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Best Practices

Beyond the Click: How Smart Marketers Get Noticed in the Attention Economy

Attention is fleeting in today’s economy. Or, as Seth Godin puts it: “attention is something that can’t be refunded or recalled. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

A graphic showing 10 documents with the text: "10 pieces of content are consumed per persona before a purchasing decision is made" The source for this quote is listed as the "Zero Moment of Truth" study from Google.

So, if you’re lucky enough to receive the gift of your B2B buyers’ attention, you better hang onto it for dear life and actually do something with it.

Traditional marketing is very one-and-done. Prospects give you one click and, in turn, you give them one piece of content.

And that’s usually the end of the road for that interaction (and sometimes your buyer’s entire journey.)

But since you’ve worked so hard for your buyer’s time and clicks, why not help them stay longer by giving them the opportunity to consume as much content as possible during that visit? According to Google, it takes up to 10 pieces for a B2B buyer to be sales-ready (more, depending on how many stakeholders are on the purchase committee)–that’s a lot of content!

Well my marketing friends, the times, they are a-changin’. Smart marketers in today’s ‘attention economy’ are ditching the one-and-done and adopting a one-to many approach. Smart marketers like Nimble Storage’s Bharath Srinivasan and his team.

Hello? Is this thing on? How Nimble got noticed in a noisy space

Producing enough content, ensuring it reaches the intended audience, and knowing it is being engaged with are problems that keep many marketers up at night. The Nimble Storage marketing team included.

Nimble Storage is a predictive flash storage company. They operate in a crowded space with many players, so standing out amongst all the noise can be tough.

Their small marketing team relied primarily on traditional email nurture programs to deliver their content. Their email cadences were predetermined (drip style), and they measured success primarily in clicks and form fills.

As a result, trying to identify truly qualified MQLs sometimes felt like finding a needle in a haystack. Proving the business impact of marketing’s effort next to impossible. The struggle was very, very real.

When they decided to implement new one-to-many style program, everything changed. By beefing up their martech stack and integrating LookBookHQ with their marketing automation platform, they achieved some impressive results:

  • 25X new customer pipeline
  • 45X combined pipeline
  • 1200 MQLs generated per quarter

How’d they do it?

In a recent webinar, Bharath Srinivasan, Director of Marketing Operations at Nimble, shared three key takeaways on how they fill their pipeline by delivering more content per click, and accelerate the buyer’s journey with leads that convert faster than you can say “M-Q-L”.

1. Allow people to consume relevant content at their own pace

It’s important to remember that not all buyers are at same stage in their journey. Some may be ready to buy today; for others, it may be 12 months from now. So giving prospects the ability to self-nurture at their own pace is really important.

With this in mind, the Nimble marketing team implemented a smarter approach to content delivery. They created several highly-targeted nurture tracks and, when a new Marketo lead is created, that lead is put into a track based on their role (e.g., business vs. technical). Then, they are served a content experience specifically tailored to their interests.

Back-end analytics let the team know which pieces of content are performing well (or not), so they can quickly and easily refine the nurture programs in real-time. This makes it super scalable for the small but mighty team.

2. Align lead score to engagement rate, content type, and channel for higher quality leads

Not all clicks and form fills are created equal. So, why create MQLs based on those actions alone? The Q in MQL is there for a reason; truly qualified leads are measured based on real content engagement data a.k.a. content consumption.

Integrating LookBookHQ with Marketo, Nimble has taken their lead scoring to a whole new level. Now, leads are scored based on content engagement data such as number of assets consumed and how much time is spent on each. This enables them to create one overall lead score for each prospect.

Using this strategy, they segment their audience into three verticals: Slow, medium, and fast-moving buyers (FMBs). If a prospect views one asset for only 10 seconds, they’re considered an unqualified lead compared to another prospect who consumes many pieces of content for several minutes (FMBs). Only the FMBs are passed on to sales. How’s that for effective sales and marketing alignment?!

But wait, there’s more. Taking it one step further, breaking down content engagement data based on job titles helps them understand how different audiences are consuming content. For example, now they know that if a VP binged on content, that person is much more likely to become an FMB versus a campaign architect who consumed multiple pieces of content.
A graph showing the various engagement times of different prospects broken out by persona. Individual bars are given to each persona showing the nature of their engagement with a persona labelled "Architect" showing different engagement than a "Video President.

3. Include multiple channels in your content strategy to improve ROI

Today’s buyer doesn’t live in their inbox. One minute, they’re visiting your website, and the next, they’re on Twitter. It’s important that your content meets them where they are in that moment. That’s why Bharath stresses the importance of running campaigns across multiple channels, particularly when it comes to larger campaigns that run over several quarters.

Thinking outside the inbox, Nimble now implements multi-channel content experiences: PPC, social media, newsletters – just to name a few.

A screenshot of Nimble Storag'es NimbleFlash newsletter for February 2017, showing a selection of 6 different assets.

Their strategy differs depending on that channel. For example, the Nimble newsletter, ‘NimbleFlash’, displays multiple pieces of content in a grid-like display. This allows readers to consume many pieces of content with each email.

By casting a wide net and delivering content across multiple channels, Nimble has seen a huge increase in overall content engagement. In addition, their website has become “stickier” – meaning visitors spend more time on their site as relevant content is continuously being served up.

Click here to listen to the whole webinar and learn how Nimble Storage moved beyond the click.