We’re in Scottsdale, Arizona for the Content to Conversion Conference. People are buzzing with the latest tips and trends in the content universe, and catching some rays between sessions. Not to mention The Fairmont Princess Scottsdale might be a slice of paradise. I’m hoping to sneak to the pool for a bit tomorrow… Maybe grab a piña colada at some point?
One big trend at this conference is creating content in real time, so in honor of that, I write to you from a corner of beautiful Scottsdale mid-conference to give you the scoop. Here are 5 lessons and key takeaways for me so far:
1. Do it Like the Grateful Dead and Free Your Content
David Meerman Scott, Author of “The New Rules and Realities of Sales and Marketing” is a major Dead Head. He pointed to the Grateful Dead’s ability to attract new and dedicated followers by allowing people to stream their music for free, and encouraged marketers to do the same. This echoed throughout the rest of the day’s sessions.
There was a wide range of the “free your marketing” statement. Sean Crowley, Director of Product and Customer Marketing at D&Bprospex suggested limiting form fields, while Director of Marketing at Dell, Ana Villegas, suggested going free all the way. She followed that with something along the lines of “if you’re constantly throwing forms at people, while they’re trying to educate themselves, they’re going to quickly tire of your brand.”
Reflecting back on David’s session, (which was a total riot) I thought he had a creative solution to this dilemma of free and un-gated content. We want users to check out our content and we want them to learn from us, but we also want to measure their engagement and put them in our sales pipeline if the time is right!
He called his solution the Hybrid Model. He suggests a model whereby you give the user free content, and follow up with a secondary offer at the end of the initial content piece. So say someone reads a whitepaper. At the end of that white paper, you offer her a chance to sign up for a related webinar. Now you have their information. I think this could be great for top of funnel (TOFU) content. If a user is reading TOFU content, it’s highly unlikely that he is ready to be in your sales cycle, but with this model, you can capture his information and move him through the funnel.
Key Takeaway: consider limiting your gating practices on your content, and think of creative ways to capture user data without forms.
2. “B2B Does Not Mean Be Too Boring”
This is a quote again from my friend David Meerman Scott. He makes an excellent point that had a ripple effect into the sessions I attended. These “business” you are marketing and selling to, these are people, and they want to be marketed to like people. The goal here is to be human, avoid buzzwords, and try to help your prospects enjoy themselves while seeking new information about how to better their craft.
Interactive platforms like Ceros, or video platforms like Vidyard can go a long way with this. But as VP of Marketing at Uberflip, Hana Abaza points out, it’s not just your content that has to be engaging, but also where that content lives. Abaza talked about your resource center being a place where your content goes to die. Think about it, you spend all this time and resources creating and distributing your content, why would you house it somewhere that is very difficult to navigate and a pain to interact with?
We, at EverString couldn’t agree more with all of this. We are actively creating interactive and video content, while always looking for ways to improve our resource center.
Key Takeaway: Be human and humanize your content!
3. Create Targeted Content
This is no new concept. What I think is new, are the two levels at which people segment. Throughout the sessions, presenters talked about getting targeted around accounts and buyer personas.
There was a lot of buzz around creating content specifically for accounts and industries also known as Account Based Marketing. People suggested doing this at multiple levels from creating industry based content to creating highly targeted content for specific accounts.
In Andrew Getty’s (Publisher & Editorial Director of Demand Gen Report) opening remarks, he sited a stat that said that 58% of buyers want their content to be highly targeted to their industry. Whether it’s an industry specific ebook, or a banner on your website that changes in response to a cookie, buyers expect their experience to be relevant.
Others like Hana Abaza from Uberflip took a question about how to optimize the resource center for specific accounts, which is a great way to be relevant without creating wholly new content. Ana Villegas from Dell emphasized the importance of being as relevant as possible with content to ensure that the little time that prospects do have to learn, is time spent reading your content, not your competitors.
Most presenters thought about content first from an account level, and then down to buyer personas. Rachel Young, Research Director at Sirius Decisions, discussed the importance of understanding each of the decision makers in a buying process before going to create one-off pieces of content on a new product or pain point. Learning about your buyer personas should be an ongoing process. We are seeing more and more decision makers involved in a buying cycle as time goes on. Make sure you check in regularly within your organization to be sure you are addressing all of the decision makers relevant to your buying cycle with your content.
Key Takeaway: Take the time to understand your accounts and the decision makers within them before creating content.
Today is the last day of the event and I’m looking forward to more lessons and takeaways. Be sure to check out EverString at Booth 29 to learn more about who we are and what we do!