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Content Marketing & Demand Gen: Make The Synergy, Make The Sale

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Content is king at the moment. But if an engaging webinar, white paper or video appears and hardly anyone sees it, what’s the point?

Although content creation and demand generation teams share the goal of attracting customers and boosting sales, they work in distinct ways. Demand gen staffers work closely with sales teams, focusing on understanding and winning over the audience they’re trying to reach at any given time. Content marketers often take a longer view, telling their brand’s story through an ongoing narrative guided by their company’s overarching product strategy.  

Interactive Content Lessons From The Rosé Mansion

This blog was originally published on the Content4Demand blog

I’m not going to lie, I’m a sucker for a good 
Instagrammable moment. I’ll take a snap of my breakfast (no shame), revel in some post-workout pride and venture to the latest pop-up experience promising an “immersive experience.” That’s why the Rosé Mansion has become a go-to for me and my friend, who is a graphic designer turned art teacher. We’re both are passionate about user experience, branding and, well, wine.

The Rosé Mansion is marketed as equal parts wine bar, amusement park and museum of science for wine. It seems like a big promise, but the team delivers, creating a series of themed rooms. In each room, you get to taste test a specific type of wine, learn about how it is created and how others enjoy it. Once you get your sample, you get to interact with the room, which has a fun design theme, series of props and Instagrammable opportunities. 

I’m riding high on all the fun my friend and I had, and all the interesting things we learned. The most surprising takeaway: how I can apply some of the design concepts from the experience to my everyday work as a content creator. For instance, one room was designed to act as a live-action board game. You walk the path, answer a series of questions about how you like your coffee, your ideal music volume and more. In the end, you get a recommendation for the type of rosé that’s right for you: sweet, semi-sweet and dry. Then, you get to taste-test your selection. Super fun, right?

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Well, the easy and rewarding experience got me thinking about how we can make B2B interactive experiences just as enjoyable as this one. You may think it’s a stretch, but here are some things I think we can apply as we attempt to design quizzes and assessments that are rich, engaging and valuable for everyone: 

Take Some Creative Risks 

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The reason why the mansion’s board game is so effective is that the design is so fun and compelling. Bright colors and vibrant visuals scatter the floor, making you truly feel like you’re in the game. If you want to drive people to take the time to share information about them, you have to make it interesting. Plus, it’s a good time to embrace a fun theme or creative concept to see if it resonates with your audience. You may find you can push more creative boundaries and it‘ll actually pay off.  

Connect To A Greater Purpose

The entire goal of the Rosé Mansion is to educate visitors about the pink drink’s history and teach them how to find the right wine for their unique palette. The game supports this broader mission in a fun and actionable way. Your quiz or assessment should do the same, connecting to a broader campaign objective that is valuable for your business. Additionally, it should connect to a broader story that is relevant and entertaining for your audience. 

Make The Journey As Seamless As Possible

This refers equally to the copy and the overall experience. How many times have you seen "quick quizzes" that end up having 15 questions and five potential answers for each? Talk about misleading and frustrating. Don’t give your audience a reason to abandon your experience. Make the questions quick and easy, and the responses even easier. Bonus points if you can make them all yes/no! 

Give Them A Solid Send-Off

You don’t want your buyer to go through a quiz or assessment only to think, "now what?" You want to have a payoff that’s equal to or greater than the time and effort they spent going through the experience. In the mansion, we receive a wine tasting that aligned with our unique preferences. With my clients, I always recommend a higher value outcome, such as a benchmark analysis, recommendations based on maturity levels, or a more detailed piece of content. These provide a clear next step in the decision journey, and empower buyers to consume more information if they so choose. 

Too many times I’ve seen brands try to force an interactive experience that ends up being overly complex and worst of all, not valuable for the buyer. They end up wasting valuable time and marketing budget on something that ultimately doesn’t perform or fit into their campaign goals. But the Rosé Mansion shows that there is a better way and that you can find incredible interactive content inspiration in unlikely places. Sometimes you just need a cocktail…

 

  • Published in Blog

Content Marketing Versus Brand Storytelling

Content marketing and brand storytelling are common practices that companies implement to move their strategies forward, but they’re not one and the same. From content marketing materials such as white papers and videos to developing the brand’s overall story, it’s beneficial to know what sets them apart. This infographic from MediaUpdate details the differences between the two practices.

3 Scrappy Ways To Boost B2B Engagement

Whether you’re a growing startup or an enterprise business, its oftentimes difficult to keep the content calendar filled with relevant insights. However, many businesses are looking to take scrappier approaches to content creation, ensuring that investments in other tactics — such as webinars and events — fuel engagement later in the calendar year.

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NewsCred Extends Analytics Capabilities For Content Marketing

NewsCred has extended capabilities of its enterprise content marketing platform (CMP) with new analytics across digital content optimization, team efficiency, content production and pipeline attribution. The new features are designed to give marketers unparalleled insights to optimize the customer journey, maximize team output and quantify the impact of content on sales and revenue.

