By now, you’re likely aware of the benefits of nurture marketing. If you’ve been running digital marketing and nurture campaigns for a while, you’re probably also familiar with various marketing technology, such as marketing automation. These tools provide marketers with the ability to reach large audiences in a way that would otherwise be impossible. For example, software can be used so that, when leads download a piece of gated content, they are automatically segmented into lists based on the information they filled out to get the content. Then, multiple, timed emails are sent to leads, all of which can be tailored to each unique segment.

This is a simple, common and effective strategy for using nurture marketing to generate leads. But, in 2017, it may not be enough.

The Challenge of Getting Eyes On Your Content

For all the benefits of marketing technology, solutions continue to fall short when it comes to gathering customer insights. This hasn’t always been a problem, but as we move into 2017, the need to truly know who your consumer is and understand what they want is more important today than ever before:

  • Consumers are empowered with information and choice, making them a tougher sell.
  • It is becoming increasingly challenging for marketers to identify what will resonate with their audience. B2B organizations feel this challenge particularly acutely, where between 60% and 70% of content is never read.
  • The sheer quantity of content out there makes it challenging to cut through the noise and connect your audience with content that will convert them from leads to customers.

Marketing technology is enabling marketers to gather more and more data, without providing the means with which to extract insights, leading to businesses that are becoming increasingly information rich but knowledge poor. To gain and keep the attention of customers, marketers need to understand their consumers beyond demographics and broad assumptions.

Introducing Data Science-as-a-Service with Affinio

At Mercer-MacKay, we often have the opportunity to meet with new technology companies who are breaking boundaries. Recently, we interviewed Microsoft partner Affinio and quickly became excited by the potential their technology has for providing deeper, more actionable marketing insights.

Founded in 2013, Affinio is a data science-as-a-service platform that takes consumer data from nearly any source you can think of (i.e. social media channels, CRM databases), and—using the cognitive intelligence and machine-learning technology of Microsoft Azure—analyzes billions of network connections simultaneously. These connections can then be interpreted through different visualizations (see picture).

Dan Stratton, Director of Marketing at Affinio, describes their data science-as-a-service platform: “Most marketers are using educated guesses based on information such as age, gender, income and location to inform marketing campaigns. Affinio is drilling down a step further, gathering information on people’s interests, passions and affiliations.”

“It’s this information that enables accurate and actionable insights into an audience’s behavior; something most marketers have known for years. Until recently, the only way to get this level of insight was by using basic metrics (i.e. age, gender) to make guesses, or through one-on-one interaction (i.e. sales). But with Affinio’s data science-as-a-service platform, marketers now have access to a new level of consumer insights.”

Dan goes on to summarize six of the core capabilities of Affinio:

  1. Analyze & Understand Audiences: Get to know an audience intimately through their interests, affinities, and the content they share and consume.
  2. Develop Data-Driven Content: Understand the content that key audience segments engage with to build content you know will resonate.
  3. Place Highly Targeted Ads: Increase paid efficiencies by creating data-driven ad content and amplifying it to targeted interest-based communities.
  4. Identify Ideal Influencers: Determine which individuals, celebrities and brands influence your audience to align your message with who matters most.
  5. Competitive Analysis: Understand your competitor’s audience better than they do. Identify and acquire new audience segments.
  6. Cross-Channel Promotion: Leverage large datasets to inform your strategy across all your marketing, including other digital and traditional efforts.

Click here to learn more about Affinio’s data science-as-a-service platform.

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