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What is call analytics and what does it do for marketers?

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What is call analytics and what does it do for marketers?


Call analytics software manages the inbound phone channel (including both landlines and mobile phones), handling tasks from assigning call tracking numbers to measuring, monitoring, analyzing and reporting the resulting caller data and campaign results. These platforms provide call tracking, recording, routing and attribution tools to enable these functions.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted American lives and businesses, the telephone – particularly the smartphone – had become an integral part of the consumer purchase journey. When faced with the worst public health crisis in more than a century, U.S. consumers used the telephone more than ever before.

Newer technology may get the headlines about record data usage, but the old-fashioned telephone call spiked during and after lockdowns. As the pandemic first took hold, Verizon network data showed phone calls increased by 20% as people were connecting more over the phone than in person. That percentage has remained steady with phone calls now coming in at almost 19% above pre-pandemic times. Today the duration of those calls also
remains significantly higher, with people talking almost 29% longer.

For the vast majority of customers (both consumers and business buyers), talking on the phone to a person who can answer their questions is one of their preferred ways of interacting with businesses. Phone calls provide businesses with an opportunity to offer deep in-the-funnel prospects fast answers, connections to real people and the type of detailed information that plays an important role in high-consideration purchases.

Call analytics platforms have become important tools to help marketers identify and activate the rich data hidden in the growing volume of inbound calls. Call analytics platforms track both online and offline leads, following a call from its source (i.e., website, social media and click-to-call search or display ads) to a sales representative (i.e., based on geographic location or product line and on to a conversion or lack thereof).

The ability to track calls is a core use case of call analytics technology. However, advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are driving more sophisticated applications, including the following:

  • First-party database-building: As marketers lose access to third-party cookie data, first-party data sources such as phone calls are becoming more valuable in brand efforts to build privacy-compliant customer databases. Call analytics platforms facilitate the scaled collection and analysis of caller data.
  • Customer journey attribution: Call analytics platforms provide online-to-offline attribution across media channels, helping marketers understand the role that each customer touchpoint plays in a conversion. The result is more efficient resource allocation and more relevant messaging based on customer preferences.
  • Marketing campaign optimization: Call analytics platforms connect calls to the search keywords, social display ads or webpages that drove them. Marketers can use unique phone numbers for each website visitor to understand which pages and elements are driving the highest quality calls, as well as which ones are causing visitors to leave. Call data, including demographics, product interests and buying stage, can also be used to optimize search bids or make on-the-fly changes to campaign messaging and creative.
  • Audience segmentation and targeting: Call analytics platforms record and transcribe calls, then apply AI-based models to the results to determine the characteristics of the highest-performing callers or leads. Using the data, marketers can build personas or look-alike audiences to create high-performing customer segments.
  • Personalized, intelligent lead routing: Call analytics platforms use machine learning to score and route calls based on factors including call source, geography, demographics, purchase history or intent. Tools such as whisper messages arm sales reps with known customer information that personalizes the caller experience.
  • Sales rep coaching and development: Many call analytics platforms include automated sales performance and evaluation tools to provide scoring/grading systems, script optimization and real-time alerts that flag lost opportunities.
  • Integrations with chat applications and SMS messaging: Like phone calls, online chat and messaging are key channels for customers to interact with businesses, so some players are extending their experience with conversational analysis to popular messaging apps as well as site-specific chat and SMS.

Core capabilities of call analytics platforms

Most platforms offer a core set of capabilities focused on call tracking, recording, scoring, routing and fraud prevention. Dynamic number insertion (DNI) is used to enable marketers to assign unique phone numbers to different digital marketing campaigns in order to track the source of an inbound call. When a consumer clicks through to a site from an online ad, DNI technology displays the phone number that’s unique to the specific search engine, webpage, keyword or another source. Vendors offer DNI by call source, online session or URL. The ubiquity of mobile calls to businesses has led to increased demand for local numbers or extensions that are dynamically generated based upon the consumer’s location, without jeopardizing the accuracy of name-address-phone (NAP) information for SEO purposes.

