By Mariama Holman
Krista LaRiviere is a visionary, serial entrepreneur and analytics mastermind who has plenty to share on the subject of finding and seizing new business opportunities in the marketing analytics realm.
She has been in the digital marketing space since 1998 – developing a strong understanding of what it means to be a marketing tactician, strategist and CMO through practical experience.
As the co-founder and CEO of gShift, a Canadian content marketing and performance metrics company for brands and ad agencies, she wears many hats on a daily basis.
We thought she would be perfect for an interview with PA.O. So, we reached out and scheduled a chat.
PA.O: What triggered your interest in starting a business in digital marketing?
Krista LaRiviere: Firstly, having a pretty strong understanding of the day-to-day life of digital marketers – from what they need and want on the tactician level all the way to the CMO who wants to see if their investments are actually paying off for their organization. This is my third business in the digital marketing arena.
I founded gShift because in my prior companies, I saw that there was an issue with the content management system used by digital marketers and agencies to power websites and content on those websites. Most search engine-friendly customer and industry acclaimed sites and content powered by a tool called Hot Banana Software, my last company, performed much better in their SEO efforts than not. These sites had a huge advantage in being discovered by Google and placed in top listings.
I saw that we needed to be more deliberate in how we architect software. Between the people who are attempting to find products and services and the machine, most important, really, is the machine. Search engine crawlers need to see that a website is indexed properly in the databases for it to be ranked correctly and discovered.
Our DNA is SEO. We have to have content discovered in the search engines to reach our audience.
I wanted to find the challenges in the digital advertising industry after being in it for so long. Where could I be creative? Where were the challenges for digital marketers in 2008-2009?
Email marketing was checked off the list. There was not a lot of innovation to be done in that space, or CRM.
However, there was and still is a lot of innovation required in SEO and content marketing.
PA.O: How are marketers using data to improve their analytics?
“Tactical marketers need to make informed decisions. The way they can do that is through data.”
We have all types of data on a web presence as it relates to SEO and social media. Marketers are using software platforms and the data in these platforms to understand where the opportunities are. Data helps us understand how to optimize existing content. What is ranking well for certain keywords? Who are the competitors? What are they doing? With the right data and a little bit of optimization you can move from page 2 to the top of page 1.
“CMOs don’t necessarily care to see what data you used to make the decisions. Honestly, they don’t care. They want answers. They want progress.”
How has my web presence been enhanced month over month?
Have we had a lead lift?
Do we have higher quality leads?
What content is producing those leads?
They want to know that these leads and efforts are being brought closer to closure in the sales funnel.
PA.O: Marketing is becoming increasingly analytics driven – what exactly does this mean to you from a content stand point?
Krista LaRiviere: Don’t make more content, make smarter content. Have the right data to make a decision about what content to create. As keywords progress down the sales funnel, searches become more longtail. Your content should map to different levels of keywords and questions consumers ask in your sales funnel.
PA.O: How do you measure engagement?
Krista LaRiviere: I always want to answer this question first – how much content do I have and is there enough for each part of the sales funnel? People are not aware of the content gaps in their sales funnel. They often have content at the top of the funnel, but not at the middle or later stages. Don’t even talk about engagement until you have that figured out first.
Read part 2 of the interview, here.