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Are you using your buyer’s journey for analytics?

Every digital marketer worth his salt has identified a buyer’s journey–maybe more than one for different audiences or different personas. If you are doing it right, you are targeting your content to the personas and the steps in the buyer’s journey. By doing so, you are making your content persuasive, with the goal of moving people to the next step. I am seeing many smart marketers re-orienting their content marketing in this way. They are using analytics to show which content is working and which is not. Very smart.

But what I am not seeing is important, too.

I see far fewer marketers who are using the buyer’s journey to analyze broad swaths of content to see how their buyers are actually progressing. But it’s the logical next step.

After all, if you’ve aligned your content to the buyer’s journey, you can actually identify which content belongs to each step, so your analytics system can track buyers moving from step to step. Just as you can calculate a conversion rate for those who actually buy, you can calculate micro-conversion rates for each step.

I did experimental work for IBM on this in 1999, and Avinash Kaushik names the concept micro-conversions a few years later. (I had called them mini-conversions, but Avinash’s name stuck–and what you call them isn’t the big news here.)  It’s taken a while for marketers to really decide to orient their content marketing around personas and the buyer’s journey, but we really shouldn’t be waiting this long to take this obvious next step.

I’m sure that some marketers out there are doing it, but I don’t see it as often as I would expect. What about you? If you’re serious about content marketing and analytics, are you putting them together to see the big picture?

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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