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Study Finds Marketers Can't Measure Business Value of Content Marketing

  |  July 18, 2014   |  Comments

A new study shows marketers can't tie business value back to their content marketing tactics. So how can marketers better measure the success of their content marketing campaigns?

Yes, it's a bit of an attention-grabber. And, yes, it's slightly misleading. But the new Forrester, Business Marketing Association (BMA), and Online Marketing Institute Content Marketing Study found that 83 percent of marketers cannot tie back business value to their content marketing efforts. In short, the study reveals that while most marketers know there is value in content marketing, most are not creating good content, let alone measuring its business impact.

A problem, yes?

Yes, a big problem. The good news it's super simple to fix. Well, at least the first two steps to fixing it are.

Step 1: Everyone Understand Content's Role in Buying

The first step is to clearly make sure everyone understands content's role in marketing and sales revenue as it relates to buyers. This is easy, as more than 91 percent of buyers use Google to find the answer, vendor, or product they are looking for. I can just stop there.

But if you go beyond, they don't fit neatly into the proverbial "funnel." They read a blog post, a user review, or an industry whitepaper, see it on Twitter, and bounce around like a pin ball. So, let's get clear... you have no chance if your content is not found in some these various areas.

Step 2: Immediate Impact of Content in Marketing

Google: The easiest example is getting found in Google. Google crawls content. Content that is well-written, liked (social proof), and has good authority (Author Rank) will get found. Ask your Web team what the number one source of traffic is, and 90 percent of the time it will be "Google by far." So you need content to get found. And getting found drives sales. Easy enough, right?

Leads: Demand generation is a game many of us have played for a long time. But for those that need to forward this article to the boss-man or purse string holder, let's remind ourselves that most folks aren't ready to buy when coming to your site. So we need to give them a reason to pass on an email address, right? A whitepaper, webinar, podcast...all good reasons. And what is that they are registering for? Content!

There are many, many other areas to talk about here, but those two drive so much revenue (if measured correctly) that this should be proof enough. Another way to say it is, "Do you want to get ranked atop Google? Do you want more and better leads?" Good, then start measuring back your efforts of SEO and demand generation and tie that to content marketing...to see the business value!

Step 3: Organizational Alignment & Learning Culture

This is the hard part - getting everyone or at least senior management to buy in to the fact that we need to keep learning new ways to drive market share, new ways to improve sales, and new ways to make our little company grow profitably. And there's no better way, day in and day out, than having employees learning new tactics, getting new ideas, and being inspired or at least excited to try these out. And all my research shows, those that learn, see that learning into action, and see results are substantially happier employees, meaning they stay longer, produce more, and drive great internal culture of learning.

There are many things to do here on the education front, as I have spent the better part of the last 10 years unraveling this mystery. So happy to share if you'd like to connect on LinkedIn.

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Aaron Kahlow

After selling the Online Marking Summit (OMS) event company in 2011, Aaron is now leading the charge of the newest venture, the Online Marketing Institute - the leading eLearning platform and training destination for digital marketing education.

Kahlow is one of the most recognized thought-leaders in the digital marketing and social media space. Having founded, funded, and built three prolific and highly profitable digital marketing companies, Kahlow has also delivered hundreds of marquee keynote speeches around the globe. As a speaker, Kahlow is known for his inspirational style and plain-spoken nature where audiences always walk away feeling both motivated and educated. Aaron is a leading educator translating online marketing technology jargon into simple marketing and business terms. He is a recognized author, columnist (ClickZ, NYT) and authority on social media marketing, sales and marketing integration, demand generation, business-to-business marketing, search marketing, usability, analytics, and digital marketing strategy.

Named Metropolitan Magazine's "Top 40 Entrepreneurs under the Age of 40" Kahlow is also well known for his endless energy as an entrepreneur. Having built Business Online from three guys and a brother in a dentist office to BtoB Digital Agency of the Year; founding and selling the industry's premier digital marketing event, the Online Marketing Summit, and now on his third successful start-up, Online Marketing Institute, Kahlow is synonymous with building successful digital companies. Kahlow also has served on the Board of Directors and Advisory Board to many digital associations and media companies like the International Business Marketers Association, Search Engine Strategies/ClickZ, Microsoft/ BING Prof. Accreditation, Social Media Examiner, as well as many digital technology start-ups.

Today, Aaron can be found in his new home city of San Francisco, working on the global expansion of "Teaching the World Digital" in his eLearning technology venture, the Online Marketing Institute. Facebook and LinkedIn are his preferred places to connect.

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