Content Intelligence Blog

5 min read

An Essential 15-Minute Crash Course in Content Intelligence

Aug 21, 2018 9:08:25 AM


If you’re operating in marketing, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the following happen in the past two to three years.

  • Content marketing doesn’t seem to be working that great anymore. In fact, you’re starting to question how well it worked in the first place. You really haven’t tracked its performance.
  • Whatever form of conversion you’re using, numbers just aren’t what they used to be.
  • Your budget for content marketing has been cut … or that likelihood seems to be on the near horizon.
  • You find it increasingly difficult to get your audience’s attention, let alone turn them into brand loyalists or brand advocates.*  

* According to a survey by Content Marketing Institute, 44 percent of marketers say it has become increasingly difficult to capture their audience’s attention over the previous year.

Welcome to the harsh reality of working in a digital world that’s been flooded with content — Content Shock, as author Mark Schaefer described it in a blog post published several years ago, At the time, Schaefer concluded that content marketing as a strategy wasn’t sustainable by virtue of the fact that there are diminishing returns. You basically have to spend more marketing dollars to get less attention.

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Source: Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing: 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America


Throw in the towel? Rely on something else?  

You could cut your budget for content marketing, but it could be to your detriment. Even Schaefer has come around to a different way of thinking about the Content Shock phenomenon. In a more recent blog post, Schaefer had this to say: “ … Content Shock isn’t the problem — it’s the solution. This is the goal. Create Content Shock for your competitors by saturating your niche.�?

But there’s a problem that lies ahead for many marketing teams …. You can keep throwing money at content marketing strategies — flooding your niche, drowning out your competitors. You could even try to come up with better, more engaging content in hopes that it will pay off.

But that type of content marketing is still a gamble. A crap shoot.

That’s why an increasing number of companies are turning to content intelligence as an essential component of their marketing strategy. Content intelligence gives a foundation to content marketing that should have been there from the start. Here’s why.

Content intelligence …

  • .. gives you broader insights on what your target audience responds to most — not just from activity on your site.
  • … offers broader, data-driven insights; it helps you take a more comprehensive approach to developing content and messaging that elicit a response, a connection.
  • … in addition to providing you with more data insights that direct you on how to deliver the right content to your target audience, also guides you on when and where to deliver.
  • … ultimately, gives you the tools to more effectively target your advertising dollars.

What is Content Intelligence?

Content intelligence represents the systems and software that transform content data and business data into actionable insights for content strategy and tactics with impact, according to Colleen Jones, founder, Content Science Review. 


In short, content intelligence minimizes wasted efforts when it comes to executing your strategy. In some sense, content intelligence has been around for some time. But, up until recently, it has been in its infancy.


Content intelligence has had its limitations — until now.

By using platforms like Google Analytics, Kissmetrics and Adobe Analytics, marketers have been able to gain real-time insights on user behavior and measure the effectiveness of their campaigns, including analyzing the patterns that come with conversions. You could call that some level of content intelligence.

But, as impressive as those tools are, they have their limitations, according to Chad Pollitt, adjunct professor, V.P. of Marketing for InPowered, and author of Everything You Need to Know About Marketing Analytics & Artificial Intelligence.

Pollitt pointed out that there are two levels of content intelligence — micro and macro. And most marketers are only familiar with the micro level, he said.

“Essentially, as marketers, we’re used to an environment that is one-dimensional. We’re used to analytics, in particular, GA (Google Analytics) if not one of the other analytics du jour software suites,�? he said. “But what they have traditionally done and continue to do is feed you information one degree away from your website. If another website links to your website, that’s what it tracks … one degree away. When it comes to content intelligence, that’s problematic, There’s a lot more data available than what’s one degree away. The fact is people came to your website from a website, and probably came from that website from another website.�?

In other words, there’s plenty of data out there — intelligence — that eludes you. It is not available to you to guide your content marketing strategies. Those are the type of data insights Pollitt describes as “true content intelligence.�?

“It’s a totally different beast,�? he said. “GA, Adobe and all the other analytics platforms are never going to provide true content intelligence because they are only one degree away.�?

By providing a 3D picture about what’s going on beyond your site and with your content, this authentic content intelligence gives you the ability to spend your online ad dollars more efficiently, Pollitt said.  

“It will tell you what works, what doesn’t work, where to go and what vendors to talk to,�? he added. “True content intelligence is far beyond what we’re used to in analytics.�?

Content intelligence platforms are getting closer to that 3D ideal.

Content intelligence, at least content intelligence in its truest form - one that gives you a full 3D view of exactly what your target audience prefers, where they have been every step of the way, what topics they’re interested in and their activity on other sites — isn’t quite here yet.

However, about 15 to 20 software companies already have entered the space — offering various levels of content intelligence platform solutions to provide deeper levels of insights that go beyond the micro level provided by analytics platforms.

As with many aspects of digital marketing and technology, the content intelligence platform industry will continue to evolve — more than likely, extremely fast. And there will be a wide range of acceptance from the marketing industry — from early adopters to late adopters.

To prepare for this next important phase of digital marketing, marketing teams need to further educate themselves on this growing industry — beyond this crash course.

Get you to your marketing goals faster without all the second-guessing. Contact us for a demo. We’ll give you an in-depth look at how content intelligence can work for you.


Written by Vennli

Vennli is the content intelligence platform that empowers marketing leaders to increase the effectiveness of content marketing for each persona across every stage of the buyer’s journey - from awareness to advocacy. The smart content planning tool combines customer data and artificial intelligence, including insights about what matters most to the target market, to make intelligent content, messaging, and communication recommendations that will attract, convert, and retain more customers.

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