The Data, The Context, The Insight; Transform Information to Intelligence

When working at an agency, there always seems to be different types of reporting. When I worked at an agency for large technology company, I lived by the motto, “prove your worth.” This continues to be my motto as I’ve moved to in-house marketing gigs. As I have tried to continually show my value, I found that there are often three parts to reporting that make it valuable to the boss: the data, the context and the insight.

The Data and the Context

The data is much like the foundation of the report. And just like the foundation of a home, it’s probably the least sexy component, but also a necessity.

Raw data by itself can often find it difficult to provide proper information. For example, if I were to tell you that a website had 2000 visits last month, what would that mean? Is that good? Is it bad?

Context to information is required when reporting to almost anyone. The easiest way to bring context is often by comparison. By comparing these 2000 site to a different time period, you’ll have context of whether the site has improved or declined in visits.

This graphic by Hugh MacLeod captures the relationship between data and context perfectly. Data by itself is just information, context with that information provides knowledge.

Used with permission from gapingvoid llc

Used with permission from gapingvoid llc

Comparisons, segmentations, and visualization are the most common ways to provide that context to the raw data. Infographics could be considered king of context by the way they create comparisons and visualize the information. What will separate a great infographic from a poor graphic is by how quickly the context of the data can be understood.

The Insight

The third piece to the report is the most important of the report. Insight within the report is what makes the data, and the context relevant to that whom you are sharing the report. If data is information, context provides knowledge, then insight is the intelligence of the reports. The important thing to understand at this point is that the insight will vary depending on whom the report is for.

create-insight reporting

A data analyst, coordinator or technology specialist will often times have direct access to the raw data within a business unit or marketing team. Because these people are dealing with the raw data often and have complete access to the information, the need for insight when dealing with this group is minimal, because they can see impact from the numbers.

However as you move up the command chain, access to the raw data is not as accessible. The attention of managers and executive are spread wider as their responsibilities spread wider. The need for insight within the report increases dramatically. So knowing who you need to report to depends on the insight and the amount of insight is required with the data. And the person that needs to provide the insight is the person who is closest to the data.

What Does Good Insight Look Like?

Insight might be one of the main buzzwords you hear in 2015. But what is insight? In the context of reporting, it is your ability to clearly perceive information, understand the significance of an event or action, and then be able to articulate what that significance means in relations to business goals and objectives.

At Right Intel, we focus a lot on the insight bubble that is available on any piece of intel brought into our knowledge dashboard. We work a lot with companies on training them how to use that insight bubble to share true insight. There are typically three rules of thumb that we try to have them promote within the insight bubble.

  1. Make it Relevant

    Your insight is the perfect opportunity to make data, information, and content relevant to your intended audience. This is your chance to answer the question, ”So what?”

  2. Provide the Action Items

    What is the next step? What adjustments need to be made? Or what should we do now? This is your opportunity to tell the executive team that they have the right person doing the right job.

  3. Detail the Impact on Business

    By doing the action Items, or by comparing to historical events, can you predict the impact that this information has on your business?

Deliver your Insight

Your insight can only provide value if people are seeing it. Delivering the insight within your report is extremely important. The American Marketing Association put out their new Analytics in Action survey last month. In that survey, they asked who had access to insights and information, and the method in which they were delivered. Their finds showed that PowerPoint, Email, and dashboards are the most popular way to deliver the insight.


Shameless Plug: Evaluate how your company is currently delivering reports and insight throughout the organization. Right Intel offers a solution to help deliver your insight to targeted teams.

Real Value

Quoting from the great Avinash, “If 50% of your dashboard is just words in English, that is fantastic. Your value will not come from being the deliverer of data. It will come from being a knowledgeable person about what to do with the data, what actions to take.”

Data and context may seem like obvious pieces to a report, and when I was young and at an agency, that would be where I focused most of my attention. However, over the years, I’ve learned the value of insight within the reports created is how you live up to the motto “prove my worth.”

Monitoring the Competition for Content Ideas

In the internet age we live in, monitoring the competition has never been easier. What used to be an undertaking more akin to international espionage can now be as simple as clicking the “follow” button.

Doing competitive analysis

But, this is a two-way street. It’s just as easy for your competition to keep tabs on your business as it is for you to keep tabs on them. So, how can you use the tools at your disposal to monitor better than your competition?

