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The Content Marketing Index

How to Apply and Drive Revenue Opportunities

Measuring Social Media and Content Marketing, Part 3 of 3

Posted 2014, Aug 7, 8:04 p.m. - Martin van der Roest, Batavia Research


In my college years as an engineering student, I quickly became enamored with the study of signal processing.  I was completely fascinated by its power and versatility.  I learned that you could apply this to not only electrical circuit design, but economics, biology, sociology and so on.  Not only could you characterize and call out trends, but there were predictive properties as well.  WOW … what a fun discovery it was for me!

Over the past years, I have tended to look at things with my “signal processing” glasses on.  In fact, if I saw anything that looked like time-based data or sequences, I immediately thought about applying these techniques.  It was bit like the law of the instrument expression “when you only have a hammer, everything starts looking like a nail.”

Applying the Content Marketing Index

In the previous parts one and two of this series, we looked at the basis for the index.  The key theme is that there are signals and insights buried in social media and content marketing activities.  And these signals can be harvested and applied to …

  • sales enablement and prospecting
  • benchmarking and performance audits
  • competitive analysis
  • predictive insights

And on top of all that, these items are business initiatives that drive revenue.  Attention B2B marketers … the Content Marketing Index™ (CMI) is a revenue generator!

So, let’s explore this further.

Sales Enablement and Prospecting

I’ve thought of one aspect of marketing being a “vacuum cleaner.”  That is, marketers need to expose and understand “vacuums” or pain points or needs.  With the CMI, marketers can immediately identify these “vacuums” as well as the strengths of a prospect that empowers sales to have data driven, non-subjective, conversations.  The CMI is an intelligence tool that can give organizations credibility and shorten their sales cycles.  Shorter cycles mean more sales bandwidth … more bandwidth means more revenue.

Here’s a use case example.  A user of the CMI, creates profiles of their prospects.  These profiles are studied by their account managers, who in turn reach out to the prospects.  Their profiles or reports are used as the basis for their initial conversation to affirm the findings and exposes the opportunities for improvement.  This short conversation then allows for a proposal development by the 2nd or 3rd meeting.  The prospects are met at their point of need and the organization can engage more opportunities than previously possible.

Benchmarking and Performance Audits


The question of ROI can activate the breakout of hives for some folks.  Just like organizations audit other aspects of their business, why not audit one’s social media and content marketing activities?  Having your marketing manager directly responsible for these activities or your agency report on ROI is like having the fox guard the chicken coup.   Even the word “creative” and “measure” in the same sentence seems oxymoronic for some agencies.

Conducting a performance audit is an ideal application of the CMI.  Invariably there are two things that tend to pop out in this use case.  The first is a comprehensive performance profile that doesn’t lie.  It’s empirical and data driven.  There is nothing you can make up.  

Secondly, the actual “content performance” by media type and channel are clearly evident.  For example, a common observation is to see several thousands of tweets and text posts to various channels and a handful of photos and videos.  Yet in spite of these efforts, there are minimal to no engagements for the text media and often an average of 50 to 100x engagement for rich media.  A need to adjust media type ratios would make sense.

Competitive Analysis

As we stressed in part 2 of this series, companies are talking about themselves, product, strategy, industry, etc.  Moreover, since social media and content marketing are budgeted items, financial signals are also produced.

Just like the prospecting activities, the CMI can be an intelligence “illuminator” characterizing the activities, performance, messaging, etc. of competitors.  And by drilling into the data, additional insights and nuggets can be harvested to highlight products and/or services being promoted along with customer and/or prospects sentiment and reaction.  

Predictive Insights

Remember the point I made earlier … that the output of a process, in this case the content marketing lifecycle, is in part a function of input.  If money or spend are an input, can we observe certain output to infer spend or budget?  The CMI says “yes.”  

Let’s take an illustration based on actual data.  A company has a history of regularly posting mixed media to 5 different channels.  Posting 5 to 10 times per week was not unusual.  However, over a period of a few months, the media mix declined to status text and blogs.  Activities on 2 of the channels steadily declined as well.  Engagements fell off.  So … what’s happening?  It could be a variety of things, including the dismissal of their agency, change of leadership, change of strategy and direction.  However, given certain signals that reflect a change in resources, this could be interpreted as a reduction in budget … and in turn suggest financial stresses for the business?  A separate verification indicated that in fact, staffing had been reduced.  


Companies budget social media and content marketing initiatives.  The resulting initiatives and supporting processes produce content and engagements.  The content being produced speaks to company initiatives, products, strategy, pivots, etc.  Engagements reflect sentiment.  Collectively all of this data possess “signals” that can be observed, measured and rolled up into the “apples-to-apples” nature of the Content Marketing Index™.

This Content Marketing Index™is a significant asset that can empower B2B marketers to drive sales enablement, performance audits, competitive analysis and predictive insights … and ultimately to drive revenue.  Translation … the CMI contributes to generating revenue.

Photo - Martin van der Roest - Batavia Research

Martin van der Roest, President and Co-Counder - Batavia Research
Member, SoCal BMA


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