The core of all marketing efforts is findability.
We want our brand, products, content, etc. to be found by our target audiences – that’s step one. If we’re not first found, conversions aren’t even a conversation.
Search, which is all about findability, some say is experiencing a resurgence but those involved heavily in content marketing know it never really left or lost importance, it has just been overshadowed by efforts that are running parallel. Findability is still the key to most success and SEO best practices are usable in every corner of our marketing efforts.
What are we dealing with in today’s marketing? I think we’ve got four key elements: Medium, method, message, and market. And good search / findability practices are at the heart of all of them. Let’s explore the definitions of these first, and then some applications of the data.
The medium is the type of content we have created for our audience to consume. Examples of marketing mediums are:
- Landing page
- Case study
- Post (social media)
The medium is independent of (although often closely tied to) the channel on which we’re sharing the content.
We want to understand our mediums separately from each other and from the channels (methods) that we are using for our marketing efforts because we are trying to best understand they ways we’re conversing with our audience that work best for our brand. We’ll dive into that more later.
The method is most commonly known as the marketing channel, the vehicle we’re using to distribute the content. A few marketing methods include:
- Direct mail
- Your website
One thing you’ll likely notice is that each medium may have multiple methods, and vice-versa. For example, you may have the medium of a video shared across methods including YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Facebook, and embedded on your site. Conversely, you may have the method of Facebook, on which you share many mediums such as videos, images, posts, comments, case studies, and ads.
Let’s look at the message and the market before we dive in further with applications.
Our message is what we’re trying to convey with our content. With each piece of content we create, we’re trying to impart an impression or information to our target audience. Examples of marketing messages may be:
- Consistency – We create the most consistent cup of coffee with our brewer
- Simplicity – Our coffee maker is the easiest to use
- Auto-delivery – You don’t even have to run to the store to have great coffee, we’ll send it directly to you
- Variety – Our brewer gives you the most options of types and brands of drinks
- Summer Sale – Get 30% off your favorite summer beverages
Your messages may be tied to short term campaigns you’re running across multiple mediums and methods or they may be part of longer term brand awareness campaigns that are an ongoing part of your marketing mix.
The market we’re talking about may be geographic or demographic – or both – based on your organization. When we’re looking at your target market, we are creating audience segments that allow us to better understand who is consuming our content and how. You may have markets such as:
- New moms age 25-40
- Millenial men
- Auto enthusiasts living in Miami, FL
- Women in Nashville, TN
Tying the medium, method, message and market together with search for findability
So what do we do with all of these various aspects of our marketing? At DemandSphere we create what’s called a Segment Map, which serves three purposes:
- Organize your marketing efforts and resources
- Analyze your data accurately
- Reporting and recommendations
Segment Maps are not only medium, method, message and market based, but also add the elements of products, features, brands and other elements of your organization to create a full picture of what your content is, or can be, created around. Below is a screenshot of a simplified Segment Map with Keurig as the example to illustrate how we’d create some basic categories.
Organizing your marketing efforts and resources
When you’re tackling creating a marketing plan or content strategy for your organization, you’ve got plenty of moving parts to consider. To get the most out of your budget and resources, creating a Segment Map helps you define the areas to focus on and deliverables you’ll need.
Here’s an example:
You have your Q1 marketing budget approved an you’re looking at which campaigns and efforts to apply it toward that will make the biggest impact. By laying out the campaigns, messages, markets, mediums, and methods into a segment map – you can see what content you already have for each, deliverables that need to be created, and how you might want to combine them to create an effective marketing plan.
You may also identify gaps in where you have content but aren’t sharing it across mediums and methods you have available.
(You can also check out our Slideshare on Medium, Method, & Message to Bridge the Gap in Marketing Data)
Analyze your data accurately
When it comes to analyzing your data, we often run into issues where we’re not looking at the entire marketing ecosystem, instead forced to analyze performance in a vacuum.
Even when we’re not in a vacuum, we may not be comparing performance as an apples to apples comparison – measuring the impact of each channel or type of content differently. The use of Segment Maps doesn’t necessarily solve the issue of what we’re measuring for each channel, but instead gives a broader picture of the individual elements at play that make up the real findability of our brand.
Too often, by analyzing a single piece of content, an individual campaign, or one channel – we are forced to assume success or failure of an effort incorrectly.
Reporting and recommendations
Trying to report on the progress of content marketing and SEO efforts can be difficult when added into a slew of data for social, email, advertising, and other things. Where Segment Mapping can help is in ensuring we’re understanding how each factor is impacting all aspects of our findability – whether it’s the medium, the method, the message, or market.
Generating reports that capture individual or combined segments can paint more accurate pictures than a data dump of too many metrics. Conversely, a full data picture that allows for segmented views can provide a lot more context than a narrow set of information that leaves out nuance to what that data actually means for your organization.
How has search come full circle?
With each of the elements – medium, method, message, and market – we’re attempting to connect with our target audience and evoke a response. The elements of search, the best practices associated with findability, are aimed at presenting audiences with the most relevant content for their needs.
By applying what our audience is telling us they care about – paying attention to their queries, consumption styles, and behavior – we can deliver the most relevant content at the right time without wasting resources.
How does segment mapping help? It allows us to focus on the individual aspects of our marketing efforts through:
- Identification of new content opportunities
- Discovery of competitors for each segment instead of an entire brand / product
- Generation of better marketing deliverables across ALL mediums, methods, messages, and markets
- Prioritization of tasks and resources based on real time audience and market shifts
The fundamentals of what causes search engines reward content with higher rankings – relevancy – is at the heart of what will create the best email campaigns, advertising, contributed articles, social media engagements, and more.
Getting started with Segment Mapping
If you’re interested in checking out how to build a Segment Map of your own, or want to talk about our automated process, get in touch with us for a quick discovery call, or take a look at our webinar on Cutting Through Competitor Noise and Segment Mapping