To monitor better than your competition, you need to have a concrete goal, a reason for monitoring in the first place. While monitoring can be used for many reasons, today we’ll focus on competitive monitoring for the purpose of generating content ideas.

Competitive Research vs. Competitive Monitoring

Before we delve into the best way to use competitive monitoring to generate content ideas, we must establish the difference between competitive monitoring and research.

Competitive research is typically an event, meaning you are undertaking the research for a specific purpose and the research has a defined end-point. On the other hand, competitive monitoring is an ongoing process. You might perform competitive research quarterly or monthly, but you probably aren’t performing competitive research every single day. Why not? It’s time-consuming, and you have your own business to focus on. However, competitive monitoring can occur daily, as it can be as simple as checking your social media feeds.

Why to Monitor for Content Ideas

Keep in mind, monitoring your competition for content ideas does not mean copying their content in any way. You are monitoring for ideas, inspiration, and understanding.

When you’re keeping an eye on the competition’s content, you’re getting invaluable insights into what they think is important and who exactly they’re targeting. Your own understanding and perspective on your target market becomes more focused. At Right Intel, we are constantly refining our approach and position as we see how prospects react to our own and competitive content.

What to Monitor for Content Ideas

In order to effectively monitor your competition for content ideas, it’s important to know what to look at. You can start by watching your competitors’ RSS feeds and social outlets and use tools like right Intel to get more sophisticated in your monitoring. As you set up your monitoring, here are three things to look out for.

Three things to watch for when doing competitive monitoring

First, see if your competition is promoting third party content, i.e. content from sources other than their blog and owned outlets. This allows you to see who they see as trusted sources of information. Could their trusted sources be your trusted sources?

Second, monitoring social channels allows you to absorb what tone, language, and syntax your competition is using to communicate with their target. Is it similar to the language you use? Does it gain a better, worse, or same response from the audience as the tone you utilize in your posts? With Right Intel being a SaaS offering, we watch to see if competitors pitch themselves to be a tool, platform, software, or engine.

Third, by monitoring social channels, you are given an immediate assessment of the success of the post in question. Keeping an eye on social triggers, like comments, likes, and other social activity taking place on the post, means you’re able to see what content is resonating better with customers. In a way, you can let competitors do some A/B testing for you.

What to Do With Gleaned Ideas

The content you create based on the knowledge you glean from the competition is only limited to your imagination. Some options for content are:

  • Response to their position
  • Expanded insight
  • Rebuttal
  • Round-up post featuring competitors’ curated content

Gain perspective by watching competitors.

The type of content you create will vary depending on what inspired you in the first place. It may not even be directly related to the initial inspiration; maybe the competition created an awesome infographic that led you to have a light bulb go off in your head about a white paper you could create.

Monitoring the competition for content ideas does so much more for your company and brand than just create a source of inspiration. It allows you to more effectively take control of your target marketing with content that resonates with them.

Turning Content Curation Into Thought Leadership

Most companies, and specific figureheads inside a company, have the goal to be industry thought leaders. But how can you achieve thought leadership when using content creation? Some people would argue that thought leadership and content curation are incompatible.

While curation isn’t actually a word, the concept is a derivative of the word curator, or the person in charge of the collection at a museum. As a museum curator, their responsibilities include gathering pieces of art that are high quality and relevant to the museum’s collecting strategy. This is very similar to what thought leaders do with content curation. They gather and organize high-quality content that relates to their target audience, add their unique insights and put it on display for their target audience.

What Should You Curate?

There are two types of content that I recommend you curate: moments of inspiration and empathetic content.

In order to convert your customer or a potential customer, you have to create a moment of inspiration for them with your content at the beginning of the customer journey. One adage that I often use to convey a moment of inspiration comes from the quote by Ted Levitte, “Customers don’t want to buy a quarter inch drill bit, they want a quarter inch hole.”

The moment of inspiration comes by providing the idea of why someone would want a quarter inch hole in the first place. Be it a curtain rod, a book shelf or some other DIY project around the house, these projects can inspire people to drill the holes, and buy the necessary drill bit. This concept is what makes Pinterest one of the top traffic refers on the web.

The other element your curated content must have is empathy. According to Geoffry James of Inc Magazine, there are three levels of empathy in business: on-demand, solution, and transcendent.


