of interest. If you’ve spent a lot of time arbitrarily classifying content by buying stage with no real deal deconstruction to back it up – you’ve probably wasted your time.
So, what are some common attributes of a good transitional offer?
Tougher User Access:
To access a transitional offer requires a level of user input that surpasses that of a simple content download. They could require that users furnish data other than demographic or firmographic information (think: assessment tools), or that users engage in a multi-step workflow to access to the offer.
Longer Consumption Length:
Transitional offers can take longer to consume than a traditional content offer and often have an expiration date where the offer is no longer accessible (think trial or demo).
Solution-Specific to Buyer:
Transitional offers can communicate information that relates to the solution deployed in a specific scenario such as organization type or sub-vertical. These offers will use verbiage and lexicon specific to that environment and the context and challenges will be specific as well. Good digital marketers will use their buyer’s known attributes to align the correct offer with the correct buyer to ensure relevance when these types of offers are delivered.
So take a lesson from new parenthood, and let your transitional offers by the developmental milestones of your buyers’ journey. Remember – your non-transitional content is still helpful and meaningful to users, but simply measuring the recency and frequency of its consumption is not the best way to understand whether or not a user is involved in a serious decision-making process.
I sat down to write a short piece that talks about Inverta and our ‘guiding principles’.
What drives us? Why do we do what we do? What are our guiding principles?
Every avenue I explored came down to a single underlying principle, at least for me: The basic human need to contribute. As human beings, we have a primal need to contribute to the greater good and a common goal. I mean this in a very practical way. Taking down that Woolly mammoth and putting food on the cave table was a team effort. It’s how our species survived and continues to survive. I believe this still drives us today.
When our contribution is meaningful and appreciated we feel good. When we’re not contributing, or our contribution is not understood or appreciated, we feel bad. Simple, right?
Today we live in a world where there are a lot of moving pieces. And our contribution to a team, an organization, or society as a whole can easily get lost. We sometimes feel like we’re putting in and putting in and we’re not getting any satisfaction out of it. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s frustrating and exhausting. Often we’re left feeling empty.
I think it’s a few of things. First: In order for us to feel like we’re making a contribution we need to know that our contribution is understood and accepted. A little recognition closes the loop.
In order for that to happen we need to understand the common goal at the highest possible level. What are we all trying to do here? Are we going after a Woolly mammoth today? Does the business have a revenue goal that we need to contribute to? Do we have a new customer acquisition target that we have to help meet?
Usually this is an easy question to answer. But we need to write it down and put it where everyone can see it. Ever notice there are a lot of Woolly mammoths in cave paintings?
Second, and a little bit harder, everyone needs to understand what their part is in contributing to the common goal. What is marketing’s role? What is my team responsible for? How are we going to contribute? Are we holding the spears, or throwing the ropes? This takes planning.
And third, we need to see how we’re doing against that plan. We need to be able to measure our progress, and our contribution in a way that makes sense to the common goal.
At Inverta we want our team members to feel that they are contributing to our common goal in a meaningful way. Our common goal happens to be helping you, our clients, understand and contribute to your goals.
That collaboration with you is what drives us. Every report, email blast, persona definition, nurture campaign, and strategic account plan that we help you with is driven by our need to contribute to you, by helping you better understand, measure, and demonstrate your contribution to your business.
Maybe you’ll get a “thanks” from your business and maybe you won’t. We can’t guarantee that. But over time you will be able to see your contribution and talk about it in a meaningful way.