Describing the value in an audience is one thing, but how can marketers obtain one in the first place?
If existing marketing efforts aren’t making the grade, and data stores in place now are incomplete, then where do you begin? Marketing expert Robert Rose suggests using great content marketing experiences:
"If [you] can, start to look at a strategy that creates valuable content where customers want to give us that data in exchange for that content - that means the content itself has got to be pretty darn good - we're really focusing on subscription. We're really focusing on getting people to subscribe to this content, or this experience, and then connecting multiples of those experiences together so that progressively, that rich data profile gets bigger and better over time."
The idea here is that when you provide something so incredibly valuable, people want to engage with you and hear from you. The goal of content marketing here is not to push people through the funnel and convert them, but rather simply to interest them.
"These are not leads or opportunities yet," Robert noted. "At some point, we hope that they're going to raise their hand and we're going to push them into a marketing process or a sales process where we want to facilitate some buying decision down the road. We're building an audience here and we're exchanging value for data. We're building an engagement with an audience that has nothing to do with them being leads or dripped or automated in any capacity. What we're hoping to do is actually deliver it and build that progress."
This is a bigger shift than you may realize. Essentially, the core of Robert’s message is to think about the value of marketing, especially digital marketing, in a markedly different way.
Once you have your audience well developed and curated, you can do lots of cool things. You can focus your marketing efforts on a specific number of channels. You can use marketing automation tools to more effectively get your core messages out to a variety of channels. You can actually have fine-tuned messaging for all of your target personas (and know who your target personas are). But, none of this happens without audience data.
To see how this kind of marketing effort works, look to the Kraft Foods brand. In particular, one of the main ways in which the company was able to develop its audience was through its free recipe database.
When you think about this effort from a traditional marketing perspective, it seems like a waste of effort. After all, not only is it probably not bringing in tons of leads and sales, but all the time and energy that goes into the site means less can be done with other channels. But, when you look at the effort with audience building in mind, it’s easy to see the efficacy of a recipe database with 3.5 million subscribers who very willingly gave over their information to access this content.
"They'll tell you that increased purchase intent is a wonderful thing, and they create it, but that's not why and not how they benefit most often from this idea," Robert said in the webinar. "This idea is that the subscribed content provides actionable insight for them to take action on. In other words, they have more data and better research about their consumers than any research company on the planet. They actually don't even buy external research about their consumers anymore, because they've got better research than any research company does."
There is so much a company can do once this kind of audience is developed and curated. Want to know what product messaging will best resonate with potential buyers? Want to know what your new service should be named? All of these questions are much easier to answer when you have a built-in audience to tap.
“We can try out all kinds of things with an audience that's much bigger than our lead funnel at any one time and get tremendous business value out of it and then, yes, some percentage of them will also come through the lead funnel,” Robert noted. “It's looking at multiple ways to generate actionable insight out of data, not just pulling them in through the lead funnel.”
Building an audience with prime content is no easy feat. To learn more about the full value of content marketing experiences, be sure to download this white paper today. Authored by Robert himself, the white paper dives into the full value of audiences and creating content-driven experiences that connect them.