550: Interactive Content: 2 Real-World Examples That Drove Incredible Results w/ Aaron Dun

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Aaron Dun, Sr. VP of Marketing at SnapApp.

Looking for a guaranteed way to create content that resonates with your audience? Start a podcast, interview your ideal clients and let them choose the topic of the interview, because if your ideal clients care about the topic, there's a good chance the rest of your audience will care about it too. Learn more at sweet fish Mediacom. You're listening to the B tob growth show, a podcast dedicated to helping be to be executives achieve explosive growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. I'm Jonathan Green and I'm James Carberry. Let's get into the show. All Right, we are here today at the BB Marketing Forum and I'm chatting with Aaron done. He is the Senior Vice President of marketing at snap APP are and how you doing today? I'm doing great, James. Thanks for having me. I'm stoked the chat with you and we're talking offline about something that I am very passionate about, this idea that we need to start creating a two way conversation with our prospects instead of of the marketing playbook that you and I would agree is is already dead, and some would say it's still dying because you're still seeing a lot of brands use it. But this marketing playbook, that is just one way push you sign up for our white paper or Ebook, and then we're just going to blast you right with phone calls and emails until you buy my thing, hopefully, and and that's you and I obviously both agree that that that way of doing things is dead. Talk to us about you know why you think it's dead and what the alternative it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you know, we've been doing this a long time and be be right. So we have this notion of okay, I'm going to put up a white paper, I'm going to put a lead. Get in front of that White Paper. I'm going to ask you for your name, Your Company, name, your company email only, please know personally mails, name of your firstborn child and maybe the title of you know,...

...your your role, and then that's a lead for sales. Yeah, right, I'm going to hand that over to my sales see him, and they're going to call and hammer away and email you, etc. Etc. Until until you, as you said, I want to buy something. So we call that inbound marketing. Yep, right, and that was fine. Right, that worked very well for a long time and you know in Kudostop spot for really transforming of how we think about it. And you know the guys are the content marketing institute. I've done a great job sort of. Yeah, to tell a better story. Yeah, right, and people will engage with you. The problem is is that everybody jumped on this bandwagon and the amount in the volume of content it's being published has gotten to the point where it's beak basically become a commodity, very, very difficult to differentiate based on your content alone. Yeah, so you know I'm a I'm a prospect for a company WHO's emailing me and and pushing us as content at me, and then you know that that it's a competitive set. Right. So there's Cyrus, six other companies who also think I'm a prospect for that same target segment. They're also emailing me and calling me and bombarding me with content. And Oh, by the way, you know, maybe I'm a prospect for five or six other different services or technology communities, and just gets very exponential, right. Yeah, and I also think the other thing that's happening here, as we did a lot of research that we just published a couple weeks ago and that really focuses in on the rise of the monuo generation. Okay, the Mono Generation, which is has been seen as a quote, B Toc Problem, is actually a b Tob problem, but actually think it's a be to the opportunity. Right. What we saw from our research is that is that the millinia generation thinks very differently about how they want to engage with their with the people they want to do business with, and they're very clearly signaling that there's notion of just accessing a white paper. The content may be interesting, but there's nothing about accessing that white paper that says hey, I'm actually looking to buy a product. Yeah, and they don't want to Tuck the sales. So we've mismatched the opportunity here. So we think, and we certainly seen a lot of forward thinking companies are take this leap to move away from the leagated white paper as sort of that's the central focal point of the...

...marketing trategy, moving to more creating the experiences, two way engaging conversations to create a dialog and digital dialog with prospects then getting them to signal hey, I'm ready to talk to you. It's a shift from a seller centric model, where I'm telling you how you should buy, to a bier center, which is a I'm telling you how I want to buy. We have paid lip services notion of the buyers journey for ten years. Yeah, right, no good market. Or would ever tell you they oh it's a bierus journey. It's, of course, but then they deliver all of their content, all their strategy on their turn bottom. Yeah, doesn't work anymore, it's not going to work anymore and it's time is now, or it's sort of called arms. Yeah, it's so, how do you? I mean, I feel very strongly. You know, something I say with our team a lot, and this idea of adding, adding value first, and I think the term value is weird because that means different things to different people. And where I think brands are messing up is they think, oh, well, our product is the value and so we're going to lead with our value by explaining why our product is so. That's right, but it's not perceived that way by the buyer. The buyer just sees, Oh, you're trying to jam content down my throat so you can sell me your product right in under the guise of I go. You're sharing how valuable your thing so your competitors right, and so figuring out a way to add value to your buyer, completely independent of your product, just to get a seat at the table right, to have a conversation about what it could look like to use your product and the value that your product brings. But if you're not willing to do that piece first, which especially in B Tob, I mean if you're if your deal sizes are thirty, forty, Fiftyzero, it's worth putting in a little extra effort to create the relationship by adding value up front independent of your productor service. You mentioned some things before we hit record that I thought were really interesting around like quizzes and like interactive types of content. That's intriguing to me. We're eating our own dog food, you know, by doing things...

