The state of content measurement today is… well, cloudy. Are you really measuring the value of your content marketing efforts? What metrics are you using to gauge if your content marketing initiatives are working? Are you able to connect content to revenue? If your goal is more thought leadership, brand awareness, or prospect engagement, do you have a process in place to capture and report on the necessary inputs?
From a recent exchange with an executive at a high-growth technology company, I came to understand that, in many cases, marketing measurement remains more focused on the discrete points of measurement (traffic, conversions, leads, revenue), or classic funnel metrics. In that kind of environment, the holy grail of content marketing measurement is to then connect content all the way through purchase.
Or is it?
One of the pioneers of the content marketing discipline during his time at Eloqua, Joe Chernov, recently wrote the following in an article about his own content marketing journey: "When I ran content strategy at a large marketing technology vendor, I was a purist. I felt that content should never be 'locked' behind a form, that credibility demanded the brand's logo be 'zeroed out,' and that embedding even the subtlest sales message was a cardinal sin."
He went on to say, "I was a purist because I could afford to be. Because of my employer's size, momentum, and diversity of marketing programs, we didn't have to force readers to complete a form to download an e-book or video. We didn't examine each content expense in the same way a small or early-stage company must. The luxury of time granted us the freedom to trust that those who valued our content would be more likely to buy from us when they were good and ready."
As Joe put it quite cleverly, he could afford to trust the process; that good content marketing would ultimately influence the buying cycle. Although I am sure his company was doing some measuring, it's clear that measurement wasn't the only thing.
His article and his journey reflect a larger dichotomy. Larger companies, which have many marketing channels in play at any given time, may be less concerned about the direct correlation between content marketing efforts and deals. But, for the rest of us, it's critical. (Of course, now let's see how many comments come from large companies screaming about how they have to justify every last dollar against a defined result!)
So, how do you gauge the power of content and the value of your content marketing initiatives?