When you have empathy, you understand your customers’ pains so you know what information they desire. Giving them that desired content helps you create a better, deeper connection with them. Google VP of Global Marketing has shared the mantra, “If we don’t make you cry, we fail.” This emotional response in content often can be the driving force in moving a prospect to act as a buyer.

Hierarchy of Content Marketing Needs

I’ve shared this hierarchy of content marketing needs in the past. But I want to bring it up again. As you are collecting curated content to “put on display,” thought leadership begins to show itself as you become more sophisticated in your usage of curated content.

CM Hierarchy Complete

When you are toward the top of this hierarchy, which is where you most likely want to be, the curated content is used to add supporting context to your ideas. An extreme example of this concept can be found in the index or appendices of a textbook or non-fiction book. Oftentimes the studies quoted in those books are used to support the authors’ main ideas. You achieve thought leadership by showing you are current in the industry; by using others’ work while making your own claims.

When you curate moments of inspiration and empathetic pieces in the museum that is your business, you become a trusted and frequented source of information. More importantly, you attract an audience that trusts your opinion about the information you provide.

Below is the slide deck I shared at Utah Business Content Marketing Bootcamp on October 28th. If you would like to learn more about how to perfect your curation process feel free to give us a call.

Empathy Sells

How well do we know our customer’s pain? Their joy? Are we tapping into their emotions? Marketers who do sell more.


Infusing empathy into creative work starts with marketers committedly exercising it – the imaginative effort of extending ourselves into the emotions behind consumer attitudes and behaviors, and translating those emotions into the work. The content above tightens our chests because it taps into some insightful truth about the experience of a group of people. Uncovering those truths requires that marketers first investigate and share in consumers’ perspectives.

Read more from the source: Co.Create

3 Ways To Avoid Information Overload

Here is how we at Right Intel use our Performance Framework.


The only rule here is that you work with your team to come up with one top-level objective. Something for everybody to rally behind.

Here’s an example of a good objective: “Double revenue in 2014.” I like this objective because it’s short and clear.

Here’s an example of a bad objective: “Increase sales with our Fortune 500 clients and increase customer lifetime.” There are two objectives disguised as one in this case. Not good.

In the end, you want your people laser focused on one primary objective.

Read more from the source: Marketing Land

A Curation Machine Powered by AWS

Curate - Main

A Platform Created by You

At Right Intel we pride ourselves in creating a platform conceived by our own clients. A lot of the platform you use today came from ideas by you. Today we’re happy to announce 4 new features and UI designs inspired by your request. In addition to the new layout changes, we are announcing our migration to Amazon Web Services this weekend.

Powered by AWS

If SaaS platforms drove cars, Right Intel will be driving a Ferrari. Due to the growth of Right Intel over the last year, we’ve had to look hard at our hosting options. We’re excited to announce our migration to Amazon Web Services this weekend. Moving to AWS clustered environment will allow us to handle more load on the system, which should make the user experience much faster. It will also offer greater security to our platform.

To complete the migration, Right Intel will have 2 hours scheduled downtime this Saturday Evening, October 11, 2014 starting at 11PM EDT.

Announcing Four UI updates and Features

See the slideshow by clicking above and using your arrow keys to toggle.

Curation Organized

The Curate tab is seeing a major facelift. The primary focus on redesigning the curate tab was to make it easier to see what’s happening by your feed groups. Now when you go to curate from your feeds, you’ll see each group as a column
Curate - Main cropped

Because the curate tab is designed to get though your feeds quickly, you will now notice that posts will grey out as you scroll past them. This will make it easier to know what has been reviewed and what is still waiting for you to look through. If you find something you like, and need it in your knowledge dashboard, just hit the orange “Intel It” button at the top of each post.

Curate - close up
We’re also making it easier to sort though the potential intel waiting in your curate tab. You can now sort by Date, Social Activity, and the specific feed within the feed group.

Curate - partial social activity

Details and More Details

The other major update is in the details page of the intel post. Now as you enlarge the post, you’ll see the complete details, with the comments and conversation associated with the post. To simplify editing posts for sharing purposes, all Intel Leaders will now have the ability to edit the post right from the details page eliminated clicks, and simplifying the process.