...like we interview people for our PODCAST, we interview people for having to post column like we're engaging right with people that could potentially have US produce a podcast for them by making them look like a rock star in our media. That's one way to do it. Tell me about the like some of the ways that people are leveraging snapapp to do that with whizzes and these different types of interactive content. Yeah, the first thing I would say, it's your point about value, is the value equation has a shifted and the bar is extremely high now. It used to be must ten years if we produce the ultimate guide and Xyz. Right, that was a big thing that we all did, ultimate guy in there ebooks. Now they're not white papers and they're very consumable. That was that was the bar for value. Yeah, okay, I have a problem. You've delivered me the ultimate guy to solve that problem. Okay, cool that. I want to read that. That doesn't work anymore. Now the value is as a prospect, I want to be able to engage with you to get something of value on my trumps. Right, I may in fact down what your White Paper Book and that's fine, but as has no connection in to buying intent from our research. Buyers are not using white papers early, early in their buying research process just they're just not right. So we've mismatched. You know our strategy there. So the bar for value, for delivering value, is extremely high now and your job as a marketer is to understand your prospect so deeply that you can deliver content and experiences that is going to resonate with them, right, and you do that in such a way. We talked about what is it? Experience look like, and experience creates value for both parties. It's a two way value exchange, such that you're going to give me some information and in return for that information, I'm going to deliver you something of value, and that's something of value is no longer just the white paper. All right. So we have quite a few customers who are who are creating an assessment, and assessments take many different flavors, but an assessment in his most basic form is you give me a number of variables and I will either benchmark how you stack up against...

...a similar co wort or I will give you some sort of preparedness assessment. Right. So we have a customer called pay core out of at a Cincinnati which is in the HR space, and the Department of Labor came out with a rule change, a proposed real change about how companies capitulate over time have a very profound effect on how companies actually paid their people. Yeah, so they could have just put up a white paper that said, hey, the ultimate to the coming rule change in the department labor. Right, okay, they did that actually is very good. It was a very good piece of content. But what they did that was even more transformative, as they created an assessment that allowed you to assess the impact of that Department of Labor will change on your business based on the context of your that's right way. And I am now, as the prospect, interacting with Pike or, I am giving pig or valuable insights about my business. Right and when done right, they're able to use those insights to do two things. One, score and nurture better. Yeah, because I know you better. Ye, but they can also figure out by asking sales level criteria, they can understand who are the best prospects. Right. The we spend so much times are scoring ter trying based on activity and fromographic demographic. But most companies that I've ever worked for with and talked to what makes a good prospect for a company and what makes a good prosp for company? Right now it goes a level keeper than that. Like that sales criterias, the sales questions they bedr SDR whoever it is is having that first call of prospect, they always ask those side as, six, seven, nine questions and that's the data that you want to get, because that's allows you to focus on those leads and send those leads to sales. Right now, if you don't deliver that content, doesn't matter how engaging in how how experiential that content is, if it isn't going to resonate, if it doesn't hit on the fears, the pains, the interest the the hopes, the dreams, et Cetera, our prospects, it's a you're no better. Often ablimate my paper. Yep, and it's really understanding and honestly, it's going to be a lot harder for marketers because the the...

...bar so much high. Yeah, yeah, that to your to your point. I'm a millennial, so I didn't necessarily think that. I much why we call the focus slackers, and it's okay, we're good, but I have a I have an extremely high bar of what is what I considered to be valued today, and I love the example of the assessment. They built an assessment around a real time thing that's happening in the industry. Yeah, and hey, come and see how this is going to affect you. Not just you, one of you know, thousands of people better. You're the number of employees you have, what part of the country you're in? Like things are well, but was even more interesting along those lines. Is that the old way, like marketing one too, for like a better phrase, you would have been like, okay, we have a fifteen four field formed down with the White Paper, or we're going to get all information. Yep. Okay, well, that doesn't work. We realize we got to shorten our fields, our forms. So then we created a progressive profile, right, which is like, okay, every time you come back to me, I'm going to ask you a different question. Yep. That's really passive and it's requiring you the prospect to come back over and over and over and again and probably never to actually get all that materially out. But by delivering something of value and return, they're able to ask much more personal questions. Yeah, like they've given permission, Yep, to ask those questions, and the companies are doing this really well, or really connecting that data into their marking automation platform, and they're transforming their scoring in their tree models as a result. and honestly, there's a there's another thing that's lingering here, which is, in fact, I believe firmly that in the future are marketing. Our leads to sales charts are no longer going to go up into the right. They're actually and go down to the right, because right now we are sending over this undifferentiated mass of leads and asking the sales team to pick through and find the goods. That's at scale, in the kind of scale we have to deliver going forward. You can't do that. You can't ten xt what you're doing now and expect ten xt at the bottom. Yeah, like,...

