What B2B Marketers Need to Know About Experiential Content

Colorful round gems image.

Colorful round gems image.

Experiential content will help drive 2020’s digital agenda, and savvy B2B marketers should take notice.

Experiential is a word with subtly differing meanings depending on which setting it’s used in, however at the core of each definition is the fact that it all boils down to experiences.

Experiential content makes us a central part of a story, and not just a passive subject receiving a one-way brand message.

Experiential B2B Word Cloud Image

Use of experiential content has grown over the past several years as online technologies have reached a level capable delivering vibrant and engaging motion and sounds alongside clickable, swipable, and all other manner of interactivity to put you front and center.

TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden recently mentioned experiential content in his annual list of the top ten B2B digital marketing trends for 2020.

[bctt tweet=”“Visual, experiential content that is easy to find and satisfies business buyer’s needs to be informed, entertained and inspired will continue to be areas of focus.”  @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”]

With 98 percent of consumers more likely to make a purchase after an experience (Limelight), and 77 percent having chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that delivers a personalized service or experience (Forrester), why haven’t more B2B marketers begun to use experiential content?

Experiential Content’s Advantages

In a seemingly million-message-a-minute online world, experiential content offers a number of advantages.

It removes us from all other messaging, if only for a short while, and allows us to enter a world under our own control, where we can interact as we see fit, learning or buying at our own pace, all while creating a story that intertwines us with brand information and messaging.

In 2020 experiential content comes in many forms, no longer limited to just the real-world selfie booths and similar elements of the past, with just a few examples listed here:

  • Virtual Reality (VR)
  • Augmented Reality (AR)
  • Cloud-Based Digital Assets from Ceros and Other Platforms
  • Quizzes and Polls
  • Interactive Flipbooks and eBooks

In a way online gaming has been leading the way for decades when it comes to digital experiential content, and only recently have brands and marketers started to bring this power to B2B advertising campaigns.

An example of experiential content comes in the form of our Break Free of Boring B2B Guide, featuring interactive insight from a variety of B2B marketing industry influencers. Click here to enter the full-screen experience.

Experiential Marketing Embraces Digital Storytelling

Experiential content is also intertwined with both storytelling and customer experience (CX), together forming an extremely powerful triptych of B2B marketing strategy.

As a key component of experiential content, storytelling becomes even more personal and memorable when you’re a key part of the messaging experience a brand is sharing, and being remembered is more important — as well as more difficult — today than ever, which is why forward-thinking B2B marketers are utilizing experiential tactics in their 2020 tool-kits.

The importance of storytelling in the customer journey has become less of a secret in the past five years, as marketing experts and the data to back up the fact have combined to make brand storytelling a trend for the decade ahead.

[bctt tweet=”“Experiential content’s role in powerful storytelling will be an increasing theme among B2B marketers looking to drive next-generation brand efforts.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

Experiential Marketing Embraces Great CX

The other key element of experiential content — CX — appears to offer an ideal match, combining to form two important facets of successful B2B marketing.

What better way to deliver a stellar customer experience than by creating memorable brand storytelling using experiential content?

Two years ago we saw the rise of real-world physical pop-ups from the likes of 29Rooms achieving considerable success on Instagram and other social media platforms, however a shift to creating these worlds virtually online as immersive experiential content has taken place in 2019 and into 2020.

Experiential content also appears in WARC’s recently-released ninth-annual marketers report for 2020, which places it alongside purpose and product as three of the most important elements needed for brands to achieve greater success this year.

Some marketers and brands are pulling back from an over-investment in technology that has taken a certain amount of focus away from creativity, the same report’s survey data shows.

WARC Survey Image

Indeed, among the survey’s respondents — almost 800 global client and agency-side executives — one of the top elements comprising experiential content, VR and AR, was seen as being one of the most important emerging technologies in 2020.

Another big part of experiential content is online video, a near-unanimous selection on most top marketing trend lists, as it continues to receive the type of swift growth in ad spend dollars that has helped make online video a big success for Instagram, YouTube, and increasingly TikTok.

