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Conductor’s Content Mapping Charts Consumers’ Shopping Personas

In this update of the web presence management company’s product line, brands can identify gaps in where and what their audience is looking for.

Conductor’s Seth Dotterer
Conductor’s Seth Dotterer

Content Mapping is the latest offering in Conductor’s “master plan” to challenge traditional forms of paid media by helping marketers locate and match the kind of information a consumer wants to see.

“For a long time, marketers have been unable to truly think about the value of early stage content in a clear way,” said Seth Dotterer, Conductor’s VP of marketing. “So Content Mapping is about constructing distinct customer personas in order to pave the buyer’s journey. This product allows them see what sort of content people are looking for from a marketer and whether the brand is providing it or not.”

The point of Content Mapping, and Conductor’s Searchlight product in general, is to figure out what online marketing offerings will get consumers into a store. Content Mapping is unlikely to obliterate “paid media” models by itself. But the idea represents a big step in moving attribution away from focusing on the “last click” in determining the factors that drove a consumer to complete a purchase, particularly in the offline retail space.

“This is all about getting marketers to think about, ‘What kind of content can present to someone early on in the purchase cycle that might capture their attention, even before they embark on searching for information about a specific product or service,” Dotterer said in a conversation at Conductor’s C3 conference in New York last week.

The Content Connection

For retailers who want to strengthen their connection to consumers, measuring whether a person clicked on a banner ad doesn’t tell them much. For example, branding is a natural part of attracting consumers over the long term, but it’s also hard to measure within the context of a digital campaign. Search ads, on the other hand, provide a straight line between consumers and places they want to shop at. But that performance only helps after a consumer has made their decision.

It’s hard to say whether dividing consumers into a few marketing boxes and matching it along lines of content will move the needle for marketers. But as Dotterer noted, brands know their customers and they know the situations that are more likely connect with the uses for certain items or services.

In setting up Content Mapping, the categories of consumers and the content that appeals to them are organized within a hypothetical group of characters. For example, there can be “Stacey the Student” or “Christine the Chef” or “Susan the Technophile,” Dotterer said.

Think of the kinds of shoppers at Bed Bath & Beyond,” Dotterer said. “The chef wants to know about recipes that she can show off for her neighbors, and there’s product info about the newest gadget for the early tech adopter. In another part of the store, there’s the student preparing to go back to school and needs to outfit her dorm room. Bed Bath & Beyond sells tens of thousands of products. By organizing content according to separate personas, they can track what’s working and build that relationship in a way that provides the brand with greater clarity and saves them additional time and effort to chase customers across the web.”

Curating Consumers’ Long-Tail Looks

The fracturing of the media landscape the last few years has allowed traditional publishers like Gannett, Meredith Corp, Condé Nast, and others to use their ad sales acumen to build “integrated marketing units” that allow them to function as in-house ad agencies. Similarly, most brands these days typically produce microsites that serve as private media channels offering online video and branded content.

As those lines have blurred, marketers have begun to take their content creation roles more seriously — and by that, they want metrics to know what’s resonating and what’s not.

Conductor’s Content Mapping solution is intended primarily as an analytics tool, not an automated editor or video director. Still, it does provide a mix of automated tools and hands-on manual direction for targeting content precisely.

“Brands can easily curate content segments, either by tagging everything on their site or creating a directory structure that consumers can browse through,” Dotterer said. “It’s about attracting the right traffic at the right times. Ultimately, rather than saying, ‘Is traffic the end all, be all?’ For lots of companies, early stage content isn’t going to leave you a sale on the first visit. This is a mechanism that answers, “Well, how do we know this led to a sale?”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.