A Content Marketing Experiment Results In A Content Marketing Frankenstein

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There’s much debate over which type of content is more effective and more persuasive. I decided to conduct my own focus group. I gathered together several colleagues and ran a few scenarios by each. I then conducted a similar experiment with my kids. I wanted to know, what content is preferred.

When meeting with my colleagues I presented the following scenarios. Below each scenario I’ve summarized the various responses.

Scenario 1: You want a job promotion. You would consume information on “How to Request a Promotion” through which of the following?
a. An eBook entitled “5 Ways to Request a Promotion”
b. A White Paper entitled “A Business Guide to Job Promotions”
c. A Video with role playing “How To Approach Your Boss”
d. An infographic showing stats on % promotions received, cost of living, etc.
e. A Workbook entitled “Questions to Answer Before You Request a Promotion”

The group was split across every option. One person preferred the video because it’s a high stress situation and they’d prefer to see someone walk through the scenario. Someone else preferred the eBook because the information is easily consumable. Another preferred the infographic because of the data available to support their case. The White Paper was selected by someone because they simply prefer to read and they’re skeptical of data and the room for interpretation that can accompany an infographic. Lastly, a colleague selected the workbook because taking notes and interacting would stimulate thoughts and ideas.

Scenario 2: You have a problem you need to solve related to your line of work. Where do you go first for information?
Not surprising almost everyone agreed they would start with a search engine. Most identified Google but someone did prefer Bing. One colleague, however, referenced himself as a “Digital Hoarder” and said he’d look through archived content in his email and hard drive folders. If he couldn’t find the information there, he would turn to Google. Secondary options referenced included books and peer networks.

Scenario 3: You would be more likely to engage with which of the following?
a. Something that scored your performance
b. Something that guided you through performance self improvement
c. Something that discussed trends in business performance

I had one brave colleague admit to the tool that scored performance because they care what people think. Someone else selected content outlining trends in business performance because they want to learn and they don’t care what others think. The others chose a tool that would guide performance improvement.

Scenario 4: What was the last piece of content, business related, you consumed, and why did you read it?

Again, the responses were incredibly varied. Someone consumed business association content via a PPT because they needed a refresher on a previous information dump. Another person read a best practices article that was pushed to them through an email. One colleague read an article on LinkedIn that appealed to them as they were skimming headlines. Someone else selected a user guide from a support site.

I then decided to conduct a similar exercise with my kids. I didn’t run them through scenarios, however, I did place 4 pieces of content in front of them. They could choose between a coloring book, a seek and find book, a Dr. Seuss Book, or a text book on how to write a screenplay. You can view the video below to see which they picked.

When initially approaching this project my hypothesis was that interactive content would always outperform other content mediums. I thought workbooks, games, assessments, and coloring books would dominate amongst the content options. I discovered I was wrong. Not surprisingly, the content that is most effective is the kind that is most relevant to your audience. You need to understand your audience and how they prefer to consume information. You need to deliver information in a manner they want to receive it, and you need to place it where they can also find it. You need to develop content options and create a preference center for your audience. Your audience alone will identify content effectiveness.

How would you have responded to these scenarios?

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Marilyn Cox

Marilyn Cox is the Director of Marketing for Second City Works - the B2B division of the famed Second City.

You know the buzzwords; inbound, outbound, content, demand gen, lead gen, martech, social media, account-based, advocacy, customer success, sales enablement, and analytics.She studies it, plans it, executes it, experiments with it, and loves it.

Through discovery, creation, and innovation she's learned to say "Yes, And".Like business, her career is one big improvisational act.

She leads all aspects of the brand and culture, developing and executing a clearly defined, integrated marketing communications strategy.Marilyn is responsible for planning, organizing, staffing, training, and managing all marketing functions to achieve objectives of growth, awareness, customer success and making work better.

Marilyn exists to empower sales and support the customer. When not geeking out over marketing analytics, she can be found daydreaming about her unrealized dream as a professional wrestler with the WWE.
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