CRM is said to be having a moment as a pivotal tool for data-driven advertising. Marketers are looking to tap into what they know about customers for banner ad buys. But what can CRM offer as a source for your brand’s content marketing strategy? Let’s take a look at the qualitative potential in CRM: that sweet spot where CRM and content collide.

Everyone agrees that ‘content is king’ in digital marketing. Yet, a ton of brands out there still treat content marketing as an add-on or a broadcasting effort, rather than embracing the mindset of a media producer who entertains, builds community, starts conversations and provides valuable insights. There are brands that have gone as far as mimicking the identity of media companies and are currently building some of the most innovating content destinations. You just have to think of Red Bull, Intel, Adobe, GE and American Express. These brands understand that the audience wants content that inspires them to think and to create; it wants to engage, comment, remix and rate. In an audience, your brand meets potential customers at the very beginning of the funnel.

It is in the nature of the marketer to measure success. But the KPIs for content are tricky. - Highlight to share -

It is in the nature of the marketer to measure success. But the KPIs for content are tricky. In good content, it is said that promotional links look spammy, so that traffic and direct leads cannot be your go-to metrics. A lot of successful content programmes are made with a product and services in mind but they are not actually mentioned. Neither is the brand story. Today brands deal with customers that are self-absorbed and spoiled; they get what they want all the time. Nobody wants to hear you boasting about how amazing your company is. It is about knowing your audience better. This is where CRM technology comes in handy.

CRM brings together the minds of marketing, sales and customer service teams in the effort to create more interesting campaigns, more conversions and leads. CRM helps brands to appear on top of search results, to better target e-blasts, contests and deals, and to directly respond to comments, complements and complaints. Moreover, and maybe most importantly for some brands, social CRM assists in maintaining and consistent presence on social media. Social CRM is an integral part of CRM, however it can be used on its own, depending on the business’s positioning.

Through social listening and enhanced customer profiles, (social) CRM helps structure campaigns. Insights on the background of your fans on each channel, their interests and the times they usually engage with content that relates to your brand in order to target and time campaigns. Likewise, customer care, especially on social, can enhance the brand experience by making it more personal. Resolving a complaint mentioned in customer’s post or offering a discount to new followers adds value to the relationship in both ways.

It cannot be ignored that social media is one of the biggest traffic driver to websites, whether that’s a brand page or content hub. It is thus at the top of the discovery funnel and there is a high chance that the ‘realisation for need’ of your brand’s product or service is triggered through your brand’s content on social, not by an ad or a promotion.

Quantified data helps answer the question: Why is this content relevant and to whom? - Highlight to share -

CRM technology provides data that helps create more relevant and compelling content that turns an audience into customers. Quantified data helps answer the question: “Why is this content relevant and to whom?” This question serves as quality and should be asked by every marketer before pressing the publish button. It prevents us from producing content that appeals to the masses. Customers’ content preferences are as specific as their needs when it comes to product and services. Trying to cater to everyone will not reach anyone.

Putting a sophisticated CRM technology in place helps brands in all stages of the content marketing strategy. In the production stage, brands can select topics and formats based on customers’ preferences or common interests among new potential customers. Moreover, based on customer patterns in content consumption, brands can determine the best formats to use, from long-form editorial, how-to articles and video, documentary-style video, video games, contests, apps, virtual reality, influencer engagement – the sky is the limit and CRM insights facilitate the selection process.

Knowing what content types work best on each channel allows marketers to tailor the message. - Highlight to share -

In the planning stage, insights help determine goals, timing, and, very importantly, the distribution strategy for the campaign. Knowing what content types work best on each channel allows marketers to tailor the message accordingly.

As with all content and campaigning, it requires some testing to optimise your content’s performance. CRM tools allow to seamlessly measure A/B testing of voice, style, visual assets among other things. CRM and content are now part of one cycle for two apparent reasons. Content success metrics feed back into content strategy and content feeds back into CRM with new readers-turned-customers.

So do not waste your resources chasing customers on social media getting them to like your company fan page, if you have data at hand that will help build a centralised branding initiative across channels, which, ultimately, yields stronger brand awareness, loyalty and revenue.

CRM is a hidden resource for your content marketing strategy