Creative Lessons From 2016 B2B Killer Content Award Winners


 "B2B doesn't have to be boring!"

That was one of many great takeaways provided by David Meerman Scott during the keynote session at last week’s Content2Conversion Conference. The noted author of New Rules of Marketing & PR shared that many B2B organizations are still thinking of content marketing purely as white papers and spec sheets.

However, more than 40 sessions during the event revealed that B2B brands are quickly stepping up their creativity with more visually focused pieces and interactive formats that work well across all screen sizes.

To highlight some of the most innovative examples in B2B marketing, we recently partnered with the team at Ceros on an interactive content piece examining “Lessons From The Killer Content Depths.” Using Ceros’ platform to create a rich, engaging asset, the piece profiles six top brands that are helping to rewrite the rules of B2B engagement.  

The piece provides “deep dives” with visually compelling links on how themes were created and the payoffs realized from campaigns that extends far beyond the traditional white paper formula.

Here is a snapshot of some of the award-winning brands you’ll learn more about in the piece:

American Express — See how the leader in business travel used exclusive survey data across a variety of formats, including infographics, “listicles” and E-books.

Blackbaud — Tap into the interactive journey the company created with a menu of calculators, quizzes and videos to highlight an expanded educational effort for its clients.

Cox Media — Uncover a new approach to planning by checking out the “advent” calendar-style asset the company created, which revealed a new asset every week.

Dell — Learn how the tech giant re-wrote the rules of lead nurture programs by aligning more than 1,200 content assets to specific stages of the buying cycle.

LinkedIn — Connect with how the social leader used influential authors Brian Solis and cartoonist Hugh MacLeod to illustrate the key message that content is currency.

NASDAQ — Experience the interactive format NASDAQ used to relate its rich history and innovation, which was later featured on mobile screens as well as the video tower in New York’s Times Square.

The Killer Content Depths” is not only a great way to learn more about the creative approach B2B brands are taking, but it will also give you a first-hand opportunity to experience the Ceros platform. As active participants in the publishing and custom content space, we have quickly become big fans of Ceros, because it allows our team to create interactive infographics, dynamic E-books and rich iPaper experiences, all without requiring coding.

Check out the piece and let us know what you think.

  • Published in Blog

It’s Time to Break Down the Gate


Editor’s note: As part of a special arrangement, the article below has been syndicated from the Content4Demand blog.

G3 Communications has been publishing Demand Gen Report for more than eight years, and from the first day there has always been debate about whether or not marketers should require buyers to fill out a form in order to access content.

This discussion was raised again during David Meerman Scott’s keynote presentation at last month’s Content2Conversion Conference in Arizona. To highlight the bigger potential impact of openly sharing content, the New Rules of Marketing & PR author pointed to none other than The Grateful Dead.

While most musical acts strictly prohibit their audience from recording live shows, Scott pointed out that “The Dead” has always allowed and even encouraged fans to record shows and share them with other Dead Heads. He argued that openly sharing recordings of their shows has helped the band create a thriving and loyal community that has flocked to their shows over the past 5 decades.

This example may seem like a stretch for a marketing executive on the hook for driving leads. For marketers, content offers are the currency that drives their campaigns, so making assets available without filling out a single field sounds ridiculous.

But Scott did share real-world B2B examples where removing the gate is having significant payoffs, such as MailerMailer, which saw 20x to 50x more downloads once it stopped gating its content.

Scott’s theory is also supported by several data points that came out of our 2016 Content Preferences Study, including:

  • 93% of buyers recommend that brands make content easier to access by using shorter forms.
  • Content is increasingly becoming viral, with 85% of respondents saying they share content via LinkedIn occasionally or frequently; and 78% say they get more of their content through social networks or peer recommendations.
  • A whopping 82% of respondents say they access business-related content on smartphones, and 56% saying they do the same on tablets. But the fact is that mobile devices aren’t ideal screens for filling out forms and downloading content for later viewing.

These new realities present a compelling case that encourages marketers to think through the traditional exchange that takes place between a brand and a prospective buyer. Marketers are increasingly accountable to show results and gather intelligence on their buyers, but they need to find new tools and platforms to gather these insights. The reality is they need to become less dependent on landing pages that require buyers to fill out 10 fields of information to access an asset.

As we established earlier, content is currency and there should be some value placed on the assets brands are creating, especially high-value assets that include proprietary research or original data. In fact, the 2016 Preferences Study validated that buyers expect and are willing to fill out forms in order to access high-value content. Here are some specific variances where executives are willing to pass through a “gate”:

  • 79% said they are willing to register for a white paper;
  • 77% for webinars;
  • 63% will register for E-books; and
  • 51% will register for case studies.

