Content marketing has been a staple in B2B marketing. Yet, many marketers still struggle with articulating the value that a solid content marketing program delivers to the revenue. That’s why so many B2B marketers are still gating content. Many marketers default to using “number of downloads” to express that value. But that isn’t the value of a strong content marketing program.
A strong content marketing program should deliver 3 key revenue-related metrics: Better Pipeline Throughput; Improved NPS; and Higher CLV. Let’s explore how each of these metrics if used properly can demonstrate the business value of content marketing.
Metric #1: Better Throughput
One of the key outcomes of a well-thought audience-based editorial strategy for your content is an improved pipeline. Why? Your editorial strategy should map to your value proposition by audience segment. By using your content marketing approach to “set the stage” for your value (brand, product, use case), you are pre-selling your prospects, customers, partners and other key stakeholders that are collaborating with your team to drive dealflow. This disposition should lead to a smoother pipeline.
To make this actionable for B2B marketers, I always collaborate with sales leadership to identify the key turning points in the various sales flywheels (new logo acquisition, upsell, cross-sell, and retention). Once identified, we start to measure the time across these turning points on average by ICP. Additionally, we look at deal size by content category (based upon keyword analysis) and pace of constituents through the flywheel. Running A/B/C scenarios in terms of content frequency and interaction data by content category, we are able to see the correlation of improved throughput by “heavier” readers vs. lower by topic areas. Better Throughput = Better Pipeline; a win for your go to market. And a way to demonstrate the business value of content marketing.
Metric #2: Improved NPS
Companies with higher NPS or Net Promoter Scores have proven to have better revenue and market share growth. Bain & Company has done a slew of research on this front. The attribution of content marketing’s contribution to NPS is particularly elusive to measure since many marketing, sales and customer success activities contribute to NPS. But brands that invest more heavily in content marketing tend to have better NPS than their competitors.
To make actionable, one analysis I suggest clients do is to correlate content consumption volumetrics to NPS scores by ICP and Industry or Segment. And with larger content marketers I recommend also doing this analysis even deeper by adding messaging tent poles as an additional dimension. This analysis allows us to understand the benefits of content marketing and what’s working vs. what’s not in context. Using this correlation allows us to see if the heavier readers of our content generally have a higher NPS. If they do then content marketing is contributing to an increase in NPS. If heavier readers don’t have a higher NPS then either the content is lacking or there are other issues contributing to a lower NPS.
Metric #3: Higher CLV
Brands with a more structured content marketing program have a higher Customer Lifetime Value. Not only is content a great way to tell your brand story, but also a great way to reinforce that story. As we analyzed with NPS, similarly we should measure CLV against content consumption and interaction by ICPs.
But there is more to understanding content marketing contribution to CLV. It’s not just consumption patterns that will help us understand the impact of content marketing, but also brand sentiment and favorability. So a tactical tool here is surveying your readers regularly and segmenting the analysis by consumption volumes. This analysis will at minimum provide directional guidance on the impact content marketing has on your brand’s CLV.
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