Your data insights team. Also known as the “don’t shoot the messenger team”. The team who have to impart the good, and the bad, when it comes to the success (or lack thereof) of your marketing campaigns.
In the Content Marketing Institute’s Budgets, Benchmarks and Trends UK report 2016, 66% of marketers consider their content marketing to be ineffective, yet only 54% of marketers in the report said they knew what effective marketing looked like in their organisation.
So it’s easy to see where the problem is for data teams. Marketers aren’t being clear about their goals and expectations, and in most cases, are mindlessly pushing out content without monitoring analytics to determine success. And then complaining that their content marketing isn’t effective. Probably to their data insights team.
(Don't have a data insights team? Find out why you should outsource).
So how can you make the most of your data insights team and really use their knowledge to make the most of your content marketing efforts?
Here’s what your data insights team want you to know...
Your data insights team are not oracles
As awesome as your data insights team are, they can’t see into the future (let’s be honest, if they could they’d be relaxing on their private island after winning the lottery, not working in data insights). Data insights is about looking back on the past and predicting how things might turn out, but there are no dead-certs when it comes to human behaviour. That huge spike of time-on-page? Could just have been one person who left their desk to go on lunch for an hour while browsing your blog.
It’s important to understand that sometimes there won’t be a pattern, and that sometimes you can do everything “right” and the results still won’t be what you expect. Marketing is all about trial and error, and sometimes you need to trial more than others.
You need to have a goal
As mentioned above, nearly half of marketers have no idea what effectiveness looks like, but they know they aren’t effective. This reminds me of those blog posts aimed at insecure women in their mid-twenties (yep, I’m one of them) called things like “20 signs you’re not doing as bad as you think you are”. If you don’t know what your goal is, how do you know you’re not hitting it?
We love Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle to help us to really understand what we’re trying to achieve - by starting with “why” it’s much easier to really get to the bottom of your purpose and from there set relevant goals.
Once you have a goal you need to think about the strategy you need to take to get there (need help with strategy? Download our ebook “Content strategy made simple”), and how you’ll measure if you’re on the right track. These KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) need to be SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based.
These goals and KPIs need to be distributed around everyone working on a project to ensure everyone is working towards the same goal. Your data insights team in particular need to be aware of and understand your KPIs so they can measure your success throughout your campaign.
You can’t do everything
Do you want more new visitors to your site, or more returning visitors? Do you want more Twitter followers or more whitepapers downloads? Different goals require very different strategies, but if you try to work towards too many goals at once they will start to dilute each other.
There are obviously going to be lots of goals you want to achieve, but it’s important to work on each one of these at a time instead of running yourself into the ground trying to improve several factors at once. Having one clear goal ensures everything you do can be focused solely on achieving that goal. Then once that is hit you can move on to your next challenge,
You have to set smaller goals along the way
One of the main reasons marketers might be feeling ineffective could be that they’re not breaking down their big, lofty goal into smaller targets along the way.
For example, say your goal for the quarter is to get 100 quality leads passed to sales. If you’re currently only get a few leads a week, this can be a daunting task, And we’ve all been in a situation where a goal seems so lofty that we feel utterly demotivated.
So it’s important to set smaller goals along the way. Set a point where you want to hit 20 leads and celebrate when you hit that goal, then 30 leads, then 50. Smaller goals are easier to achieve, and making a milestone of them keeps you motivated.
Sometimes you can lose sight of yourself when working towards a big goal, so it’s important to have, and celebrate, mini goals along the way to see if you’re on track. And if not…
Your goals cannot be set in stone
At the start of a campaign it’s natural to be really, really excited about what you are going to achieve and set ambitious goals however, as time goes on, things can change. So keep an eye on your campaign and adjust your goals where necessary, instead of waiting until it’s too late and declaring everything you’ve done a failure.
Adjusting a goal does not mean you are not succeeding - it’s merely an important element of ensuring your marketing is realistic and takes into account the unpredictability of human behaviour.
Failure is not the be-all and end-all
As marketers we often live in fear of failure. What if this email goes out at the wrong time and nobody reads it? What if this ebook doesn’t do as well as last time? But as mentioned earlier, marketing is all trial and error. There is always a reason why something didn’t work and you are only ineffective if you don’t evaluate what went wrong and make changes for next time.