Call fraud prevention is another important feature, as automated dialers, fax machines and even computer programmers can hack into carrier networks to fraudulently inflate call volumes and revenue for pay-per-call services. In response, vendors have developed proprietary call fraud detection and prevention tools that identify, monitor and block suspicious call patterns and routes.

Vendors begin to differentiate their platforms by offering more advanced capabilities, often requiring additional investment, which include – but are not limited to – the following.

Multichannel attribution

Most call analytics platforms offer some level of call tracking that enables users to attribute the source of a call back to a specific ad, keyword or webpage. By tracking inbound calls from their sources, call analytics platforms provide an important link between online and offline channels, and allow marketers to more accurately measure the ROI of their multichannel marketing campaigns. Some vendors are offering more sophisticated attribution tools that can identify call sources beyond search – including native social ads and display ads that don’t include a click-to-call button. The goal is to more effectively allocate spending across marketing channels, and establish a more accurate link between digital campaigns and offline conversions.

AI-driven speech analytics

Call analytics technology has evolved from providing basic analytics to providing “conversation intelligence” based on AI-driven algorithms that extract and predict caller intent, and measure caller tone, sentiment and emotion. AI is increasingly being applied to analyze and “spot” keywords, phrases and speech patterns for positive or negative signals of conversion intent.

These signals can also include the length of time a caller speaks versus how long the sales rep speaks. Many call analytics platforms use a variety of natural language processing (NLP) and machine-learning algorithms to automatically assess calls and score leads. The results can be used immediately to help sales reps on the call by using whisper messages heard through the rep’s headset to influence call outcomes. The data can also be used post-call to feed CRM systems and trigger nurturing campaigns.

Intelligent call scoring/routing

Machine learning-based or “intelligent” lead scoring and routing systems are now being used to optimally route a call to the rep or location most qualified to close a sale or other conversion action (i.e., make an appointment). These types of scoring and routing tools automatically qualify and distribute calls to the appropriate sales reps or departments based on variables such as caller source (i.e., website, social media, search ad), geography, demographics (i.e., age, gender, income) or intent. Some of the tools used in intelligent call scoring and routing include interactive voice response (IVR), which prequalifies callers before they are routed to a rep through a short series of automated questions, and whisper messages that alert reps to relevant caller data before they pick up the call. Calls can be tracked through the system to follow conversions and other qualifying events.

Native social analytics integration

Call analytics platform vendors are leveraging the growth in native social advertising and click-to-call to more seamlessly integrate social media and call analytics. Most vendors offer Facebook and Instagram call tracking to attribute calls back to social media ads.

Several vendors also use Facebook’s offline conversion API to integrate their call data directly into Facebook ad campaigns through the Facebook Ads Manager.

Chat and messaging integrations and analytics

Chat applications — either mainstream messengers like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, or chat functionality on websites — have become key channels for customer service and pre-sales inquiries. Additionally, many such interactions are now enabled by SMS. Some call analytics vendors incorporate connections and data gathering from these sources, to give marketers a more holistic view of customer interactions and sentiments.


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Sales rep coaching/evaluation

Several call analytics platforms are rooted in sales coaching and evaluation, and use call recording tools to maximize efficiency in the call center and among sales staffs. Today, the platforms provide machine learning-based call handling analytics tools that assess location and/or rep performance, and provide scoring/grading systems, script optimization and real-time alerts that flag lost opportunities.

Data privacy compliance

Call data privacy continues to be a priority, particularly for businesses in the healthcare and financial services markets, which must comply with HIPAA and HITECH regulations and the CCPA. U.S.-based marketers with European prospects or customers are subject to the European Union’s GDPR. Many vendors automatically redact personally identifiable information (PII) and consumer financial information from call recordings and transcripts to conform to the PCI DSS.

Martech ecosystem integration

Integrating call analytics data with martech and ad tech software systems has become essential to creating a unified view of callers, webpage and store visitors, prospects and customers. Call analytics vendors have expanded the number of built-in or native integrations available with SEO, PPC, DSP, CRM and marketing automation systems, as marketers try to create a more seamless customer experience across all touchpoints. In particular, calls play an important role in establishing the link between digital and offline channels. To that end, call analytics platform vendors continue to expand their connectivity with social media, Google and Bing, analytics tools, affiliate marketers and digital agencies. Most vendors also offer APIs to facilitate importing and exporting third-party data from external marketing and advertising systems. Access to these APIs may or may not be included in base pricing.


