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RStudio makes an open-source development environment for data scientists. Website traffic and download volume are in the millions, consisting mostly of passionate open-source users who are just looking to download the product.
Robert Bethell, Manager of Demand Generation and Marketing Operations, explains, “Our website messaging catered exclusively to our open-source users. That said, a portion of people who visit the website are interested in our professional, paid solutions. They are usually professional data scientists or data science leaders within a few core industries, such as life sciences or financial services.”
For Robert, the challenge became: how do you build a website experience that speaks relevantly to these core industries while maintaining the open-source identity 95% of RStudio’s website traffic had come to expect?
On top of that, Robert knew he would need to build out highly relevant content to resonate with data science leaders from the complex life sciences and financial services industries. As a marketer, he was far from an expert on the regulations, pain points, and use cases that would make an impact.
Fortunately, the sales team at RStudio was already verticalized, with most of its customer success managers being ex-practitioners and industry leaders. Robert recognized there was a missed opportunity to collaborate with these experts, and he set out to change that.
Robert’s hypothesis was that leveraging the knowledge of RStudio’s industry experts would enable the marketing team to create credible, industry-specific stories and content experiences that its prospects and customers would find truly valuable.
“Instead of leading with the product-centric content that RStudio’s open-source users love, we should be leading with industry-specific content that shows we understand the challenges and triumphs of industry practitioners. Stories that honor great data science and great data scientists will resonate better and convert more than content that just explains how great our product is.”
While RStudio had an idea of who their ideal customer profile was, they needed to validate it with data analysis to make sure they were focusing on the right audiences. They leveraged their own product to analyze which industries provided the most opportunity for their professional product. This let them know where to start with their new content strategy: life sciences, insurance, and financial services.
Robert was lucky. He already had a wealth of in-house knowledge on his sales and customer success teams he could draw from. For companies that don’t have this, he suggests hiring people with domain expertise rather than trying to teach marketers and salespeople to become industry experts.
“The likelihood that someone on your marketing or sales team is going to become a subject-matter expert within the time period you need is very low. Invest the resources, whatever salary it requires, to get a subject-matter expert onboard that is willing and capable of doing things in a marketing or sales capacity.”
Of course, those kinds of hiring decisions require the right champions, as do any reallocations of resources you already have. In Robert’s case, RStudio’s Head of Marketing made the case that collaborating on marketing materials was a good allocation of their in-house experts’ time and efforts.
To understand what content to focus on, interview your SMEs to find out the biggest industry pain points and challenges.
Next, research the market to understand the types of content that will make the biggest impact. More likely than not, it isn’t the long technical documents your SMEs are used to producing.
“That's where your marketing and sales expertise comes in. You need to level with your subject-matter expert and say ‘This is the type of content that works in 2021.’ And instead of getting a hundred eyeballs on your 10-page technical document, wouldn't you love to get thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands on a short-form video series?”
From there, it’s all about building out content that leans heavily into your SME's knowledge, in formats that will make the biggest bang.
Here is an example of a piece of content Robert built with the help of an expert from his team that previously worked in the life sciences sector:
Robert calls this one of the most important steps: “If you have content and nobody sees it, you may as well have not created the content.”
As always, budget plays its part. Paid channels like LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram ads are incredibly effective. But you can also get bang for fewer bucks by building up and reaching out to a network of influential voices on LinkedIn and other channels too. But neither is going to get far without the right content.
“Digital advertising works really well for us now that we’re targeting the right audience with content that is unique compared to what everyone else is advertising.”
Speaking to prospects with industry-specific language in ad and email assets wasn’t enough. To be really effective, Robert knew he needed to tie his content strategy into his website as well.
Since he knew he needed his website to serve several industries at once, he decided to use Mutiny to dynamically personalize web pages based on a visitor’s industry. Here are some examples of how Robert personalized for life sciences and financial services:
Finally, consider both your quantitative and qualitative feedback and analyze what people are saying about your content. Are they coming back or staying longer? Are they asking for more? Use that to determine your next steps.
Experiment with new content types and distribution methods. When you figure out what works for you, replicate your winning strategies with other industries.
Robert put the impact very simply: “By every measure the program was a success.”
The new content strategy has improved revenue and reputation across all channels, with website personalization alone generating up to 245% lifts in CVR.
Overall, the strategy has resulted in more calls booked and more revenue within RStudio’s core industry segments.
Learn from Grace Kleaveland Kupczak at 6sense how to personalize your landing pages by industry, strategies for writing relevant content for your core verticals, and the importance of moving fast while experimenting.