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Content Sequencing for Inbound Marketing

October 24, 2013 | By Monica Behncke

Content sequencing (providing specific, sequential offers to a target audience based on its last behavior or response) has historically been in the exclusive domain of outbound marketing – typically in the form of e-mails. That is, until OneSpot, a vendor from Austin, Texas, recently briefed us on its new offering, which brings content sequencing to inbound marketing.

At SiriusDecisions, we are always on the lookout for new and interesting technologies that can potentially help sales and marketing leaders meet their business goals. Until recently, content sequencing (providing specific, sequential offers to a target audience based on its last behavior or response) has been the exclusive domain of outbound marketing – typically in the form of e-mails.

OneSpot, a vendor from Austin, Texas, recently briefed us on its offering, which brings content sequencing to inbound marketing. OneSpot uses earned and owned content, converts it into standard-size Web advertising units and sequences those ads using retargeting to match the content to the phases of the buyer’s journey.

It’s not hard to imagine the use cases. Almost every marketer I know has, at some point in their career, had a CMO hold up a great media review and ask, “How are we going to leverage this?” The standard answer has been to post the review on the company’s Web site or social properties, and occasionally order reprints for sales. With content sequencing, that review could be used in a series of ads placed on the target audience’s favorite Web sites and could take visitors who click on the ads to additional useful or thought-provoking content.

The sequencing case study that OneSpot recently shared with us went like this:

  1. The company used ads featuring a thought leadership article from a well-known publication in its industry (cloud computing). Those ads were placed where the target audience was likely to see them. The ads and the article were not about the company or its product; they were used to attract the right audience.
  2. Visitors who clicked on the article were retargeted with an ad that featured an earned media article about the company from a respected publication.
  3. Those who clicked on the earned media article were retargeted with a content ad featuring reputation and thought leadership content about the company.
  4. Those who clicked on the reputation ad were retargeted with an ad that promoted the company’s upcoming webinar.
  5.  

    A prospect could enter the sequence at any time and be captured for anonymous retargeting to the next step. Each content ad also promoted the number of likes and tweets that the content asset received.

    What is interesting about this is that four pieces of content were served, and potential buyers were given offers that moved them along the buyer’s journey without ever providing their name and e-mail address. If a visitor signed up for the webinar, providing contact information, the company could mix outbound and inbound marketing.

    This technology is in line with inbound marketing trends we are seeing. Companies are seeking to attract prospects by placing interesting category-based and needs-based content where prospects are likely to find it on their own. Given that 65 percent of inquiries now come from inbound marketing, intelligent targeting to attract prospects makes this part of marketing much more likely to succeed – and, thus, a better use of resources – than simple broadcast methods.

    Monica Behncke

    Monica Behncke is Vice President and Group Director of Demand Creation Strategies at SiriusDecisions. She has more than 20 years’ experience in global positions across marketing disciplines ranging from product marketing to field marketing. Follow Monica on Twitter @mbbaustin

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