How We Systematically Overvalue Content Consumption

serial-content-consumersLet’s get right to the point. B2B marketers today are not optimizing programs to reach and engage their best prospects.

Sure, we talk about a buyer journey or about carefully mapping content. But at the end of the day, what are we doing? We are scoring leads high if they consume a lot of content and we are optimizing our program to increase lead scores and content consumption.

Who does that mean we are really optimizing our marketing for? Serial content consumers.

Serial content consumers don’t just consume your content, they voraciously consume all content. They will listen to webcasts instead of music. They will download a dozen reports looking for one nugget of information. They will exhaust the first three pages of search results, including two of your videos, because that’s just what they do nearly every day.

Meanwhile, another person actively researching a solution barely touches your content. They may rely more on peers or third-party perspectives. But as a prospect? Well, their lead score leaves a lot to be desired…

Sure, all else equal, someone consuming more specific information about your offering is a better prospect. But all else isn’t equal! These are different people, we should expect different behavior! Even if two people are looking to buy the same solution but they won’t engage with you in the same way!

So how do you solve the problem? No solution is perfect, but there are a number of things you can do to mitigate some of the impact.

1. Expand your data set

When we look at the data we can see about how individuals engage with our content, we are looking through a tiny pinhole and really just guessing at what the complete picture may look like.

When we start incorporating data from beyond just interactions with our own content, we get a little bit broader view, and our marketing can be measurably improved.

2. Score companies, not individuals

If you are promoting a simple transactional purpose, this may not help you. But if you are thinking about buying committees and always referencing statistics about how many people are involved in the buying decision, you can get a far better picture by looking at all activity for a company, not just a single individual.

By looking across multiple individuals, the impact of a single serial content consumer is averaged out, giving you a more accurate picture.

To get a clear picture of content consumption and engagement by company, add a solution like Demandbase to identify visitors to your site, not just ‘known’ visitors that are in your database.

3. Only score meaty content

Too many companies today produce lists and light, fluffy content with a catchy headline that captures more traffic than it deserves (but that’s a rant for another day). If that is part of your audience development strategy, make certain all of the content that builds your audience, but is more likely to capture an errant click on Facebook than capture someone at the point of researching a solution, doesn’t pollute your lead score.

No, a fluffy blog post view shouldn’t change someone’s lead score. And if you aren’t sure if your blog posts should be considered fluffy… they are fluff.

4. Involve sales early

If you have a great understanding of what your ideal target account looks like (or a well researched target account list), involve sales, with a consultative approach, earlier in the process. Stop thinking that there is some marketing-to-sales hand-off that happens and start seeing sales and marketing together as part of how you always engage with the companies that are the best fit for you.

Your Turn

How are you responding to lead scoring that misses opportunities? I’d love to hear your perspective in the comments below or on Twitter (@wittlake)!

Photo Credit: torbakhopper Flickr via Compfight cc

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