Do More With Less: Scrappy Marketing Stories To Fuel Your Creative Engine

via GIPHY

Here at Demand Gen Report, we’re constantly highlighting B2B marketing case studies of carefully and thoroughly planned out campaigns. These large ideas take a lot of time and effort from all aspects of the organization to come to life, but let’s face it, sometimes marketers just don’t have the time and bandwidth to develop large campaigns on top of large campaigns on a regular basis.

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5 Must-Do’s On Your Personalization Journey

sherrie mersdorf headshot evariant1When you’re looking to buy something, which situation do you prefer? Getting instantly accessible information that’s specific to your needs and decision-making process or sifting through an amalgamation of random content and items? It’s a no-brainer, right?

Sales Gets Social: The Rising Tide Of Social Engagement Tools

Screen Shot 2019 07 29 at 9.51.33 AMIn the early stages of launching my company Grapevine6, we met with all kinds of businesses to find a fit for our social engagement tool. One of those early conversations summed up the negative perception of social selling. The director of an inside sales team asked, “Why am I paying our reps to spend half their time on LinkedIn when they’re just building their résuméto get another job?”

Management should have known better. Salespeople are driven to generate revenue and don’t spend half their day doing something that doesn’t drive sales. Social isn’t just for wasting time or finding a job. It’s a powerful resource for advancing the buying cycle and is especially effective for considered purchases where trust is key. It’s a Rolodex that’s never out of date, a network you can be in front of 24/7 and a treasure trove of background information on every contact you want to reach.

SAP Adopts Social Selling

It seems obvious now, but it took a few early adopters to prove the business case. Global technology giant SAP jumped in early and had so much success that it scaled up to a global social selling program. Building over 1 billion Euros in pipeline across 15,000 salespeople around the world, SAP proved that social selling was a game changer.

Sales wasn’t alone in using social media. Early on, marketing recognized the stickiness of social, which created a huge opportunity to drive brand awareness and more importantly, build credibility. The Edelman Trust Barometer consistently showed that companies had a trust problem. Consumers trusted their friends, not brands. Social marketing was a way to tap into that social proof.

Content Marketing Jumps In

The technology supporting the first wave of social marketing specifically served brands. Highly complex tools sifted through the firehose of social content to identify brand mentions and orchestrate multi-touch campaigns. While effective, these technologies demanded dedicated expert resources to operate, which restricted access to mid-to-large enterprises. There was a gap in the market to make social and content marketing more accessible to individuals and small businesses.

Employee Advocacy Gains Traction

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As social marketing evolved and matured, brand marketers also saw an opportunity to exploit employee social networks to amplify their messages. Brands were investing heavily in content, and any added impressions helped ROI. A new set of tools emerged in the employee advocacy space that served up marketing content to employees to post in a simple application. Dozens of advocacy apps appeared, but results were hit or miss. Because posting brand content wasn’t authentic and didn’t necessarily deliver any real value for the employee, companies constantly needed to come up with outside incentives to keep employees posting. Giving the same content to every employee caused user adoption to suffer.

The one-size-fits-all approach to content was particularly frustrating for the sales team. Sales was the most interested in engaging customers on social to build relationships with buyers, but posting the same brand content as everyone else was turning customers off. They needed relevant third-party content that was authentic, helpful and could build a personal brand that buyers could connect with and trust. Employee advocacy tools elevated the company brand, but a new wave of tools was needed to that elevate the salesperson’s brand.

Getting Personal With AI

The key to creating an authentic brand on social is personalization, but marketing could never manually curate personalized content for an entire salesforce of thousands. AI changes the game by enabling differentiation at scale. The next wave of social selling tools is here and has content and AI at its core. Tools like Grapevine6 use AI to read through the thousands of articles published yesterday to find the 10 that are most relevant to each salesperson’s brand.

AI also enables scaling regulatory and risk management in social selling. Digital risk tools from Proofpoint, SafeGuard Cyber, ZeroFox and ThetaLake can inspect content, including video and images, for dozens of different types of risk that impact corporate brands. They can also secure social accounts from security risks, like hackers.

As both the market and tools mature, companies that sell on relationships must be actively engaged in social selling. The practice has moved past the early adopter stage and is becoming table stakes for a modern digital salesforce. Today, with the right tools, salespeople in any industry can be empowered to develop an authentic personal voice on social and leverage the full potential of these channels without posing a regulatory or reputational risk to their employers.  


Mike Orr is the Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer at Grapevine6, where he is responsible for product delivery. Before joining the Grapevine6 team, Mike spent several years in management consulting, working with some of Canada's marquee brands. He led a skunkworks and project management team at one of Canada's leading digital advertising agencies on projects that won global awards and recognition.

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