How brands break through the noise to tell their story with data-driven marketing.

With 90% of business marketing now operating online, how does your brand break through the noise to deliver its message? We chat with founder and managing director of Blirt, Stuart Leo. Blirt is a leading CX marketing firm and we talk to Stuart about how brands can create a compelling and engaging experience that an audience tunes into. 

Rakhal: Data-driven marketing can, in a sense I guess, correlate data to the point where marketers can plan and implement a virtual map, I guess, for consumers to follow where they finish at that all-important conversion of a sale. A data-driven marketing survey recently published in Hubspot said actually 69%, Stuart, of people said that they focused on offers, messages, and content. Now, I guess a bit of a broad question, but how do you see the mix of content and your specialty data-driven marketing going forward in 2016?

Stuart: I think content needs to be understood as everything from a how-to guide to an explanation video to web pages and blogs, through to hard-hitting, retailing, TVCs, radio ads, or calls to action. At the end of the day, advertisers and marketers have been creating content since marketing and communications were born. It’s just that today we don’t just do 30-second ads or 1-page print ads. We’re thinking about content as being more about how do we design the right time length channel at the right stage in the buying journey? If that means we’ve got to write a short book, write a short book. If that means you’ve got to produce a YouTube channel and explain something through that process, great. Do that. I really think content gets a bad reputation when people think it’s just blogging or just writing e-books or some of the more common things we do online. Really, content is that thing we produce across the buying journey to help the communication experience.

Rakhal: You’ve worked with a lot of clients both here and overseas, can you think of any prime examples of when data and storytelling merged to create a powerful or effective campaign? Either your own clients or examples, case studies that you’ve seen in the market recently?

Stuart: For us, we use content both to build awareness at the top of the funnel, to educate in the consideration phase, but really, and I’m not going to give away too many secrets, but where we find content accelerates the purchasing experience … Let’s just get commercial for a moment.

Rakhal: Absolutely. Let’s get real commercial. That’s why we’re here.

Stuart: Absolutely. We talk a lot about opportunity acceleration, not about creation of leads or just lead conversion, but rather how do we accelerate a buying experience. Because if a marketer can accelerate a buying experience, he or she can take that dollar spent on that campaign and reuse it again in another campaign. Purely and simplistic, what I mean by that is if one campaign takes 12 months and you need to spend a dollar on that campaign, you can only expense that dollar once every 12 months. Rather, if we can shorten that down to 1 month, we can expense that dollar 12 times and we can generate more customers. The more effective we can be around that velocity of a deal, then the more effective we can be with the capital we’re using to cross those campaigns and the more return we can get back to that organization on their marketing efforts.

We really actually focus quite hard on … at the point where they’re actually becoming a serious prospect, a serious opportunity, depending on the language you might use in your CRM world or automation world. I’ll use the word opportunity because that’s a common enough term out there in the industry. If we can, now at the stage of opportunity, personalize messages, ensure that they’re getting trust builders answering the right questions through that process, what we’re doing with content is we’re providing a content foundation to a sales experience or a buying experience.

If it’s a high-engagement sale where there’s potentially a sales person involved, well then great. You’ve got the physical and the digital world working together. If it’s a maybe more e-commerce type scenario or a low-engagement sale, well then you’re using omnichannel activities to really wrack around that customer as they start to exhibit serious buying behaviors. We’ve seen that the more personalized you get with that content and with that experience, the faster the sale happens and the greater the level of brand advocacy that comes out of it.