Creating an Interactive Marketing Campaign from Start to Finish [Case Study]
October 31, 2017 | Melissa Nazar
A common question for us at SnapApp is some variation of the following: “Well, I get interactive and how it could help, but how do you actually integrate it into your campaigns?”
Let’s get meta for a minute. It should come as no surprise that we (ourselves at SnapApp) spend a lot of time not only spreading the word about interactive content but also thinking about ways to incorporate it into all of our campaigns.
And not just in an ad hoc, random way – our content team mantra is “think interactive first,” so before anyone ever puts pen to paper (or more likely, finger to keyboard) for that next comprehensive white paper, definitive ebook guide, or one-page piece of collateral, I always ask: “Is this the best format? Can we make this interactive instead?”
We don’t just do this because we feel we must as an interactive content platform, but because interactive campaigns time and again show to deliver far more touchpoints, more audience participation, and significantly better lead insight.
The use of interactive content is at its best when it’s a part of a larger marketing strategy, not just a one-off, shiny object that lives on its own. After all, interactive is not magic – sure, it’s an extremely engaging and effective format, but it still requires thoughtful promotion to be successful.
So I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how the sausage is made, open the kimono a bit, or [insert your favorite business jargon phrase here].
Here’s a deep dive into a recent campaign the SnapApp team executed – conducting research into the B2B buying committee and promoting our results – from ideation all the way through tracking results, to give you an idea of how you can layer interactive into your own marketing in a meaningful way.
As a marketing team, one of our key goals is to drive interest and engagement with our content at the top of the funnel. So we spent some time brainstorming ideas for what might be interesting from an awareness perpsective for our audience.
There seem to be endless stories today about what Millennials are doing wrong, responsible for destroying everything from department stores to marriage. But all of the readily available insights seemed to be geared towards a B2C world, so the natural next question from a team of B2B marketers (who, full disclosure, are majority Millennial) was about Millennials in a B2B world – are they having an impact?
We came up with a theory. Most B2B marketers wrote off the “Millennial problem” as a B2C thing, a dynamic the retail and auto industry had to worry about. But our hypothesis was a bit different: that as Millennials joined B2B buying committees, they influenced purchasing decisions in very real ways. And that maybe they were even bringing their B2C buying behaviors into the B2B world.
Executing the Idea: Doing Research
To get inside the mind of the Millennial buyer, as well as other generations of B2B buyers, we teamed up with our friends at Heinz Marketing to conduct a survey into generational buying preferences.
We put together a comprehensive survey digging into the behaviors of B2B buyers across generations.
- How do you typically discover a new product/solution?
- When in your decision-making process do you typically communicate with the company’s sales rep?
- What factors are most important when evaluating a solution?
- What do you hate when being sold/marketed to?
We built the survey as a SnapApp and collected the data throughout June 2017.
Building the Foundation: From Results to Content Creation
Over 500 B2B buyers across different generations responded to our survey. And after spending some time poring over the data, the results were clear: Millennials were having a big impact on B2B buying and even having an influence on how the other generations made decisions. (To learn more about what the survey actually found, check out this blog post.)
After agreeing on a narrative to tell the results story in a compelling way, we brainstormed a number of different types of content to create. The goal was to give our audience multiple ways to digest the research findings and give individuals more choice in how they engaged with us.
Another key decision: we opted to ungate all of our content related to the research (we’ve actually ungated all of our content at SnapApp, but that’s a story for another blog post!).
The survey and related content is more about high-level awareness and engagement at the top of the funnel, vs. a harder, lower-funnel sell that’s all about us. We wanted readers to be able to get the value of the content without fear of being subscribed to marketing emails for all of eternity!
The very first piece of content we created was a short quiz that challenged marketers to answer the question “Do you know B2B buyers?” The idea was to pique interest in the survey and results, ultimately driving individuals to sign up for an upcoming webinar that dug more deeply into the research.
Interactive white paper
We also created a more traditional survey report, but, you know, made it interactive. This made it possible for those who really wanted to get into the details to have an easy-to-reference doc to do so.
Our big push in the first month after launching the research was driving folks to sign up for a live webinar. This would be an opportunity for readers to get more in-depth insights from the report authors on the results and what they mean, and also ask questions live.
This was the sole piece of content that required an email address, and that was so we could send information to log in on webinar day.
One of the survey questions was an open response asking “What do you hate most about sales and marketing?” And we got an earful. There were lots of great, insightful comments, as well as some starightup amusing ones.
This gave us a spark of inspiration – what if we take a page from the Mean Tweets format and get our own sales team to read some of the responses?
We created a series of blog posts related to the content, both at launch and beyond. These included:
Buying profiles overview
As a follow up to our webinar, we developed an interactive piece that highlighted the key differences between buyers of different generations and ways to actually market to them.
All of our generational research-related content is housed on one resources page, so we can easily direct those interested to it.
Getting the Word Out: Promotion
Just because we prioritized creating interactive content didn’t mean that we could slack in the promotion department. Interactive content, like any other content type, needs to be put in front of people to drive engagement.
So we came up with a comprehensive promotion strategy across different channels including:
We gave key members of the media early access to the survey results. After the official launch, we expanded our target list to the broad marketing media.
Our research and related content was a key theme on social not just at launch, but over the course of the weeks and months after.
We still incorporate key stats in our promo.
Inclusion in newsletters
We featured the research and webinar as core content in our monthly marketing newsletter to drive attendance.
The research was a key feature at our fall events as well. We incorporated the stats into our presentations, and also created collateral to give to attendees, driving them to the research resources page.
So what happened?
A lot happened as a result. First, some of the very tangible things – hard metrics in the first 60-90 days:
- Mentions in targeted marketing media, including Chief Marketer and MediaPost
- 1,000+ views of the blog post series
- 230+ webinar registrants
- 100+ social media mentions
- 1,700+ impressions on related interactive content
What we also found is that the research benefitted us in another, probably even bigger way – it’s helped shape what we actually do as marketers. Consider the finding that B2B buyers, regardless of generation, don’t want to download white papers. Guess what? We’re de-prioritizing our own focus on white papers.
This experience led me to a few key realizations about campaigns that I’ll carry forward as we plan the rest of Q4 and into 2018.
Talk about things people care about. The topic was relevant, practical, and hit a nerve – there are so many things changing for B2B marketers and they’re looking for reasons to explain why, reasons why the old methods aren’t working. Find the topics your audience is talking about, the things that actually matter, and figure out how you can grab onto those ideas to help build engagement.
Create multiple content types. We created A LOT of content around the survey, and it worked – we got more eyes on this collective set of content than most other campaign themes. And while each piece required some work, the core theme and message was consistent throughout, meaning that instead of coming up with net new concepts each time, we were able to build off and repurpose the material developed before. This made it easier for not only us to create the content but also for our audience to easily pick and choose what content they wanted to consume based on individual preferences.
Promote, promote, then promote again. It’s not enough to just launch a campaign and let it be – you need to rehash, repurpose, and reuse to get attention. To this day, we’re still working on additional ways to further the generational buying differences messages, finding new ways to get the ideas in front of broader audiences.