“Thought Leadership” is currency in a content-driven marketplace. We’ve all heard how nobody wants to look at ads anymore; instead, they want information that will help them with their life, their business, and their relationships. How can the data you already have fuel your ability to provide visitors and prospects with information they can use?
This can work especially well if you run a site that fuels other businesses. You may run a module that helps. For instance – in sales, in marketing, in education, and beyond – if you get your analytics set up right, you can look at critical metrics that cross your customer base and see important trends in the market.
“Data storytelling” is a hot topic these days and what we usually mean by this is that we want to illuminate trends in a meaningful way for internal decision-makers. But with a little copywriting expertise, you can turn your critical data into critical commentary on the market you serve. And with a little more social media expertise, you can publish – and establish yourself as an expert.
How to Be a Data-Driven Expert
In today’s world, especially business-to-business, expertise is the most sought-after quality. Where an ad might generate a smirk and little upside, demonstrated expertise, in the form of data-driven market intelligence, can close the gap from prospect to sale. To get this right, you need to set up reports that tell you what’s like to interest your customers or prospects. Let’s use education as an example.
What courses are most popular? Which have risen most quickly? What courses do people sign up for after they sign up for the most popular course? Which have the highest rates of completion? What are the geographic dimensions associated with course application? You can weave these data points into a market analysis that your constituents will find valuable.
These are just some of the most basic examples. They key is to get into the mindset of elevating your data research to a level where you can take it out of your organization and create a narrative that will drive business. The process is subtle; selling directly is likely to bother people, and they’ll turn elsewhere. Instead, just pass along valuable information about a market vertical where you have access to data that others don’t. Put it in plain English, instead of sending out a chart or graph.
As you send this data out incrementally, month after month, you’ll eventually see yourself become more visible in the market. People remember where the data came from. And when they need services associated with the market you’re in, you’ll be more top-of-mind than before.
Selling Your Data
Taking it to the next level is more of a challenge, but even more rewarding: instead of providing marketing expertise to a broad market, provide targeted analytics for your customer base. This will involve creating a network of subscribers, as well as a way for them to interact with the data. This is certainly more complex than sending out a few paragraphs, but because the data is more targeted and because it cannot be had any other way, you may be able to directly monetize – that is, charge customers for access.
We often look for ways to justify why we are looking at marketing data; add this to the list of ROI components. The data is already there. You just have to unlock the value.
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