Information availability is arguably one of the seismic trends shaping our industry. The mass of content available to consumers is empowering and emboldening them to make their own buying decisions. At the same time, marketers are finding it more and more challenging to know when and how to engage these people.
Not too long ago, industry chatter suggested that pharmaceutical marketers need to satisfy the consumer demand for full-service brands—by providing support and resources beyond product and price to win business. We don’t disagree.
But we would assert that we live in an age of information overload—not just availability—and that content has to work a lot harder to prove its value to consumers and cut through the advertising and marketing clutter.
The challenge of information overavailability
As marketers, we have been so focused on producing pieces of content—videos, ebooks, infographics and the like—that we may have lost sight of the experience that our audiences are actually having (or trying to have) with a brand.
Are we flooding consumers with static content for passive consumption? Has the fill-out-the-form-for-your-free-ebook approach become stale? Do we even know if they’re reading the ebook once they retrieve it, and reaping the value we intended? Are we creating “artificial” conversion events in the absence of genuine engagement?
Then the question becomes: How can we help audiences acquire the information they want in more effective and engaging ways—and make the investment in content more meaningful?
The beauty in creating a compelling interaction
We would argue that a single, well-conceived online interaction has the power to move consumers in ways that new technologies and wholesale shifts in thinking can’t. And that we need to focus on creating a consultative and useful experience that matches the right content to the right prospects, and makes that content faster and easier to consume.
Enter the marketing app or web micro-service—lightweight, interactive web and mobile touch points that provide functionality, logic and multi-stepped flows. Think of them as vehicles for “doing, not just viewing.” They’re hand-tailored dialogues, if you will, that are unique to your brand, actively engage your audience and enrich the personal interaction.
- Blackbaud University’s Realize Real Results campaign does a brilliant job of matching the right prospects with the right content in a highly entertaining way.
- Prudential’s Bring Your Challenges website offer a variety of apps, like Map My Retirement, that simply helps people find out what it will cost to live in their favorite city when they’re done working.
- Endicia’s interactive Package Returns infographic helps e-commerce customers get a handle on how their returns policies are stacking up against best practices.
A better journey for buyers
A recent study by the research firm Demand Metric, Enhancing the Buyer’s Journey, examined the performance differences between B2C and B2B active and passive content across a number of different industries.
The results are awesome. Active content was a whopping 7 times more effective at educating buyers and 3 times more likely to convert them than passive content, and delivered a much greater rate of sharing and brand preference.