Picture the following.
A salesperson sits down to make their first call of the day. They pull up their CRM. The AI built into the CRM delivers a summary of data about the lead, not just the basics, but things like all the content their lead has seen. There’s also a recommendation for the kinds of products the lead might want to know about based on this, and even a recommended buyer persona and approach to close the deal.
Sounds like a dream right? Knowing exactly what to say because you know everything your lead has engaged with your brand. This would make it so simple to close a deal, right? Well, that future is coming fast through the use of content intelligence and the AIs that power those platforms.
There are billions of pieces of content generated every day online. Maybe even trillions by this point. It is completely impossible for any marketing team to sift through it all without the help of technology. One of the roles of a Content Strategy Platform is to sift through all that information and turn it into actionable insights for sales and marketing teams.
Companies that lack a solution to really understand how each piece of content contributes to a marketing and sales campaign will be at a severe disadvantage. This lack of understanding has been the core problem in content marketing. Deciding which pieces of content to create was a guessing game with the hope of hitting something that would resonate with the audience. It’s like a slot machine with educated guessing.
But with content intelligence, the guessing can stop. We are some years yet before a content strategy platform can generate the next logical piece of content wholecloth. But we are at the point where these platforms can generate a context of an entire company’s content and determine which direction the team needs to go in order to reach their marketing goals.
This content context is the secret map that content marketers need to have so they know where to turn to next for their marketing strategies. It’s also the secret to proving ROI about content generation to upper management. Content strategy platforms are able to trace exactly which pieces of content have driven conversions and which ones were duds.
The ability to tie specific pieces of content or groups of pieces together to a conversion no matter when the lead saw them is where the magic of nailing down content ROI can happen. That’s a huge milestone and a huge relief for content marketers who have known that the system works but could not explain why it did or how to improve the process.
Content intelligence is usually seen as a tool for marketing, but CI can take data from a number of different sources to generate insights. One powerful and under-utilized tool is sales information. The questions and comments that salespeople get are grist for the mill of a CI system.
For instance, if sales is getting a particular question often, that’s a good key to create a piece of content. But if the Content Strategy Platform (CSP) can determine that this question is asked by a particular type of customer, or one that sees certain other pieces of content, that’s a point where content personalization can happen. If companies want to create truly personalized content strategies, they must have this sales information to feed into their systems.
Marketing gets customers on board, but sales is where the rubber meets the road. Using CI, the systems can feed back on one another. Marketing can tell sales which kinds of content a lead has read before they call. Sales can reply back with the results of the call and what they’ve learned from the customer. It’s a virtuous cycle of information.
While much of the information this cycle can generate is human-actionable, its real power comes when it is fed back into the AI system so it can learn from it to make better decisions. This is the current end-goal of the merging of content intelligence platforms with machine learning, the ability to make predictions on how to close more sales faster based on individual lead behavior, even if a sales attempt has failed in the past.
Imagine what we could learn about ourselves and about sales and marketing through these feedback loops. Just like the study of advertising and human psychology transformed how we conducted sales and marketing in the 20th century, AI and content intelligence will transform how we do it in the 21st. Now is the time to get in on the ground floor and start training AI systems for your particular audience before your competitors do so.
Let’s just take one example from last year. Coca-Cola is embracing AI to help with ad generation and customer service. They’ve put AI applications into their vending machines and tied access to them to an app called Coke On. It’s a loyalty reward program that showed great promise in Japan. They’re also experimenting heavily with chatbots to improve customer relationships and to gain more data about their products straight from the customer’s mouths. All this marketing data could be easily fed back into new content pieces and even the creation of new drink products for the company.
This is a time for bold experimentation with these technologies. AI and content intelligence are poised to be game changers as big as the internet or smartphones were when they were introduced. The technologies have been around long enough to prove that they’re useful, but we’re still in the wild west era where we don’t know exactly the best ways to do that. This means that experimentation is the name of the game. But the sooner your marketing and sales teams can start using content marketing intelligence, the further ahead you’ll be in the curve and the further you’ll be than your competitors who waited too long.
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