Best Practices

Geek out with Chris: Part 1

Hi, my name is Chris and I love technology and creating killer marketing programs, processes and campaigns that convert and drive revenue. As Demand Generation Manager at PathFactory, I am the unofficial Smart Campaign whisperer and resident expert on using the PathFactory content engagement platform every day as part of our own marketing programs.

In this new blog series, I’ll share the problems I’m solving (because chances are they’re problems you’ve had too) and the creative ways my marketing team is using content engagement to drive qualified demand and identify sales-ready buyers. I’ll also answer questions from PathFactory customers, current and future, on how to get the most out of our platform and how it fits in with the rest of the marketing stack.

MarTech is My Arsenal
I love using the marketing tech stack to solve problems. Lucky for me, PathFactory is in the marketing technology space and we have at our disposal some of the best tools available, including, Marketo, Eloqua, Full Circle Insights, PathFactory, Google Analytics, Vimeo and Litmus.

When these powerful tools come together, it’s a thing of beauty. Bring in some great content and creative, and a well thought out campaign structure, and you’re on your way to MQL land. It didn’t take me long after joining LookBookHQ to start using our product and I’ve been blown away by how PathFactory content experiences extend the value of marketing automation. As a demand gen guy, it’s really made me shift my perspective to focus on the prospect’s level of engagement with the content itself, rather than on overly simplistic metrics like web page visits and click-through rates. As a result, here are three pieces of conventional marketing “wisdom” that I had to unlearn (and fast!) when I started at PathFactory.

1. Using Landing Pages
Let’s call a spade a spade: Landing pages are awful. Okay, maybe not all of them, but many of them deliver a poor user experience. And even if you create the best landing page in the world, it’s still a dead end that no one really wants to visit. Why am I hating on them? First, they are an unnecessary extra click: If someone wants to read your white paper, why make them hit a page that tells them why the white paper is so great (again)? They already asked to see the asset, so send them straight to it and make it easy for your prospect to start getting educated!

Second, if you want to gate the asset or use the piece of content as a way to progressively profile someone, we’ve found in many cases that prospects are more likely to fill out a form if you first tease them with the asset (e.g. let them read the executive summary) and then drop in a time-based form later (so if they want to continue reading, they have to provide a little information first). Welcome to the new era of content engagement in which the rules of gating content have changed. Last, why bother wasting time and resources trying to make a landing page work and look awesome when a tool like PathFactory can be used to drop your prospective buyer right into the asset itself in a beautiful, interactive and binge-ready post-click content experience? The speed and scale of creating these prospect-centric content experiences beats battling with landing pages every time.

2. Using Multiple Calls to Action in Emails
Too many marketing emails are trying to pull people in too many different directions. Even though you might have packaged your content into a lovely binge-ready session on the web, you don’t need to tell the whole story in one email. Here at PathFactory, we’re big fans of Netflix because they are masterful at holding on to their subscribers’ attention. One thing Netflix doesn’t do is show you every movie and TV show that is available all at once (if they did, you’d be completely overwhelmed): They’re selective about what content they recommend to you based on your past behavior. Marketers can take a lesson from Netflix (OMG, have you watched Chef’s Table? Check out Master Chef!) on promoting related content.

Use your most compelling assets as calls to action but package related content on the destination side of that click to allow your buyer to binge on content and maximize their engagement. You’ll get more clicks if your CTA is clear and single-minded and better content engagement on the other side.

3. Tracking Clicks as a Measure of Success
Many marketing teams will count their efforts a success when someone clicks on a link in an email or completes a form, but what if the prospect closes their browser window within seconds of opening the page and never engages with your content asset? If our end goal is to educate, inform and influence our prospects, have we really been successful if someone tapped out within seconds? Was that really a successful campaign? Using new tools like LookBookHQ, we no longer have to rely on clicks as a proxy for engagement. We can measure the real thing: What people actually read or viewed and for how long. This is a far more valid measure of success. Now we’re able to separate the people who simply clicked or “converted” from those that actually engaged and did research – which can have a huge impact on how you define a sales-ready lead.

In the few short months since I joined PathFactory’s small but mighty marketing team, we’ve pushed several successful campaigns out the door using our own platform and I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished to date.

We’ve been focused on ways of identifying people who are consuming content faster than others, because there is a direct correlation between this content bingeing behavior and sales readiness: our client data analysis shows that prospects who binge on more than one piece of content are 2.4X more likely to be sales-accepted. We’ve also built processes to flag these fast-moving buyers who are flying through content for sales sometimes before people hit MQL so that sales can catch people while they’re hot.

In my next post, I’ll take a deeper dive into what content engagement actually looks like and how we’re integrating engagement metrics into our marketing automation platform. Using this powerful data, we’ve done some beautiful things with our lead scoring model and sales communication.

Until next time, keep geeking out, fellow marketing nerds.