Over 80 percent of marketers plan to increase spending for online video in 2020, with 33 percent planning to boost spending on TikTok this year, according to the WARC survey. In the U.S. alone digital video spedning is expected to increase by over 31 percent in 2020, to $5 billion. (Winterberry Group)

[bctt tweet=”“Being creative while retaining consistency of brand is key to unlocking the benefits of brand-building: from forging emotional attachments, to driving long-term brand equity and sales influences.” — Simon Cook  @Cannes_Lions” username=”toprank”]

Cloud-based experiential content platform Ceros offers both an overview guide and an on-demand webinar for learning more about the technology, and offers up their own take on just what the term means.

“Experiential content is digital content that is purposefully designed to create an immersive experience for its consumers through some combination of interactions, animations, embedded media, and storytelling. It encourages active participation in an effort to form memorable, emotional connections between the consumer and the brand or creator,” Ceros notes.

[bctt tweet=”“Experiential content makes us a central part of a story, and not just a passive subject receiving a one-way brand message.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis” username=”toprank”]

Bake More Experiential Goodness Into Your B2B Efforts For 2020

via GIPHY

We’ve looked at what experiential content is, explored a few examples of how B2B brands are using it successfully, and showed how it is likely to see growing adoption in 2020 and beyond.

It takes considerable time, effort, and resources to implement a standout experiential content campaign, which is why many brands turn to a dedicated agency.

TopRank Marketing had the honor of being named by Forrester as the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in its “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America, Q1 2019” report.”

Finally, here are several additional related resources we’ve put together to help you build your own interactive content:

Looking to learn even more about B2B marketing? Tune in to two free upcoming webinars with our CEO Lee Odden, with complete details here.

The post What B2B marketers Need to Know About Experiential Content appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

How to Bridge the Marketing and Sales Gap With Content

How to Bridge the Marketing and Sales Gap With Content

If B2B marketers want to solve buyer’s problems and encourage lead generation, they’ll have to publish more content than ever before. But after the prospect is converted into a lead, organizations often end their marketing principles.

B2B marketers are usually confined to converting a lead after which a sales rep follows a totally different procedure to qualify and sell.

Generally, people tend to drive all their content marketing efforts to generate leads which can create a major marketing and sales gap. A study reports that a mere 10% of sales and marketing people across the globe agree that there is alignment between the two sectors.

For your content strategy to be strong, it is essential that there exists a perfect alignment between these two teams.

The following graph properly sums up the importance of reducing the marketing and sales gap for brand awareness and increasing performance.

Importance of Alignment for marketing and sales gap

Image Source: weformulate.io

So how do you go
about it? Read on to find out.

How Content Marketing can help reduce the marketing and sales gap

Many marketers have a B2B demand generation myth that an increase in leads will automatically translate into more business and more revenue. If you’re able to collect highly qualified leads, you can still generate higher revenues even if you generate fewer leads. 

Your business marketing team must formulate a lead
generation strategy focusing on getting the
sales team a higher number of qualified leads. If you want your leads to make a
purchase, you must ensure that they’re closer to closing a deal with your
business. 

The more topics and keywords your lead searches for indicates their intention to make a purchase. For instance, if someone is looking for legal advice, they’ll search for phrases like ‘consult a lawyer’ or ‘find a lawyer’. If there are not ready to make a purchase, they’ll likely just try to understand particular sections of law. 

When it comes to Content Marketing, you should distribute consistent and valuable content to your target audience to encourage profitable customer action. Your sales tools such as ROI assessments, pricing sheets, demos, collateral, etc. should be included in your content strategy. Your sales rep uses these sales tools to deliver personalized content to prospects to encourage them to make a purchase. 

Content Objectives and sales funnel for marketing and sales gap

Initiate sales-oriented goals

The immediate goal of your sales team is to generate
more sales, higher profits, and better revenue. Creating content is not a part
of their day to day job. This can often make them confused about your marketing
team’s content creation efforts. 

