The Trick with Content


“Watson, as we approach the end of the year, I feel the urge to reiterate a lesson,” The Effective Detective stated, looking out the window.

“Which lesson would that be sir?” I asked, hoping it would be something interesting.

“We discussed previously how the vehicle must match the audience, correct? Let us take stay along the topic of audience then and discuss content,” The Detective began, looking at me expectantly.

“What aspect of content sir? The frequency, the amount?” I prompted.

“The content itself, Watson! How content must be aimed at the appropriate audience. We all talk about how one should deliver rich content. What is not often discussed is who that rich content should delivered to,” The Detective started.

“Well, I would assume it would go to your list sir…” I interjected, puzzled.

The Detective gave me one of his sidelong looks, indicating some level of displeasure, before going off a bit. “Watson! Are you being deliberately dense? Of course to their list, but what part of their list? That is the question! We are actually talking about segmentation here. ”

“But I thought we were talking about content!” I exclaimed, now thoroughly confused.

“Segmentation is directly related to the content you send Watson,” The Detective responded, calmer now that I had gotten excited. “Our tendency is to minimize the work we have to do so we try and send out one-size fits all content. This is not so much of a problem if we have focused our list building on a single topic or product line. However, as the list grows we can find segments within that list that may respond to different offers and different information. Perhaps they are more affluent. Perhaps they are loyal customers who have a much keener interest in new product or service lines. They could be early adopters, so we can test a new line or service with them. From an information point of view our existing customers will be far more interested in being able to use our product or service in effective ways then the person who has not joined us yet. The list continues Watson,” The Detective paused, looking at me both warily and expectantly.

“I see your point now sir. Your content could be some of the best written or videoed in the world, but if it only applies to part of your audience…”

“Exactly Watson, it should, if at all possible, only go to that part of your audience. Otherwise, you are boring the rest of your list and risking having them unsubscribe, right before you send out incredibly relevant content to them,” The Detective concluded for me.

“So we not only need to worry about the delivery vehicle, but whether there are multiple segments within our audience that certain types of content might apply to as well,” I tried summarizing.

“Quite so, Watson.”

“But could we not then take that down another layer and examine the format of the content, such as e-zine, plain-text or fancy?” I asked.

“We could, but that is a topic for another day, Watson.”

“As you wish sir,” I agreed, ending today’s conversation.

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