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 4.49.42 PM

Classic View is still Classic

The classic view within your Intel Dashboard has been updated to take advantage of today’s wider screens. With the comments and details making their own columns, you have the ability to better see what’s being discussed by getting the full content of the details from the dashboard. With Posts containing more detail text, you’ll have the ability to expand the post and read the entire text associated with the post, making it easier to consume more from the dashboard.
new classic view

We’re excited with what we are releasing today, be we have more to work on. You requests continue to come in, and we’re hard at work on the next update. But as always if you have ideas you have not shared with us, please send them our way. Reach out to us here, or give us a call at 801-575-6000

How to Construct a Content Machine (Even If You're Not a Natural-Born Writer)

Step #4 is “Bolt on Extras.” This is where content curation lends support for your content marketing strategies. As stated in the post, “Paste raw resources and drop in links to expand your outline. Then add any other ideas to your outline as they come to you. The more structured and specific the outline you provide, the better the output you’ll get while writing.”


As a business coach, I help small businesses achieve massive growth by showing them how to turn difficult tasks into predictable systems. So I decided to develop a system for creating more quality content. And the one I came up with can scale up to put out as much content as I need.

Read more from the source: MarketingProfs

New B2B Content Marketing Research: Focus on Documenting Your Strategy

Most B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy — but only 35 percent have documented it


In last year’s survey, we asked for the first time whether marketers had a documented content marketing strategy. Forty-nine percent said “no,” which left us wondering whether a lot of those marketers did indeed have a strategy, but had just not documented it. Sure enough, we found that many do have a strategy (83 percent), but only 35 percent have documented it.

Read more from the source: Content Marketing Institute

CMOs Say 2015 Will Be Epic For Marketing (And We're All Getting Raises)

69 percent of marketers say their stature and credibility among key business decision makers has increased, and will continue to do so.


After a few years of radical shifts and rocky economics, the future is looking bright for the marketing world, according to senior marketers surveyed in the eighth annual State of Marketing report by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. If you glean nothing else from the massive survey, here’s the big takeaway: Over 80 percent of marketers are confident that they’ll meet their goals in terms of top-line revenue growth and market share in the next year. As for how…

Read more from the source:

Overcome the Misconceptions of Content Marketing

Back in April, Rand Fishkin, with is mustache of glory, did a great Whiteboard Friday piece on misconceptions in content marketing (embedded below). What he talks about gets right to the heart of content marketing problems: many people, including very large companies, approach content marketing as a strategy for people to view content and then hop over to purchase your brand’s product or service. Moz’s Whiteboard Friday goes a bit more in-depth about how to track those conversions accurately, however there are a few tips I want to discuss when creating a content marketing strategy.

When editing your content, the first thing you should ask yourself is, “Does this content add any value?” Your content should be more than just a sales pitch. It should be actual content that will benefit the customer and associate value with your company or brand if they find it on your, blog, website, or social channels.

The Content Wheel

The majority of your customers will have several touches with your company or brand before converting through content, so it’s important to add value for the customer with each piece of content. At Right Intel, we picture content creation as an ongoing wheel.


The wheel is based on a company producing relevant and valuable content and then promoting that content. With each piece produced, you begin to grow your brand introductions as great content will create more follows, leading to more brand interactions. It’s likely a customer will cycle the wheel a number of times before they come out of the wheel as a converted customer. The goal after your conversion should be advocacy in which your new customers start promoting your content as advocates. Ultimately, for the wheel to work, you need to keep your content up-to-date, relevant to your prospective customer, and, most importantly, constant in your publishing.

Content Written For the Customer Journey

The second point is to understand what content to produce. It’s crucial to have a framework in place to measure your customers’ journeys (See ideas on Performance Frameworks). To make sure that your content is producing both authority as well as getting to a point where the person consuming your content will consider converting, you need to create your content to focus on that same journey. As you increase the amount of content you push to your perspective customers you can naturally push them through a sales funnel with each touch.

“The Content Wheel” can keep your content strategy in perspective. Measuring the amount of times a customer circles the wheel will ultimately help you understand and forecast your content marketing strategy. Keep pushing valuable and consistent content to gain influence in your industry. Ultimately you will have the goal to increase customer interactions that push the customer through your sales funnel to conversion and advocacy.

Moz’s Whiteboard Friday