Delivering content at the right place and the right time along the decision journey is the goal of most content marketing programs. Content is a consumable and shareable asset that has a different and distinct role at each point of the journey. Marketers need to understand each role before they can measure the impact and effectiveness of content assets.

The decision or shopping journey differs for B2B and big-ticket purchases than for consumer products or smaller priced items. For cost per clicks (CPCs), the shopping journey is shorter and often consumers have an entrenched consideration set that they brink to the point of purchase. Disruptive content is essential for breaking through and stimulating new ideas about purchase selection. The decision cycle for B2B and big-ticket items is typically longer and buyers often interact with the brand more directly and frequently.

Despite these differences, the steps on the journey are very similar. In our content supply chain practice, ComBlu uses a simple five-point decision journey, including:

· Awareness: Becoming aware of the brand, product or service with or without any intention to buy through brand communications, word-of-mouth (WOM) or independent discovery.

· Consideration: Researching and becoming familiar with a set of options that could fill a need or want. This is usually through a combination of online research, conversations, or face-to-face encounters either with a salesperson or at a retail store.

· Preference: Honing the considered choices into a short list of likely options.

· Purchase: Making the final decision and taking the plunge.

· Post-Purchase: Driving repurchase intent, as well as brand advocacy or WOM.

We use the following chart to help clients understand how to plan content type, channel selection and measurement along the decision journey. This particular version is for a B2B enterprise.


Once we understand the type and role of content along the decision journey, we can begin defining the right metrics suite for each point in the journey to track content performance and engagement trends. The following chart is a sample of a measurement-planning matrix that we use.


After we have identified the right metrics suite for the content mission at each point of the journey, we use the content module of our Social Performance Index™ (SPI™) measurement service to create a performance index for specific content key performance indicators (KPIs). This allows us to understand which topics, formats and venues perform and serve as a data point for refining the content road map and insights process of the supply chain. It allows the content creation team to be more efficient and effective when they create content and for the distribution team to calibrate their channel strategy. This approach also gives great insights into advocate participation and behavior, and can feed directly into a gamification engine that recognizes and rewards people who share, add context and create appropriate content along the decision journey.

Content marketing is a core function for today’s social business. A lot of smart people are working on new ways to socialize many of the core functions of the content supply chain. This approach to measuring return on content will evolve as the social discipline matures. How are you approaching content ROI? It’s an important discussion and one we’re glad to jump into.

ComBlu is sponsoring a free Content Masters Series beginning June 6, 2012. It’s four webinars that breakdown the content supply chain. For more information or to register, click here .Hope you’ll join us.

Cheryl Treleaven

Cheryl Treleaven


Engaging your customers is at the heart of successful marketing programs. For more than 20 years, Cheryl has been building and executing content and thought leadership strategies designed to do just that. She is excited to be applying that well-honed skill to a help companies like Microsoft, Cisco, 3M, Intel, Capital One and Barclaycard tap into their stakeholder communities and build sophisticated content strategies.

Her experience base spans a range of industries – from technology and financial services to retail, travel, consumer products and healthcare. Cheryl has served as an integral member of her clients’ marketing teams, providing counsel on marketing and brand strategy, thought leadership, media relations, product introductions, and event management.

Prior to joining ComBlu, Cheryl spent 10 years leading corporate marketing for large, complex organizations.