Our first session was all about the question on how data and content could be used as different tactics for company success.

The rules of Quality Circle are quite simple: after a short introduction, we build two groups and prepare in 15 minutes a valid argumentation. Each team presents for 5 minutes, followed by a voting for the best reasoning. In the end, the group compiles a synthesis.

In the beginning, we used this video to sharpen our view. Obviously, content (meaning brand marketing) is the established marketing while data (meaning Google and Facebook) is the new, challenging perspective on it. The question is, how does it impact our marketing goals.  

But how can we define data? “Data is a raw fact or value; a “given.” It is a unit of information that is self-referencing and circular (it can only lead back to itself).” (source: the Content Wrangler) In the end, most of the time data is used to drive push marketing to enhance targeting and data driven campaigns (e.g. performance display campaigns).

Opposed to this we have content: Content is contextualized data. Context situates data within a system of values, concepts, and utterances.” (source: the Content Wrangler) Forums, blogs, articles, video and pictures are all content. Content Marketing is used to pull the attention of users towards brand and users.

For the mixed group of professionals and students our case was all around a well-established German offline/online retailer for furniture and household goods. The business goal is to increase growth of sales by 5-7%.   

On the one hand side, there is the CMO and his Social Media team. His quote could be: “A strong brand is our future.” They propose to invest in Social Media, produce content and drive sales via brand awareness.

In contradiction, the analytics team states the following: Social Media proves to be a low driver of sales. Therefore, let´s use our customer data to fuel media campaign. For this team, eCommerce is the future, and new consumers will provide the extra revenue.

In this situation, the management of the retailer is ready to invest: for the next 6 months there will be an extra 250K investment in marketing. There are two options:

They can issue a data driven marketing project (Performance Display, Programmatic, Paid, Attribution) or invest into brand marketing (Social Media, Content, Blog, Influencer).

The team had to build two groups for each case (content vs. data). After the preparation, the data team came up with the following solution: They suggested to research the market for competition and background information. Obviously the investment does not allow too much efforts, so the recommendation was to target existing customers and buyers via email and website. Like this, the company could drive sell-out.

The content marketing team focussed on sharpening the USP of the company and building viral claims. The campaign should highlight the difference to the main competitor (“if you are too old for Ikea”). Discounts are also an option to fuel the sales pipeline.

In the final voting for the best argumentation, the data team had a slight benefit. Everybody agreed brand marketing is long term initiative but data driven marketing is the best short term action to drive sales. A possible role model for a synthesis between data and content could be a case like Wendy´s digital campaign

Additional resources:

https://hbr.org/2015/09/data-is-the-next-big-thing-in-content-marketing

http://www.epolitics.com/2016/04/12/data-vs-content-which-matters-more/