Developing alongside the increased sophistication of CCMSs, customer intelligence (CI) platforms represent the sibling to content management and delivery software, with more focus on the marketing aspect. Yet when the two work together – either as an integrated, automated build or as different departmental concerns – the true potential of effective content can be unlocked.
The Power of Personas
As we’ve written about in the past, one emerging aspect of a modern CCMS is the ability to configure data modules based on audience persona. CI platforms are where the bulk of the persona building can occur, since CI is designed to capture and sort customer data. Using analytics, CI platforms can break consumer data into demographic categories, such as:
- Personal demographics like age, income level, debt level, educational profile, marital status, and other lifestyle features.
- Geographic demographics such as residential location, country of origin and travel patterns.
- Attitudinal data, showing preferences and taste.
- Situational customer data, identifying the specific method and environment in which engagement occurred.
This last metric is can hold particularly compelling data when building an audience member persona: Recent research has shown that the device by which a customer accesses content can portend certain behavioral patterns, which in turn can inform a trend line and help guide content marketers in pairing content to hungry audiences. For example, according to AddThis, desktop users are above 50 percent baseline consumers of job and tech related content, while mobile users consume weather-related content a whopping 355 percent above baseline.
“There are several key data aggregation tools that CI platforms can utilize.”
To glean this data, there are several key tools that CI platforms can utilize. The first is direct gathering. Surveys and response boxes built into existing content can effectively gather meaningful data, volunteered directly from the customers themselves. However, this data cannot be deemed 100 percent verifiable, as it gives customers the opportunity to mislead or omit what might otherwise be useful information.
Other means of gathering tend to be indirect. Whether it’s scraping a popular social media platform with an eye for keywords or looking at IP addresses to determine location, indirect gathering can actually offer more verifiable insight, albeit perhaps more limited in scope, and deeper implications.
One of the key areas of potential for CI is the concept of Customer Development. As defined by Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits, authors of The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development, customer development represents the culmination of CI insights into a responsive understanding of not just behavioral cues, but also what customers are looking for from a piece of content you can provide.
“The results of the customer development process may indicate that the assumptions about your product, your customers, and your market are all wrong,” Cooper and Vlaskovits told the content marketing Institute. “And then it is your responsibility, as the idea-generator (read: entrepreneur), to interpret the data you have elicited and modify your next set of assumptions to iterate upon.”
Customer development is still in its infancy, but the capabilities of CI platforms are ever-expanding. With increased integration with CMS, the ability to configure even more effective, impactful content is well within reach.