Content Marketing Analytics: What’s The Point?


I’ve got a reputation as a low reactor. I’ve not done much to earn it, but, when you think about it, that makes sense.

Not much gets my dander up: I’ve always found it easy to keep my head while all about me are losing theirs. And, like most personality traits, it’s a strength and weakness; a balcony seat in the moral high ground is comfortable but – let’s face it – rarely the best platform to effect major change.

But today, lads and lasses, I’ve cracked. And – because you’re reading this – there’s every chance you’re part of the problem. That’s because it’s you – B2B marketers of the world – who are driving me nuts. We all need to change.

Content Marketing Analytics 
So what’s the beef? Today we have technology, data, models and formulae coming out of our ears, but we still have to work incredibly hard to persuade people – often unsuccessfully – of the utility and value of analytics.

We can break them into two groups: one frustrating, the other infuriating. Let’s take them one at a time.

Team “Inferiority Complex”
There’s still a substantial numbers of B2B marketing teams who are – let’s be honest – ashamed of their content marketing efforts. They look at their campaign reports and the inexorable thought appears. We’re failing. Fast.

In some cases, they’ll be right; their content sucks like a Dyson. But more often than not, they have a perception problem. They’re spending significant marketing bucks and can’t shake the feeling that every investment should be delivering hordes of rampant buyers ready to fight over their offers.

But that “feeling” is a pointless irrelevance to real B2B analytical challenges:

  • Long purchase cycles mean we have to analyse every stage of a complex journey.
  • Multi-disciplinary buying teams mean we have to measure impact on business buyers, the IT guy, the finance woman and even procurement dudes.
  • Complex products mean we have to spend months learning about our clients’ technologies, markets, value chains, competitors and substitutes. And that’s just for starters.

If you’re not enthused by these issues, you’re in the wrong job. B2B marketers have helped build some of the world’s best companies with creative and compelling campaigns. We should be taking pride in showing how we can find, schmooze and convert these elusive customers who spend a lot more (with a lot more consideration) than their consumer cousins.

Team “What’s The Point?”
The next group is even more annoying. There are – still – countless marketers, often in lofty positions, who just don’t see the point in serious content marketing analytics.

They might seem open to the idea but just find it impossible to justify the time, resources and budget required to solve – as we’ve already discussed – some pretty difficult analytical challenges.

Why reflect on what we’ve done when there are new markets to conquer, customers to win and profits to be made? Let’s focus on, you know, proper marketing, to drive the business forward.

So what is the point? Let’s tackle this on two levels:

1. The Individual Level
The most highfalutin answer is that it will transform our individual lives. When we can report on leads and attribute revenue we’ll feel a lot better about ourselves. If you know you’re growing a business, you’ll take even more pleasure in the things you do to grow it. Know you’re worth it: you’ll be all Dickie Fox every great day.

2. The Practical Level
For people asking the question in a more aggressive tone, we focus on practice. The most obvious point is that we’re not reflecting on the past, we’re informing the future. But we can go further. Successful businesses are built on convictions that become fixed and, in the technology space, quickly dated. Analytics allow us to step back and challenge these convictions before others disrupt them. We need the information to thrive and survive.

Summing Up
B2B marketers have invested heavily in content. Many are building analytical systems to show the value of the work. But there are too many teams lacking the will, belief, foresight or skills for analytics to be viewed as a strategic investment to drive new content and campaigns that drive and maintain success.

We need to change that. And over the coming weeks and months, we’ll start to show you how.

And if you – literally – want to join us on providing individual and practical support on content marketing analytics, there’s a job with your name on it. Get in touch.

*Image: The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (Goya)

“Imagination abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters: united with her, she is the mother of the arts and the source of its wonders.”


Hi good points. As an early stage content marketer trying to sell the value of content and thought leadership i’ m usually dealing with team ‘what’s the point’ With some success! Buzzsumo is a resource u probably know about that measures #s of social shares. Sio that seems like a good metric. But. I would love to know of other ways to measure what content is doing for people.

    HI Lionel, great to hear from you. I think you’re starting in the right place with metrics like shares, downloads and solid engagement goals. The frustration I have is more when we try to tie in more tightly with the revenue process. The steps we need to take there seem to spook the marketers we’re talking about here. Good stuff though 🙂

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