Explore platform capabilities from vendors like CallRail, Invoca, CallSource, DialogueTech and more in the full MarTech Intelligence Report on enterprise call analytics platforms.

Click here to download!


The benefits of using call analytics platforms

Call tracking and analytics play a vital role in bridging the gap between online and offline channels, leading to more efficient marketing resource allocation and improved sales staff effectiveness. The specific benefits of using an enterprise call analytics platform include – but are not limited to – the following:

  • Improved multichannel attribution. By using DNI to track inbound calls to their source, call analytics establish the link between inbound calls and online search, display, social or email campaigns. The data can be fed into attribution models for greater accuracy.
  • More unified customer view. Integrating call analytics data with CRM, marketing automation, tag management and other martech or ad tech systems provides the enterprise with a more complete view of each prospect and customer enabling more relevant, personalized marketing.
  • Optimized marketing campaigns. Inbound calls can be tracked to their marketing source at the keyword, session, campaign or channel levels, and followed through the conversion funnel to identify the most profitable sources. Campaigns can then be optimized to focus on the messages and sources that attract the highest quality calls.
  • Smarter marketing resource allocation. Understanding which ads, keywords and web pages drive the most profitable calls leads to more informed marketing and media spend decisions.
  • Increased sales staff productivity. Tools such as IVR and intelligent call routing send high-value leads to the right agents or locations to close sales more efficiently. Call analytics can also reveal inefficiencies that, when improved, can boost key metrics such as lost opportunities.
  • Better sales performance. Call analytics platforms record and analyze inbound calls to identify which agents and sales techniques close the most sales. Training can be provided to improve results, where necessary. Whisper messages help agents customize their approaches based on known customer information during calls.

About The Author

Pamela Parker is Research Director at Third Door Media’s Content Studio, where she produces MarTech Intelligence Reports and other in-depth content for digital marketers in conjunction with Search Engine Land and MarTech. Prior to taking on this role at TDM, she served as Content Manager, Senior Editor and Executive Features Editor. Parker is a well-respected authority on digital marketing, having reported and written on the subject since its beginning. She’s a former managing editor of ClickZ and has also worked on the business side helping independent publishers monetize their sites at Federated Media Publishing. Parker earned a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.



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State of Content Marketing in 2023

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State of Content Marketing in 2023

I just pressed send on the manuscript for my book to be released in September. It’s called Content Marketing Strategy (snappy, eh?), and Kogan Page will publish it.

Last week, marketing professor Philip Kotler wrote the foreword. I won’t spoil it, but he mentioned the need for a strategic approach to owned media.

He writes, “(T)he company doesn’t carry an account of showing these marketing assets and their value. As a result, the company cannot show the CEO and company board members a return on owned assets or content.”

Luckily, my upcoming book shows exactly how to do that. Funny how that works out.

In any event, all this struck me that now is an opportune time to look at where the beloved practice of content marketing stands today.

First, let’s go back to 1999 when Kotler published Kotler On Marketing, one of his more than 70 books. The latter 1990s – a time of tumultuous change – fueled most of the thinking for the book. But he knew that it was merely the beginning.

Kotler concluded the book with a section called “Transformational Marketing.”  In the next decade, he wrote, “marketing will be re-engineered from A to Z. Marketing will need to rethink fundamentally the processes by which they identify, communicate, and deliver customer value.”

Well, it’s taken over two decades, but it’s finally happening.

Consumers have changed, but marketing operations are just starting to

In case you didn’t notice, almost every marketing conference these days starts with the same four or five requisite slides:

  • Digital technologies, such as search and social media, empower consumers today.
  • Consumers research, engage, buy, and stay loyal to brands in ways that have fundamentally changed.
  • First-party data and privacy are of the utmost importance.
  • Artificial intelligence begins to threaten the idea of the usefulness of search and pressure companies to deliver better and more personalized experiences.

