Welcome to Beutler Ink’s newest series: Growthverse Spotlight. In 2015, Beutler Ink and Accel Partners teamed up to create the Growthverse, an interactive visualization that helps marketers find the right tech solutions for their teams, featuring over 700 tools and platforms. Our Spotlight series will focus on companies from all sectors of the Growthverse, highlighting their unique perspectives on industry issues. Today we’re chatting with Elle Woulfe, VP of Marketing at LookBookHQ, a platform that enables B2B marketers to offer a range of compelling and effective content experiences to keep audiences engaged.
How does LookBookHQ consider the differences between B2C and B2B content marketing, and how does it change your approach?
B2C buyers often look similar to B2B buyers in terms of how they research a purchase. A key trend among both segments is their desire to “binge” on content before making a purchasing decision. Unless it's a completely transactional purchase, both B2C and B2B buyers will consume a lot of content in those rare moments they have dedicated to doing their research – third-party reviews of the golf club you’re considering, for example, or a technical overview video for a virtual data back-up and recovery solution if you’re an IT buyer.
The content may be different in type, format and even tone but the buyer’s binge behavior remains the same – and they necessarily want to binge on a mix of owned and third party content.
To that end, marketers need to accommodate the behavior of engaged buyers and facilitate the desire to binge on relevant, personalized content. This means delivering content marketing that is “always-on” and allows buyers to self-educate whenever they are ready to engage.
The goal of content marketing is always to move our prospects from the top of the funnel to the bottom, from awareness through education and consideration all the way to purchase. Packaging content in a way that makes it easy to find and consume all the relevant content on the buyer’s journey will allow an engaged buyer to self-nurture whenever and wherever they are ready to engage.
From your perspective, what has the evolution of content marketing over the past year looked like? What changes do you see taking place in the next year?
For the past several years, content marketing has been the hottest trend in marketing and we've reached a point where marketers get it - they need to think like and act like publishers. That has led to a proliferation of content that saw the trend shift toward content consumption, with content types moving to the forefront and words like "snackable" becoming part of the lexicon.
The next frontier for content marketing is focused on what happens after the content is delivered. Marketers have always viewed the click, conversion or download as the finish line. They assume that once delivered, their content is consumed. But new technologies makes it easy for marketers to see what is happening after the click: how much or for how long a buyer is reading or watching a piece of content.
In the next year, marketers will begin to focus more heavily on meaningful content engagement, with capturing attention taking a backseat to holding on to attention once they've got it, and identifying which of their prospects is actually really engaged.
What is your response to hearing about clients that may be focused on more "traditional" ROI metrics in the social media age?
Great marketing is a rising tide. Even for marketers who don't focus on measuring every aspect of their social or content strategy, they should feel the impact in traditional metrics if they are truly investing in the right things and executing in smart ways. The final metric should always be revenue impact and marketers should seek to understand how various efforts impact the end result, but those more traditional metrics - things like web traffic, lead volume and awareness - should also hold the insights into how content and social programs are performing.
That said, we do need to move beyond “the click” as the default, generic metric for marketers. “Bob clicked on X, he must be interested in Y!” That type of thinking is flawed in the Attention Economy – what happens between the clicks is more important than the clicks themselves. Best-in-class digital publishers and platforms know this, so marketers need a new set of engagement metrics in the Attention Economy. And they aren’t social shares…
Previous question notwithstanding, how do marketers keep buyers focused on making a purchase while still giving them the “content binge” experience?
The value of accommodating the behavior of an engaged prospect that wants to "content binge," is the ease with which marketers can get that buyer from A to B – or perhaps more accurately to allow that buyer to get from A to B themselves as they “self-nurture”. You may capture attention through a top of funnel offer or channel, like a great eBook delivered through a display ad, but by focusing on how to retain that buyer's attention once you have it, marketers can deliver a content experience that moves from top of funnel content to mid and even bottom of the funnel content, thereby expediting their journey and impacting their velocity. It’s about accommodating natural velocity and sales readiness, not just manufacturing it.
Marketers struggle to orchestrate the content experience across channels and assets. By shifting their focus from capturing to keeping attention, marketers will not only facilitate the behavior of their most engaged prospects but will deliver content journeys that are easier to navigate and adapt to the prospect's schedule, not the marketer's.