Interactive Content as a Key Differentiator in Your Content Marketing Efforts

Interactive content is here and it’s WOW! But what is it? And why is it worth doing?

Everyone is doing content marketing. Few are doing it measurably. Even fewer are doing it differently. Most content marketing looks and smells like most other content marketing.

The situation for content marketing in 2015

There are scores of white papers to read, webinars to watch, blog posts to scan — and they all pretty much look and feel the same. Of course the irony is that we’re talking about content MARKETING, and marketing is the last place you want to be undifferentiated or irrelevant.

Read full article here.

The Guy Who Made This Insane, 2,000 Company Marketing Landscape Chart is Sorry

“I didn’t set out to scare the beejeezus out of everything.”

So said Scott Brinker, opening speaker today at VentureBeat’s GrowthBeat Summit in Boston’s Langham Hotel.

Brinker, cofounder and CTO of interactive content provider Ion Interactive, is better known as the blogger behind ChiefMartec.com — and the creator of a depiction of the current marketing tech landscape that looks like a Hieronymus Bosch depiction of Hell.

For full article, click here.

Why Marketers Should Use Interactive Content to Engage Buyers

Anna Talerico, Co-founder of ion interactive, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series to share her insight on the intersection of sales, marketing, and technology. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Josh Bland, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.

 

Anna joined Josh to discuss the benefits of using interactive content to meet buyers at every point in their journey.



Below are a few highlights from our conversation:


TechnologyAdvice: What are the biggest trends in interactive content design right now?


Talerico: One is the greater importance we’re placing on interactive content in general. Quizzes are the obvious bellwether of that. Visitors love them and everybody is using them because they’re so effective. Whether it’s ‘How much do you know about HR software?’ or ‘Which Marilyn Monroe character you are’, people love them. That’s one way we get immersed in interactive content because we see quizzes are so effective.


That’s driven from the fact that we’re generating more and more content. Our audience and our buyers are overwhelmed. They have content fatigue. So instead of churning out more content, we like to ask ‘how do we stand out and differentiate with the content?’


The biggest trend for interactive content right now is the rapid pace of innovation in web design, especially responsive design. Your web pages simply must be responsive these days because we have such a wide variety of browser sizes and devices. You’re really chopping off a huge part of your audience if you aren’t designing everything in a mobile-friendly way.


Everything else that's going on in web design right now: reveal, hover, parallax, pageflows, and video backgrounds - we’re really in this big renaissance of web design and UX. There’s so much momentum and it’s important that marketers are delivering the experiences visitors expect. There’s a lot of pressure to deliver these modern experiences.


TA: Why aren't more companies taking part in this Renaissance?


Talerico: It’s daunting. The unfortunate underbelly is that it’s a lot of work. You have to have developers who can do these modern things and do them well and have them work across browsers, or you have to have great software to do it. Either way, there’s no way to deny it’s more work than churning out a page of static content. That’s just the state of the web and the new reality. We have to normalize and acknowledge it, there is no way to fight it.


TA: How does interactive content compare to static content? Is it something all companies should experiment with? Should there be a mix of the two?


Talerico: Interactive content is just better at engaging your audience. If you think about someone landing on a three paragraph article, some portion of people will read it, some portion won’t. Interactive content engages us on a different level. Again, I think if you put on the ‘you as a user’ hat, it makes a lot of sense. Some people learn differently and they aren’t going to sit and read. They need it presented in a way where they can engage with the content.


Think about some trends in education. We’re seeing a move from static readings and lecture to more interactive educational experiences to engage the student. It’s really the same thing on the web. I can read something about how to solve a problem, or instead take a 10-question quiz and get a personalized recommendation.


It seems people love that echoing back, that’s very specific to them and feels personalized —  interactive content does that. It feels like something unique to them, which engages us at a really visceral level. It’s not that you don’t need static content, you need different ways to engage your buyers. I always think about taking one piece of static content and turning it into several interactive experiences to hit different people at different stages of their buying journey. It’s not an either or, it’s more of a marriage.


Listen to the entire show above in order to hear our full conversation, or download the show to listen later. You can subscribe to the TA Expert Interview Series via Soundcloud, in order to get alerts about new episodes.


This podcast was created and published by TechnologyAdvice. Interview conducted by Josh Bland.

You can listen to Anna's entire podcast interview here.

Recap Day 1: Copyblogger's #Authority2015 Conference

Scott started by discussing what interactive content is, and how we think about it. Interactive content includes quizzes, assessments, and other ways of re-imagining content. When most of us think of quizzes, we think of Buzzfeed, which is not real journalism, right? In fact, as Scott showed, even trusted news sources like the New York times use quizzes – just in different ways than Buzzfeed.

