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Lead Gen Needs Content Intelligence

Ken Lee idioBy Kevin Li, VP of Business Development, idio

Your next best customer might be as close as your next best sentence. Literally. These days the focus on content marketing in the B2C marketplace has driven that point home based on personalization communications. But for B2Bmarketers, lead generation can be just as dependent on the right content, provide it is fueled by data and powered by similar principles of customer knowledge and content intelligence.

Ken Lee idioBy Kevin Li, VP of Business Development, idio

Your next best customer might be as close as your next best sentence. Literally. These days the focus on content marketing in the B2C marketplace has driven that point home based on personalization communications. But for B2Bmarketers, lead generation can be just as dependent on the right content, provide it is fueled by data and powered by similar principles of customer knowledge and content intelligence.

Simply putting great content out there won’t drive lead identification, lead scoring, and conversion. What content needs is data. And the type of data we’re looking for can only come from automation technology that can intelligently analyze and serve up content.While 93% of BtoB marketers have embraced content marketing (source: Content Marketing Institute), the challenge remains on how to automate it for lead gen to deliver real, tangible value.

Let’s start with a simple example. Take the word “retirement.” Isolate that from the blog post or newsletterit was used in and it means different things to different prospects within your lead gen process. If you’re a healthcare company, a prospect consuming content on retirement signals a specific set of products and services that differs widely from a financial services firm. Further, that word can signal whether the prospect is near the bottom (likely for healthcare companies that have specific policies targeted towards retirement) or the top (likely for financial services where the prospect is merely finding out more about high level offerings) of the funnel.

In today’s B2B world, marketers need to have a process through which you can analyze the content they’re producing and be able to link it to a specific point within the lead gen and conversion process. Content should not be a “fire and forget” exercise; each interaction your prospect has with your content should be telling you something about where they are in the decision process so you can better serve their needs. Content doesn't have to end up in that kind of vague conversion-lacking area, here are three ways to keep content in the right zone for lead generation.

Understand What Content Works And Why It Works

Every prospect has its interest areas and engagement points that are unique. In order to uncover these, we must go beyond the traditional content audit and into automated content analytics. Automated content analytics differs from a content audit in two specific ways:

  1. It automates the categorization process so you’re able to understand exactly what your content is talking about at a nuanced level
  2. It extracts the meaning out of all your prospects’ interactions and compares that to the data from above, creating a real-time view as to what topics drive the broadest engagement and where the content gaps are today


No two companies are alike, but this process can help any B2B marketer understand the exact topics (forget categories) that can move someone through the sales process.

Understand The Current Customer And The Prospect

To every B2B marketer, an ideal situation would be if each piece of content published and consumed maps to a specific point within the purchase journey, i.e. extend lead scoring beyond behavior (e.g. downloaded a whitepaper) and into the meaning behind the action (i.e. what was the whitepaper actually about). For this purpose, automated content analytics and intelligent content serving technology can provide marketers with active feedback loops where each action taken by the prospect is telling us just a little bit more about their where exactly they are within the sales funnel. Armed with this, marketers can feed them the “next best content” to move them towards the ultimate goal of conversion (see below).

Execute Effective Customization

A BtoB company can have more than 10,000 individual topic tags based on the content they are producing. While this may not be the same as a BtoC company’s scale, it is still far too many and far too nuanced to analyze manually. Taking the financial services examples again, how do you decide who gets your latest e-brochure on group health insurance that mentions 10 topics around retirement vs. another e-brochure that mentions 10 topics around estate planning? Send everything to everyone and you risk getting ignored. Manually deciding who gets what is not feasible from a resource standpoint. But if we know exactly what each piece of content is about and what each prospect wants based on an intelligent mapping of the content they’ve consumed to a sales process, the solution lies in something that can match the right content to the right prospect. For B2B marketers, this is precisely where content intelligence can help automate the last mile and turn one-size-fits-all or segmented deliveries into smart deliveries where each prospect gets exactly what they need at that moment.

Kevin Li is VP of Business Development at idio, which enables major brands and publishers to deliver individualized content in a scalable way across all channels to move consumers towards a specific business goal. He leads the company’s efforts in direct sales, channel/technology partnerships, and product strategy.