You get it. Consumer expectations in the age of the social, mobile, and AI-driven web are different than they were.

However, the continuing challenge in 2023 is that content and/or marketing operations in enterprise companies are only beginning to evolve. Most marketing departments have remained as they were when Kotler wrote his book — they still work from mid- to late-20th century hierarchies, strategies, and processes.

Most marketing departments still work with mid- to late-20th-century hierarchies, strategies, and processes, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Content marketing isn’t new, but a content marketing strategy is

For hundreds of years, businesses have used content to affect some kind of profitable outcome. But the reality is this: Whether it was John Deere’s The Furrow from the 1800s, Michelin’s guide to car maintenance in the early 1900s, or even Hasbro’s GI-Joe partnership with Marvel in the 1980s, content was not — and is not for the most part now — a scalable, repeatable practice within the function of marketing. In short, companies almost always treat content marketing as a project, not a process.

That fundamental change will finally take hold in 2023. It could happen because of the digital disruption and ease by which you can now publish and distribute content to aggregate your own audiences. It could happen through the natural evolution that the ultimate outcome – more than the marketing – matters more.

As we roll through 2023 and beyond, content — and the exponentially increasing quantities of it produced by every organization — deeply affects not just your marketing strategy, but your business strategy. Content in marketing is now bigger than simply content marketing, and it should be dealt with as a component of that business strategy throughout the enterprise.

#Content in marketing is bigger than #ContentMarketing. Treat it as a component of the business strategy, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

In 2023, the No. 1 focus of my consulting and advisory practice these days: help companies transform content into a repeatable, scalable, and measurable function that drives value through a multi-channel strategy. It’s bigger than publishing a blog, creating a lead-generating resource center, or sending an email newsletter. Today’s content marketing team is being absorbed into marketing because marketing and its various operations are fundamentally transforming into a content-producing machine.

It is not good enough to produce content “like a media company would.” The goal must be to operate as a media company does. Your job is not to change content to fit new marketing goals. Rather, your job in 2023 is to change marketing to fit the new business content goals.

Your job in 2023 is to change #marketing to fit the new business #content goals, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The unaware builds a case for the aware

The term “content marketing” continues to evolve. Even today, I run across those who still call it “brand publishing,” “custom content,” or “inbound marketing.”

My take matches with what Kotler described in 1999. I always thought the term “content marketing” would become part of “marketing” more broadly. In 2023, that happened. So, returning to the lexiconic debates of 2013, 2014, or 2015 doesn’t seem terribly productive. Content marketing is just good marketing, and marketing is just good content marketing.

That said, two kinds of companies do well at the broader view of content marketing. Some of them, such as Cleveland Clinic, Red Bull, Arrow Electronics, HubSpot, and REI, have purposely devised content marketing strategies as differentiating approaches to their marketing. They are succeeding.

Others, like Amazon, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and Peloton, backed into a smart content marketing strategy. But executives at those companies probably don’t recognize it as such. If asked (and some have been), they would say acquiring or launching a media company operation was just a smart business strategy to diversify their ability to reach their consumers consistently.

They’re right, of course. Many have yet to read books about content marketing, been influenced by the Content Marketing Institute, or even recognize content marketing as a separate approach (as far as I know). And they are also succeeding.

Consider this proof: As I write this article, six companies have a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion. Four of the six wholly or partially use the business model of media creation to further marketing and business strategies. Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon are all, in part, media companies that also sell products and services.

Why would you not avail yourself of that same model?

The future looks cloudy and bright

As for the overall state of enterprise content marketing, it’s in transition, as all marketing is. As a focused project-based approach, working in ad-hoc ways across a business, content marketing appears to have proven its worth. Hundreds of entries every year to the Content Marketing Awards feature myriad case studies using content marketing techniques in strategic ways to profitably affect business results.

And yet, it remains to be seen whether you can make content marketing a scalable, repeatable, measurable function within marketing.