Why is interactive content so successful? Scott explained the process of learning isn’t done passively (which most of us know), and a big part of content marketing is educating buyers, which makes interactive content very useful and very effective.

For full article, click here.

Small Business Spotlight: How to Save Your Most Precious Sales Resource

In my role as CEO and CMO of a fast-growing SaaS company, I have the unique perspective of both a marketer and CEO. Sales and marketing alignment isn’t even a question. It’s a way of life. Our own software platform enables rapid deployment, testing, and measurement of interactive content — quizzes, assessments, calculators, configurators, interactive infographics, lookbooks, interactive white papers, etc. Using our platform, our marketing engages in an enlightening dialogue with prospects — a dialogue that must be contextually and succinctly communicated to our sales team.

For full article, click here

ion Announces Sell-Side Experience to Foster Sales, Marketing and Buyer Alignment

ion interactive announces sell-side experience to foster sales, marketing & buyer alignment

Seamlessly transitions from the digital dialogue of marketing to the human dialogue of sales

 

San Francisco, Calif. – April 14, 2015 – Today at Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit, ion interactive, the interactive content software company, announced the launch of its Sell-Side Experience to enable a seamless transition for prospects moving from marketing to sales during their buying journey.

CLICK HERE TO GO STRAIGHT TO THE INTERACTIVE PRESS RELEASE

One of the biggest challenges of digital transformation is sales and marketing alignment. Marketing generates a lot of data, but little of it is actionable and useful for sales. Traditionally, sales relies on inferred information from multiple tools and technologies to dig for useful points to leverage in their calls with prospects. And once personal contact is made, buyers often have to rehash information they’ve already shared earlier in the funnel, during their digital interactions.

When marketing data has been made available to sales, it’s been inferred from ‘digital body language’ — page views, clicks, email opens, downloads. While these behaviors may be interesting, they lack the contextual relevance of explicitly collected, descriptive data that comes from the digital dialogue that happens within interactive content.

Illustrating the Digital Dialogue for Sales

In an effort to make the marketing-to-sales process more relevant and effective for marketing, sales and the buyer, ion developed the Sell-Side Experience, proprietary functionality available as part of the ion interactive content platform. The Sell-Side Experience is accessed by salespeople via an interactive timeline of a specific buyer’s digital dialogue. This sales-specific functionality visually illustrates all explicit actions the buyer has taken across their interactive content journey.

 

Sell-Side Experiences may contextually illustrate the values calculated in a pricing configurator; self-assessment questions, answers and ratings; choices and scores in quizzes, survey or polls; product or solution configuration preferences from solution builders and so on. Whatever has been learned about the buyer is surfaced interactively and in context for sales.

 

Instead of guessing based on a sea of decoded digital body language, sales people can now rely on actionable, explicit data to drive their decisions and conversations. This accelerates sales velocity as it simultaneously aligns buyer and brand. Everyone is on the same page as the human conversation picks up where the digital one left off.

 

In addition to the digital dialogue layer of buyer data, the Sell-Side Experience can also include relevant and buyer-specific coaching for the sales person. This provides an unprecedented opportunity for sales and marketing message alignment and continuity.

Instead of fuzzy value like website visits, clicks and downloads, sales gets actionable and meaningful visualized data. The intelligence provided from Sell-Side enables smarter, faster, more relevant conversations based on the prospect’s real needs.

Surfacing the Digital Dialogue in the MarTech Ecosystem

ion’s Sell-Side is a layer that sits above marketing automation and customer relationship platforms. The MAP remains the system of record for digital body language, with ion’s Sell-Side becoming the integrated system of record for the interactive content digital dialogue. From any CRM or MAP prospect record, sales gets instant access to their prospect’s interactive content journey. The result is more intelligent conversations with fewer gaps and rehashes.

ion’s Sell-Side Experience also provides the MAP or CRM with data extracted from the digital dialogue for scoring, segmentation, personalization and targeting. This layer of exported automation data enables the MAP or CRM to more reliably — based on explicit rather than inferred data — surface best bets to sales.

With ion’s interactive content platform enabling the digital dialogue and its Sell-Side Experience surfacing that dialogue, the relationship between marketers, buyers and sales people is forever changed. The one-to-many digital conversations between marketers and buyers translate to sales teams that can pick up those conversations seamlessly, enabling the salesperson to meet the buyer at the point of interest with a personal dialogue that doesn’t miss a beat.

