Using content to change your proposition – The Filter case study
The Filter is a leader in the recommendation engine space. We started working with The Filter in May 2014, setting up and kickstarting an inbound marketing strategy. The Filter is no stranger to innovation; as their product pivoted, so too did their content.
We caught up with CCO Neil Caddick to hear his experience of setting up an inbound marketing program
When we started working with The Filter in 2014, they provided sophisticated recommendation engines to large national and international players, predominantly in the digital media space – the likes of BT, UKTV and Panasonic. Their product was essentially an algorithm; code which plugged straight into a website and offered visitors a seamless and intelligent way to upsell and cross sell products, based on their previous activity.
Around a year into our business relationship, The Filter saw huge opportunity in the retail space where personalisation and customer journey was getting more and more sophisticated. The Filter’s existing recommendation engine was one of the best in the market, and they had worked with some retailers before – Maplin, for instance – but they were still much better known in the media space.
They began to develop a full merchandising suite specifically targeted at procurement and merchandising teams within large retailers which focused personalisation, recommendations and customer journey segmentation.
This was a new space for them, and to better better position themselves as experts, they needed their marketing communications to be saying the right things to the right people. That’s where our content strategy came in.
We knew we needed a shift in editorial focus, so the first step was to really hone in on who the audience was, what their pain points were, and the decision making process when these businesses were looking to change suppliers. Working with The Filter and interviewing their existing retail clients, we were able to build up a detailed customer persona specific to the new retailed-focused target audience.
From there we were able to build out a content strategy highly targeted to the audience. The Filter had a highly technical product, but our research showed that the audience was more interested in the results and the tech trends in the space. Using that info, we set up a series of explainer pieces which detailed exactly how The Filter’s solution worked in layman’s terms. We also turned these mini guides into larger pieces of downloadable content – a whitepaper lead magnet which visitors had to give up some info to access.
Added to that, we began producing some tech trends pieces, looking at the changing face of retail, taking in everything from omnichannel to AI to VR. This augmented their standing as a technology company that ‘got’ retail, and understood the ecosystem, challenges and evolutions in the industry.
As COO Neil Caddick explains: “We had to build a new profile for ourselves in retail. Saying interesting things about our space was equally important as a new website. We needed a strategy, great content and an authoritative voice; that’s what Future Content offered us.”
The strategy included four articles for a month; a blend of news items, thought leadership pieces and explainers. This gave them blog content at all stages of the sales funnel, from awareness pieces for them to share on social media, to deep dives that would drive leads and help convert sales. Distribution-wise, there was a heavy focus on developing their newsletter and building their subscriber list through the ebook.
As Neil says: “Future Content really defined our inbound strategy for us. We, of course, provided the technical insight, but they helped us think about the different types of content we should produce, and how to use them. The whitepapers we made available for download, but they also urged us to distribute to prospects as we talk to people. And the blog has been an effective inbound tool; driving quality traffic to the website i.e. people who are spending time on the site and looking at multiple pages; engaging with our brand.”
The work we’ve done with The Filter has positioned them as a retail technology brand where once they were seen as simply digital media.
“In terms of what we’re offering, you’ve certainly helped us find our voice and understand how to use content, and importantly what content would be right for us at different stages of the journey,” says Neil. “We were never going to have a big content piece in those early stages, because we hadn’t really worked out where we fitted in the wider market. But having put those bigger content pieces together and begun to explore the space by writing about it, we started to find ouR voice and realise what content worked and what got us leads.”
And the new content push helped generate numerous leads from the site. The Filter saw a 15% uptick in whitepaper downloads and requests for demos. And as a leave behind for prospective prospects, the whitepaper directly contributed to The Filter converting a huge retail client in Liberty.
And finally, the editorial process has sales value beyond content itself.
Neil says: “When you write about your own space, it gives you confidence when you go out on the road and talk about your product. You understand your own space better because you’ve been writing about it – building up your industry knowledge.
“If someone mentions something in a meeting, we have that back catalogue of content that you can fall back on. “Oh,we’ve written a piece about that on our blog.” It gives a non salesy way to follow up with prospects after an initial meeting or a pitch. The lead in time for a prospect to become a customer is huge for us. Our content gives us a reason to stay in touch.
“Added to that, you’ve really encouraged us to get involved in the content creation process. We know our space now and we’re much better at talking about it, thanks to your editorial process. There’s nothing better than writing about something to really get it out of your head.”
So would Neil recommend Future Content to others?
“Absolutely. They work collaboratively, they genuinely care about the business and, more importantly, they deliver results. It’s been a great experience from start to finish.”
“Future Content really encouraged us to get involved in the content creation process. We know our space now and we’re much better at talking about it, thanks to your editorial process. There’s nothing better than writing about something to really get it out of your head.
“They work collaboratively, genuinely care about the business and, more importantly, they deliver results. It’s been a great experience from start to finish.”