As to what the discipline’s future holds? At last year’s Content Marketing World, one of my favorite events, the Executive Forum gathered senior leaders from brands succeeding with content marketing. As we talked about the future, one participant said: “The only certainty is change. I can’t tell you where or when, but I do know there will be change, and this is the principle we build on now.”

As for my take, Kotler’s idea of transforming the marketing function seems to have gotten lost along the digital road traveled by marketers. In so many cases, marketing – and especially content – remains just an on-demand service function within the business. Its sole job is to produce ever more voluminous amounts of content that describe the value of the brand (or its products or services) so that sales can sell more efficiently, customer support can serve more effectively, and all manner of customer interfaces are more beneficial to both sides.

However, and maybe because I need to rationalize now that my book is finished, I passionately believe it’s finally time for marketing to reclaim its ability to create value — not just reflect it in the polished shine of your traditional products and services.

Almost 27 years ago today, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote an essay called Content is King. In it, he said that “(C)ontent is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

It certainly was one of his more prescient moments. Nearly three decades later, his words have proven true. The essay title has become the rallying cry for thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs who now make their living on creating, managing, optimizing, and measuring content on the internet. (A Google search for “content is king” nets more than 1.7 million results.)

But it’s the last line of his essay that I find the most visionary: “(T)hose who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products – a marketplace of content.”

That’s what content marketing is for me in 2023. It’s just marketing – optimizing the value of ideas, experiences, and products in a marketplace of content.

Time to get to work.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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27 Best About Us and About Me Page Examples [+Templates]

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Your about page summarizes your history, values, and mission — all in one place. That’s a tall order for just a few paragraphs. If you’re feeling stuck, turn to these about-page examples for inspiration. 

about us page example: laptop held in palm of hand

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MarTech’s marketing operations experts to follow

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MarTech's marketing operations experts to follow

Marketing operations is what makes the magic happen. These are the folks who see that your martech stack doesn’t get stuck. They are the maestros, modelers and makers who make sure the trains run, the data is digestible and that you have the programs you need. Where would we be without them? That’s too scary to think about. Here’s our list of MOps experts who have the ear of the profession.

Darrell Alfonso

Darrell is director of marketing strategy & operations at Indeed and the former global marketing ops leader for AWS. He’s the author of “The Martech Handbook: Build a Technology Stack to Acquire and Retain Customers.” In addition to speaking at many conferences, Darrell was named one of the Top Marketers in the US by Propolis 2022 and among the “Top Martech Marketers to Follow” in 2020 by Martech Alliance. He’s a regular and popular contributor both to MarTech and the MarTech conference; you can find all of his articles at this link.


Eddie Reynolds

Eddie has been in business a long time, starting his first company when he was 14. “A pretty minimal enterprise,” he told one interviewer. “I had a tax ID number, a legal entity, and a company name. I even had the IRS coming after my dad for sales tax that I failed to report properly.” Today he is CEO and revenue operations strategy consultant of Union Square Consulting. He publishes The RevOps Weekly Newsletter and the podcast RevOps Corner. Eddie’s large LinkedIn following attests to the quality of the insights he shares there on  sales, marketing, service, and admin roles. 


Sara McNamara

Sara is an award-winning marketing and sales operations professional whose work has been recognized by awards from the likes of Salesforce (Pardot), Adobe (Marketo), Drift, and LeanData. She is a Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Slack and a martech stack (+ strategy) solution architect. That and her passion for leveraging technology and processes to improve the experiences of marketers, sales professionals, and prospects, explains why she’s a regular guest on MOps podcasts.


Ali Schwanke

Ali is the CEO and founder of Simple Strat. The firm specializes in helping companies get the most out of HubSpot — from CRM strategy and setup to marketing automation and content creation. She is also host of HubSpot Hacks, “the #1 Unofficial YouTube show for HubSpot Tutorials” and has been a guest speaker at the MarTech conference.


Mike Rizzo

Mike’s career in marketing operations showed him that there is a real and significant MOps community. That’s why he founded MO Pros/MarketingOps.com, the fast-growing online community for people in marketing operations. He is also co-host of Ops Cast, a weekly podcast. 


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About the author

Constantine von Hoffman

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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