Accelerating the Sales Pipeline

This latest addition to ion’s interactive content software platform eliminates the archaic process of sales having to “start over” when they engage in conversations with their prospects. Instead of losing momentum at the hand-off from marketing, Sell-Side allows them to meet their buyers at the point of interest.

“Our mission with Sell-Side is to provide an innovative way to truly align sales, marketing and the buyer,” said Justin Talerico, co-founder and CEO of ion interactive. “The more cohesion that exists between the three, the better everyone’s experience is. The explicit data we’re able to provide not only enhances communication at the pass off from marketing to sales, but also better equips the sales side to have more meaningful conversations with prospects. Interactive content provides the digital dialogue. Sell-Side makes that dialogue actionable.”

The Sell-Side Experience will be generally available to ion customers in the second quarter of 2015.

ion Announces Sell-Side Experience to Foster Sales, Marketing and Buyer Alignment

One of the biggest challenges of digital transformation is sales and marketing alignment. Marketing generates a lot of data, but little of it is actionable and useful for sales. Traditionally, sales relies on inferred information from multiple tools and technologies to dig for useful points to leverage in their calls with prospects. And once personal contact is made, buyers often have to rehash information they’ve already shared earlier in the funnel, during their digital interactions.

See full story here.

3 Ways to Listen to Prospects and Collect Data

Listening is critical to success in this new era of informed consumers and ROI-focused revenue marketers, where every purchase is carefully considered. Buyers are more discerning than ever; they’re looking for hyper-relevant content that responds to their exact needs and stage in the buying cycle. How can marketers hope to answer that imperative if we’re not listening to understand what our buyers are doing, thinking, and saying?

Read full article here.
 

30+ Top Sales Enablement Thought Leaders

The B2B selling space is in a constant state of change. As it evolves, it becomes increasingly important for sales and marketing leaders to be aware of industry news and trends.

We chose the following sales and marketing professionals (in alphabetical order) as our top influential thought leaders for sales enablement. Their experiences and insights make each of these individuals a reliable resource for the latest strategies, technologies, solutions, and best practices.

For full article, click here.

Why Interactive Content May Be the Most Exciting Marketing Tactic of 2015

The world is deluged with white papers, webinars, ebooks, and infographics. How many white papers have you downloaded and only briefly skimmed? How many webinars have you signed up for and never attended?

How do you stand out? How do you grab and hold the attention of an audience?

Interactive content provides a new arsenal for content marketers to battle the flood of “meh,” passive content.

Read full article here.

How Technology Can Fuel Your Content Marketing

The conference included six live scheduled chat sessions on topics such as content marketing and customer experience, influencer marketing, interactive content, and marketing automation

Here are the highlights from a few of these sessions.

Interactive Content

Scott Brinker, co-founder and CTO, ion interactive

"Good interactive content — through the eyes of the participant — either (a) actually helps them learn something, such as an assessment tool might, in a way that's better than just passively reading about it, or (b) provides something genuinely entertaining (like a fun little game).”

Read full article here.

Hack Your Marketing: Expert Tips to Save Your Sanity

 

My sons may have convinced me to watch too many episodes of Hack My Life, but they got me thinking about all the marketing hacks I’ve collected over the years. Finding ways to juggle the demands of a busy marketer’s schedule has always been a challenge. In this article I’ve shared some of my most frequently used hacks and chatted with 7 of the most talented marketers I know for their favorites.

Read full article here.

Talking Marketing Tech with Scott Brinker and David Lewis

What do leading experts from the Chief Marketing Technologist Blog and DemandGen International have to say about the future of marketing technology?

Earlier this week, we sat down with Scott Brinker, Co-founder and CTO of Ion Interactive and author of the Chief Marketing Technologist blog, and David Lewis, CEO of DemandGen International to discuss the 2015 Marketing Technology Landscape. 

Read full article here.

Demystifying Marketing Tech

Embracing and adopting new technology was a presiding theme at this year's Marketing&Tech Innovation Summit. However, it seems that as marketers' technological options grow, their practical choices shrink. This was one of the key takeaways from a panel at the event, which featured Scott Brinker, cofounder and CTO at ION Interactive; Bhavesh Vaghela, CMO at Response Tap; David Hahn, SVP of product management at Integral Ad Science; and Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, CEO at AirPR as the moderator.

For full article, click here.

Content Marketing Tools: The Ultimate List

The Ultimate Content Marketing Tools List has been updated as of January 29, 2015 to include over fifty new tools and several new categories including influencer marketing, paid promotion, writing, auditing and optimizing conversions. Demand for businesses to provide their readers with the best content available is on the rise and 71 percent of marketers increased their content marketing budget in 2014. Because of this, the content marketing tools universe has expanded.

For full article, click here.