Intertwined from the start. For marketing executive Clare Carr, digital marketing and data have been a packaged deal since the beginning of her career. But for most marketers, while data is plentiful, leveraging that data (and diriving actionable insights to improve content strategy) is an evolving challenge. Most of us are just beginning to scratch the surface of our data’s potential.
But according to Clare, who spent more than six years at content analytics platform Parse.ly, data can do more than help us optimize performance “after the fact.” Data can help us build our brand. Data can help us become better storytellers. Data can help us grab attention.
As part of our Break Free B2B interview series, TopRank Marketing Senior Content Marketing Manager Joshua Nite sat down with Clare to talk data-driven B2B content marketing, storytelling, and so much more. At the time of the interview, Clare was still part of the Parse.ly family, but has since struck out on her own. She’s now the Vice President of Marketing for Chief, which is a network and community for powerful women in the industry.
Through the interview, you’ll see that Clare believes marketers should focus on how their companies, campaigns, people, and stories can work together to drive success. Further, she counsels us to be implicitly aware of what is worthy of your customers’ attention. Click the play button on the video below to dive into the full interview.
Break Free B2B Marketing Interview with Clare Carr
Haven’t pressed play just yet? Here are a couple of our favorited excerpts from our time with Clare.
Josh: It is amazing how the field of SEO has gone from very prescriptive to very data-driven. We have to determine what the demand is, we can’t just shove it down people’s throats. Do you feel like that?
Clare: Absolutely, and people will tune out content that isn’t valuable to them. That’s, I think, one of the biggest changes over the past 10 years. You used to be able to sort of trick algorithms. But Google has gotten smarter and audiences have more choices than ever before. If you don’t capture their attention with valuable information, it goes somewhere else.
Data is kind of becoming in a way that we can get at what these people want, especially what kind of information they want. When it started, we thought a data-driven marketer would be someone who was able to track everything correctly, be able to give their conversion path, and figure out the KPIs and metrics they need to measure. But now, we’re talking about applying data to content.
I think the biggest takeaway that people are surprised by is the data can be really closely associated with your brand. It can be something that makes you unique and memorable. It’s something that is hard for other people to replicate.
So, if you can make data something that people associate with you, they trust you more, you can connect with them more, and you can tell better stories. All those things you want as a content marketer, as a B2B marketer, data can actually do for you. It’s not just good writing, good storytelling, and good creative anymore.
Josh: Are you talking only about the first party research that brands might do? Or is there another way to associate that value of the data with the brand?
Clare: First-party research is certainly one way to do it. I think internal data, in general, is something that more brands should look at and see what they have available to them, and then how they can use that for content.
For instance, [Parse.ly is an] analytics company and we have individual clients’ dashboards, but we can see trends across 10 billion monthly interactions with content. One of the things that we get asked about a lot is, “Are more people reading content coming from Facebook? Are they coming from Google?” That’s all information that is basically runoff data for us. It’s data that we have, we’re not using it in our product. So we can write a lot about it, we can share it with people, we can help them understand how they fit into the broader trends of the industry, and whether they’re on track or if there are things they need to change in their strategy. It becomes a content source, it becomes client engagement, it becomes industry and formation.
Josh: How do you get that data to the content folks in a way that it makes sense to them, and they can use it?
Clare: That is the big challenge. I think a lot of people underestimate how important it is to combine those worlds.
A lot of people underestimate how important it is to combine the data team and content team’s worlds within an organization. @clareondrey #DataDrivenMarketing #B2BContentMarketing #BreakFreeB2B Click To Tweet
I’ve seen that some of it is just repetition—bringing data to them that they understand. We have a lot of clients that use Parse.ly for that purpose. They bring their reports, that are really easy to understand and have a lot of data, to their data team and say, “Hey, you know, we’re doing some really great stuff with this too. Here’s the data to prove it. How can we work together?”
Then, their PPC team or their SEO team says, “Hey, wait a second, this content is really performing. We’re going to start building that into our programs as well.” We’ve seen some companies have a lot of success with that, but it’s it takes a human element that cannot be taken out of this equation. Maybe sometimes buy people beers or pizza or maybe a gluten-free option, you know, depending on what everyone wants. Convince them that both sides of these coins are very important. Ultimately, if you want the success of your company, you’re going to need them both to work.
Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a couple interviews to whet your appetite: