Beware the Ides of Marketing

March 15, 2014


Anyone who has thumbed through Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar can likely recall the warning that Caesar received from an anonymous soothsayer about his ultimate demise: “Beware the ides of March.” Caesar chose to ignore the soothsayer’s warning (even joked about it), believing himself invulnerable.

Marketers can take a lesson from Caesar's carelessness by listening to the trendsetters who predict the industry's future, and by gaining a deeper understanding of emerging trends. Luckily, in our modern era, predicting future trends and events is much more acceptable. But, to which content resources should you dedicate your time and effort?

Seek your answers with analytics and ask yourself these three questions:

1. Is your content based primarily on reactionary analysis?

Caesar didn’t believe the soothsayer’s claims because he was stuck in the past. His reign over Rome was established through years of conquests and political campaigns.

Ask yourself these questions and then find the answers within analytics to confirm or deny your suspicions about what works and what doesn’t:

  1. What content has worked best for your brand’s identity? Have you generated enough brand lift through content production and social amplification?
  2. Do you chart effectiveness through first-tier social signals (likes, followers), or through consumption, sharing, lead generation and sales metrics? Jay Baer noted that content shouldn’t be measured with a single metric, so branch out beyond those first-tier figures.
  3. Do you understand what content drives visitors to take a next step, whether it be visiting the website or downloading a piece of fulfillment?

2. Do you know your competition’s agenda?

One of Caesar’s greatest failures involved a lack of understanding toward his subjects. He believed himself infallible; he thought no one would dare attack him and certainly did not anticipate that his closest allies would conspire against him.

Today’s online tools make competitive research easier, but the strategies are constantly changing.

Searching for your competition in Google only provides a glimpse of their efforts. You’ll need to follow their social activity, track their recommendations and hiring efforts on LinkedIn, and query your prospects for insights on what other companies they are talking to as part of their buying journey.

You can get started with tools like SEMRush, which can provide insight into the keywords used by your competition for example. Mention or Topsy can inform you when their content hits the mark.

3. Are you targeting the right people?

Caesar’s Rome was defined by class structure – the rich, the poor, and the slaves. Caesar failed to address widespread class concerns during his rule, paying for it with his life.

Does your content attract and engage the right audience? Have you identified the stages of your sales cycle and mapped it back to the content that exists (or doesn’t) across your web properties?

If not, this is an important step to make sure you are delivering the right content to the right audience. Understand the types of audience members who are responding to your content – entry-level, executive, or somewhere in between.

The Follower Demographics chart on your LinkedIn Company Page Analytics tab comes in handy here, allowing you to determine where your content works best along the corporate ladder – and what industries are flocking to your messaging.

On this Ides of March, take heed from your digital soothsayer and avoid a content marketing shortfall with proactive content planning strategies built on a solid foundation.

Have you utilized a variety of analytical and demographical data to direct content planning? Tweet us @LinkedInMktg and share!