Conversely, while interactive content is growing in popularity, the expectation is that these assets should be ungated, with only 31% expecting to register for ROI calculators, 37% for infographics and 23% for videos and motion graphics.

The solution for dealing with this perfect storm for many B2B marketers is a hybrid approach, where high-value assets such as E-books and white papers remain gated, while short-form derivative pieces are immediately available to access and share.

We encourage you to access a copy of the Content Preferences Study, and see how it can help your strategy about whether to gate or ungate specific assets. After you look through the research, we want to hear from you: Has your business taken a new approach to content gating? Are you considering taking a different approach? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

  • Published in Blog

New Technology Led To The ABM Boom In B2B

During a video interview at the 2016 B2B Content2Conversion Conference, Televerde’s Ray Kemper highlighted how attendees were looking to learn more about account-based marketing (ABM) and how to get the most out of their marketing technology investments. Newer technology allows marketers to implement ABM more easily and efficiently, so these ABM newcomers aimed to learn more about the potential they had with their technology and their ABM efforts.

  • Published in DGR TV

Content Goes From “Boring-To-Boring” To “Brilliant-To-Brilliant”

During a video interview at the 2016 B2B Content2Conversion Conference, SnapApp’s Vanessa Porter highlighted how creating personalized experiences with prospective buyers was a key theme discussed at the event. Porter noted how having a firm grasp on buyers’ needs and leveraging that information when producing content can help B2B marketers create content that resonates within target audiences.

  • Published in DGR TV

Full-Funnel Analytics Key To Boost Marketing Efforts

During a video interview at the 2016 B2B Content2Conversion Conference, Captora’s Paul Albright noted that full-funnel analytics was a key talking point for many of the attendees at the event looking to leverage that insight and enhance their marketing initiatives. Albright also discussed the importance of the tools at marketers’ disposal, and making sure that these tools are integrated and aligned effectively to maximize the user’s productivity and effectiveness.

  • Published in DGR TV

Atmel’s Sander Arts, Extole’s Jen Gray Reveal ABM Journeys At C2C16

A 2015 study from SiriusDecisions found that 90% of marketers believe account-based marketing (ABM) is a must-have, but only 20% have implemented the strategy within their organization. Those who are using it are seeing significant success.

During a panel at the 2016 Content2Conversion and Demand Gen Summit conference, moderated by Chris Golec, CEO of Demandbase, Atmel’s Sander Arts and Extole’s Jen Gray discussed their journeys with ABM.

Golec kicked off the session by highlighting some key points on ways to begin to implement ABM.

“The most important thing about getting started with ABM is to get started,” he said.

The approach to ABM focuses on four key categories, including:

  • Aligning sales and marketing;
  • Identifying target accounts;
  • Developing a marketing plan around target accounts; and
  • Measuring results at the account level.

“In marketing, we’re so driven to measure clicks, leads and everything about volume,” Golec said. “ABM is about the success of each account; everything from generating awareness to engaging them on your site and measuring the results.”

Changing The Business Model

For Gray, the initiation of ABM at Extole began around changing the company’s entire business model from a social media marketing platform to pure referrals.

“We needed to push our message out as much as possible, but we didn’t know our most successful customers,” she said. “A couple of years back, we evaluated our customer base, and we found that retailers, financial services and entertainment companies …are most successful with referrals right off the bat.”

Gray decided to target global 500 companies to put together the targeted account list. Her team internally was excited about implementing ABM, but it wasn’t necessarily easy.

Obstacles Faced

“I always thought that I was aligned with sales, but this was aligning on a single list of targeted accounts and showing the team all of the things I could do with that list,” she said. “It’s gotten the sales team so excited. It was difficult to get everyone on the same page and align the targeted accounts at first, but the data [ultimately] got everyone behind it.”

Sander Arts has challenges as well. He said there were a handful of veteran sales people who weren’t exactly happy about Arts talking to their customers, and that relationship needed to be massaged.

Advice On Getting Started

Gray and Arts both offered advice for companies who are looking to implement ABM.

“Account-based marketing is nothing new,” Gray said. “It’s something we’ve been doing, but haven’t talked about or gotten excited about. Your targeted account list is your gold mine; it’s the best place to start. Getting it wherever you can and using it to target those companies and tell sales when those companies are visiting your site has been the best success for us.”

Arts concluded, “My advice would be just to get going, because you’ll immediately see what’s going to happen, you can intuitively see what will happen down the line.”

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