I was talking to a young man the other day who was looking to hire an entry level marketing person. The goal (he's got a recruiting business) is to build a database:
The conversation went something like this:
Me: A Database?
Him: Yes, we want to build a database of email addresses, names, titles, college, age.....that sort of thing.
Me: What for?
Him: Our goal is to use email marketing to recruit people who went to college in our state, left the state after college for greener pastures. We want to find folks who have kids now...living in a high cost, high stress environment and tell them of the amazing opportunities here.
Me: Oh! This is a Content Marketing Strategy! (we have talked about the role of content in email marketing in this post: Content is Email Marketing's Biggest Challenge) Do you have a Content Marketing Plan?
Him: Huh? Well... we have a content writer already.
Me: Well, for this program to be successful you need personal data. (name, age, college) along with demographic data (business, title, tenure, geography etc...) and content as data. Your email marketing strategy requires that one of your data attributes has got to be 'the story'.
You see each combination of data attributes requires a unique piece of content. You can't send a 34 year old recently divorced woman with an advanced engineering degree an story about how a recently relocated happy family father has more time with his kids.
The other thing to consider is that every email interaction creates even more data. All that new data requires even more relevant content. If you have the perfect "happy father with more time" story and he engaged: what's next? Where is that 'happy father" in your funnel? You need perhaps dozens of content elements just for him.
My point here is that (as the post is titled) content is data. If you have a numeric goal for any of your other data (email addresses) you better have a corresponding goal around content. In my young friend's case, we left with a goal of 5000 email addresses along with corresponding data. Including 500 content attributes.
That's a whole lot different than the thinking around a few blog posts here and there.