Content marketing metrics driven by sales-oriented goals are very effective in examining and displaying Content Marketing value. You must ensure that your sales team targets and the Content Marketing goals are in sync. These goals will help your marketing strategies in generating more revenue and conversions.

One of the key benefits of B2B Content Marketing is a substantial increase in sales and revenue. As per the survey conducted with 700 B2B content marketers in North America, it was found that sales and revenue enhanced by 8% in just 12 months.

Benefits of <a href=successful B2B Content Marketing for marketing and sales gap" class="wp-image-71957" />

If you want to generate quantifiable ROI, it’s better positioned for your marketing strategy to concentrate on conversions and not only on lead generation

If one of your blogs goes viral, you should ask the following questions: 

  • How many made a purchase?
  • How many booked a sales call?
  • How many inquired about your brand’s services and products?

Connect marketing and sales teams to enhance your customer persona

A customer persona is one of the numerous tools marketers use to produce effective content. Your sales team will be more directly involved with prospects. Naturally, they’re more aware of the issues they face and also their solutions. marketers can take advantage of this to produce more personalized content for prospects and guide them through the funnel. 

By communicating with your sales team, you can
enhance your customer personas with more detailed insights. The more details
these insights contain, the more personalized content your marketing team can
produce. 

For instance, instead of forming assumptions about your prospects, your sales team can directly provide you with data to refute or confirm your assumptions. Data-driven personalization will offer your business with more accurate sales predictions. 

Date Driven Personalization for marketing and sales gap

Design content to reduce the pressure on the sales team

After some research by their decision-making teams, B2B buyers refer to your sales team. In this stage, sales teams are aware of producing valuable content that’ll influence prospects. 

According to a survey, 73% of respondents rated the role of a sales account manager as ‘highly stressful’. Thus, it’s suggested that you balance out your sales and marketing teams for organizational productivity. Your marketing team should design the bottom of the funnel content to motivate your sales team’s process. 

This will generate various kinds of content like case studies that display your enterprise’s success with a particular client. An infographic can also help in generating leads after or before they connect with your sales team. 

Your marketing team could design detailed guides displaying each issue that your product or service solves for your clients. At the final phase of decision making, such guides can be influential on your prospects.

From the graph below, there is a huge contrast on whether businesses are effectively reducing the marketing and sales gap. According to the graph, a majority of respondents don’t feel that the teams are aligned. 31% of C-level executives contend that these two teams are perfectly aligned, whereas just 17% of individual contributors and managers feel the same.

Company's sales and marketing relationship for marketing and sales gap

Image Source: HubSpot

You must ensure maximum collaboration between your
marketing and sales teams to produce personalized content. It heightens the
probability of conversion by effectively targeting every member of the
prospect’s decision-making team. 

Conclusion

The importance of maintaining perfect alignment between your sales and marketing team cannot be emphasized enough. The data clearly portrays its contribution to business productivity. However, most marketers tend to overlook this issue and simply refuse to mitigate it. This can reduce not just your lead generation but overall organizational productivity.

Marketing and sales teams are often misaligned because they work separately and lack trust between each other. To break down the barriers, your marketing team must provide various types of content to help your sales team in later phases of the funnel and lead nurturing process.

As you decrease the misalignment between your sales and marketing teams, there will be an increase in trust between them. This leads to the generation of higher quality leads and rates of closing your deals.

Guest author: Clara Beck is a business Manager with 8 years of experience at Thomson Data based out of Plano, Texas. She helps SMBs and Enterprise firms take full advantage of the latest marketing tools to scale up their business. She blogs about Small businesses, Marketing, CX, Entrepreneurship, Big Data and, other technological innovations. Connect with Clara on LinkedIn and Twitter to learn how to win more leads.

The post How to Bridge the Marketing and Sales Gap With Content appeared first on Jeffbullas's Blog.