The marketing world thrives on real-time data. Your marketing team works tirelessly to uncover the latest consumer fads, what urges them to go out and buy something and the best way to grab their attention with enticing content.
But optimizing your content for the ever-changing consumer is a serious challenge. All too often, marketers overemphasize clicks and catchy headlines and devalue the most reliable real-time information: word-of-mouth (WOM) data.
WOM is the most influential force on consumer behavior. Research shows that 92 percent of consumers trust friends’ and family’s recommendations more than any form of advertising. And social media — the modern incarnation of WOM — has fueled WOM’s power in the modern market.
The most compelling content directly relates to where your audience is and incites conversation. Without incorporating valuable WOM data into your campaigns, you could be basing your brand messages on less reliable, more subjective and irrelevant data, jeopardizing your campaign’s success in the process.
Infusing Your Content Campaigns With WOM Data
WOM data offers unique insights into reader engagement that can help you tailor your message in fresh and creative ways. You’ll not only speak more effectively to your target audience, but also drive conversations to reach new groups through powerful WOM marketing.
To put WOM data to work on your content campaign, start with these five steps:
1. Brainstorm realistically.
Some marketers strongly believe in “limitless” brainstorming. But developing projects around ideas that haven’t been validated will only waste time. Those who can combine crazy, far-fetched ideas with real-time data within the restrictive model of commercial advertising will eventually win the day.
Accelerate your team’s brainstorming sessions by setting time limits and sending out all the important information (guidelines, data sets, etc.) beforehand. Then, your team will come to every meeting prepared and ready to solve the problems at hand.
2. Dissect the path to purchase.
Understanding the path to a sale is a vital part of any content campaign, so map out your customer journey to reveal every possible opportunity to interact with prospects. Also, develop detailed customer personas and identify available data sources for those profiles. These insights will reveal what resonates with your target audience and point to any content tweaks that could make your campaign a success.
3. Test your content.
Once you understand the customer’s journey and their different personas, A/B test your campaign on samples of your target audience. You might even tailor content to different segments to see what resonates and what doesn’t (i.e., what makes them want to share your message with their peers and what doesn’t). Repeat these tests often and catalog this data over time to see how reactions change. Most importantly, incorporate those trends into your long-term marketing plan.
Of course, no data set could ever replace your experiences, so don’t discount your intuition entirely. But you shouldn’t be afraid to trust the data, either. If it points to a new vertical or audience, test it, listen to those new voices and see where it goes.
4. Track the proper data points.
When measuring the impact of WOM marketing, don’t only look at the number of “promoters” — people who would potentially recommend your product or service to their peers. To get a true sense of ROI, also track how many promoters are actively speaking out for you and how many people are seeing those recommendations. This will give you an accurate look at your audience and lead to more focused, strategic content.
5. Keep your eyes open.
Working with real-time data means you must understand the ever-changing marketplace, including what’s happening beyond the bubble of your business and customers. Stay up to date on any cultural events, inclement weather, or news stories that may impact your customers or present an opportunity to produce relevant content. Also, use data to monitor where the industry is headed. If you can stay on top of trends, you’ll be able to contribute to timely conversations, not trail behind them.
Real-time data is quickly becoming the backbone of today’s marketing landscape and WOM data is the cream of the crop. If your marketing team harnesses the power of WOM and incorporates this data into every stage of your content campaigns, you’ll start generating the most targeted, timely and creative content out there. So spread the word: WOM data is in.