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Measuring Content Marketing Effectiveness

Oh, to live in the world of B2C marketing, where you can easily draw a line directly from your marketing work to the revenue generated.

I’m kidding, of course. Sure, it’s helpful that there’s a “buy” button at the end of the marketing process much more often in B2C sales than in B2B. But that’s not universally true, and “simple” B2C marketing has an entirely different set of challenges the B2B marketers never have to think about.

For all of us — B2B and B2C — who don’t have those buy-button clicks to use in measuring marketing effectiveness, it can be frustrating to gain an understanding of how well our marketing efforts are working. This is doubly frustrating for those of us working primarily or exclusively in digital marketing, where everything is supposed to be measurable.

Even with these limitations, there are ways we can measure our marketing effectiveness, even if we can’t always tie our work as directly to revenue as we’d like. Here are a few to consider.

Though difficult to capture quantitatively, it’s important to ensure that every piece of your marketing is addressing your goals. That means examining how well aligned your content is with your audience’s interests and with where they are in their buying process. Any content with a message that is at odds with your goals should be adjusted or retired.

Your planning documents are likely to include editorial calendars and production schedules, among other tools. How closely do you stick to those? Can you draw any conclusions between periods of lower production — if, say, your team is tasked with other priorities temporarily — and downstream effects on revenue?

Are you getting the word out about your content? Here, it’s helpful to draw a distinction between different kinds of content you publish. For example, social media posts are sometimes self-referential — a brief thought piece, for example. In other instances, content is externally focused, as when you link to an article of interest to your audience but from an external source. These are in contrast to content you might post about an article of your own, an upcoming webinar you’re running, an industry event appearance by members of your team, or a new research report you’ve published.

It’s important to track those content types separately and note which create more engagement and, if possible, which lead to audience action, whether that’s a sale or simply moving further through your sales funnel.

Most importantly, alignment between sales and marketing is key. Measurement is an area where sales and marketing teams should be working together closely. There are metrics that the sales team aren’t going to be terribly interested in — likes and follows and subscriber growth don’t pay the rent — but if you can provide data that helps the sales team focus on the most promising prospects when they are most likely to be ready to purchase, you’ll have their attention any time you suggest a meeting to review the numbers.

Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured? A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms find a more strategic and productive mix of tools that genuinely support online brand goals over time. With a passion for true collaboration and meaningful consensus, his work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components. He views is primary goal as encouraging engagement. Getting an audience involved in your story requires solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either. Andrew has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events, on content marketing and web-development topics. His technology writing appears on the Andigo blog, in a monthly column on, and for print and online publications like The New York Enterprise Report, Social Media Today, and GSG Worldwide’s publications LinkedIn & Business, Facebook & Business, and Tweeting & Business. Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

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