...did, you would have already done a so you have to get a lot smarter and figure how do you text the best leads to the bottom? Yeah, and when? And when qualification is baked into the core of the content that you're delivering. Right, you're killing right two birds of the eye. Yeah, that and but it has to be authentic and it has to be done because the prospect is getting value. Otherwise they won't do it. Yet, right. So you're like, well, no one's ever going to go through a nine or twelve question assessment process and filled out. They're not going to do it. Like, well, they will if, if what's at the end of it matters to that's right. If it doesn't, well then do you have any other examples that? I love the example that you shared earlier. Any other clients that are they're doing other creative things like that to give just to give some additional ideas? Yeah, yeah, there's well, there's countless. For those of your listeners who are actually still the at the the BB forum here in Boston, marketing process actually has a spirit animal assessment. There's are doing in the boot right now, which is really funny. But some of the company that we work with part of a BARACUTA networks, which is a large it shop. They created a assessment around they help you protect your data against security reaches and malware and in all these various strets that are you know, ransomware, this come up. So they actually created an assessment that would help you gage your readiness to withstand a ransomware attack. They have these very clever characters called the the data laws Gremlins, or they use those gremlins very creatively and in the in the experience. But you know, in their business it was very it was its targeted extremely well to a very, very tight set of people. And then, and they would. So when you get to the end of that experience, it says, Hey, you are whatever X. Yeah, just a rain. I can remembept you from them. But there was like there was a range of options, like you're like you're screwed to hey, your bulletproof. Got It with some recommendations about what to do. Gotta so that was my next question is, once they get through that, it's that initial experience. They gave over very valuable...

...informations. Are you as the brand, but they also got something extremely valuable and practical, and practical that that they want. At that point, I would imagine there's just a matter of then integrating it with your marketing automation so that now you're delivering a truly customized that I have nurture sequence. That's right, based on the data that's right. Just collect that's right, and you can you can really take the way. You can hold the lead longer. Yeah, we focus on our team about getting people to take the next action. Right when someone downloads, and most most companies don't do this, but when someone subscribes to your blog, that's not a lead. Yeah, okay, and we don't that. Most companies don't treat box abscribers as the lead. You know, people are attend of Webinarre. Most people treat those as leads. We don't retreat those as people just taking another what we call activation action, right, which is giving us license to send them more information that's tied to what they said and with how they interacted with us. Yeah, with our goal of getting people to keep taking the next action. Yeah, until they're ready to talk to our sales team. And we have we have four or five things which we call conversion actions. Like you requested. Demo on our website. We have a free product. You engage with the free products. Those are those are signals to us that you're ready to talk to us and those are the only things we send the selves, I think right. So our all little case study here, you know, early days and we're testing this out. Of course we're much small company the many of your listeners, but you know, we're delivered. We delivered at ten of the lead volume last month, same number of your flat sales outcomes. So we tracking and down the front, you know. So our conversion rate was five x would on a ten of lead line. Wow, just incredibly efficient. Right. Sales isn't having to pick through the you know, the chaft, find the good ones and they just focus on the good. Yeah, we hold them accountbalt to the good ones. You know, look, we have beat our sales team up to cross all of you to be to follow up on the white paper lead. Just make the calls, just make the calls, do the cadence and you know it's a lot of cold calling. Yeah, I was about calls that didn't bound. So they just sort they do it, but they treat all the leads the same, so that some of the requested the demo gets treated the same as to download a white paper and...

...in no universe of those same. And we train them not to do that. But in a volume environment, that's what they're that's how they're measure. You measured on the activity. So I took all that activity off the table and so here you go, and gave them make it work. Gave them so much context for each qualified lead. That's right, right, because of the assessment that they write that they went exactly right. So yeah, I can imagine that now you've got a much more engaged sales person because they've got data that they can actually use to have an intelligent conversation. Right, as opposed to yet smiling and that. And we told him these are the good leads. Yeah, and we're going to hold you accountable, like in, these are the gun gary leads, right. Yeah, so these are the leaves that we know are going to convert because they have told us they're ready to talk to us now. I'm not asking you to fight through the junk anymore. So it's transformed for them. We've we had a good relationship with sales, but we have even better relationship sales now. But it's also freeing from my team. Right, we're not at even when a huge team, you know, but we're focusing. We change the dynamics of what we focus in on, we change our measurement and step and I haven't fun. I love it. Aaron, if there's somebody listening to this, they're they're curious to maybe here more examples or learn more. How can they connect with you? How can they learn more about snap APP? Yeah, well, I mean snappcom is definitely the best way and I would encourage all listeners to check out our blog. We spend a ton of time really thinking about issues and topics that will resonate with our with with our audience. Yea. So we encourage you to sign up for that. We actually published a blog post that is a hundred one interactive content ideas. So we created a list of a hundred one different ideas and then we also said that list is there. You can search for that for using on our website. And then there's also, as part of that, we created an idea generator. Okay, I using our products. So you basically can put in a couple of key words and then I'll come back with, hey, here's three, four ideas that you can actually did. I love it. Awesome, Aaron. Well, thank you so much for your time today. Man, this has been incredible, awesome. Thanks, James. Appreciate it. If you've been getting valued from...

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