More Than Downloads:

How Interactive And Video Content Are Enhancing B2B Marketing

Brian Anderson, News Editor • Published August 24, 2016

Demand Gen Report

Unlike traditional content formats that primarily offer downloads and click-throughs, progressive marketers such as FedEx and Militello Capital prove that video and interactive content provide deeper engagement with potential customers that are interacting with their brands.

Marketers that are leveraging interactive content

— Content Marketing Institute

According to a recent study from the Content Marketing Institute, more than half (53%) of content marketers are leveraging interactive content in their initiatives. A majority of those marketers are seeing success with that content as well: Two-thirds (66%) of respondents agree that their audience engagement has increased since their companies started using interactive content tactics.

Insight gained from buyer engagement with interactive content is not only beneficial to the content team, but also to a variety of other departments within a B2B organization.

“Sales and service teams can become better informed of buyer behavior and preferences,” said Derek Edmond, Managing Partner of KoMarketing Associates, a B2B online marketing company specializing in content marketing and SEO. “Senior marketers can leverage data to determine how effectively they are addressing buyer problems and needs, as well as communicating their own organization's value propositions.”

Other examples of how this engagement data from interactive content can be leveraged include:

Segmentation: It can help segment your audience for better messaging and targeting further along the sales funnel.

Lead Nurturing: Insight into prospects’ previous engagement with video and interactive content can enable nurture teams to move leads along the sales funnel with relevant and contextual messaging.

Product Development: Engagement data can help companies identify pain points experienced by their target audience that can be developed into new features or solutions.

Cross-selling and Upselling: Information gathered from a client’s path to purchase can highlight opportunities for additional product sales and increase their customer lifetime value.

Read on to learn how engagement metrics gathered from video and interactive content not only provide deeper insight into prospective buyers, but also position B2B companies with the insights they need to make intelligent business decisions throughout the organization.

"Interactive content is a more engaging, ‘sticky’ experience that leads to more relevant conversations with the sales team."

- David Rewalt, Militello Capital

The Full-Funnel Value Of Interactive And Video Content

While interactive and video content are often perceived as formats more suitable for the top of the funnel, industry experts agree that they can impact multiple levels of the sales funnel, depending on tactical objectives.

Experience Militello Capital's living infographic

“A great quiz or survey, in coordination with a research report, can help vendors learn more about buyer problems and decision factors at the top of the funnel,” Edmond said, “whereas a good interactive experience in association with a technology solution may better influence the sales process.”

One of the common hurdles that B2B companies face when leveraging these types of content is actively measuring engagement. Tools such as Vidyard and Ion Interactive enable marketers to integrate engagement data into the user’s marketing automation platform. For example, David Rewalt, Director of Marketing at the private equity investment firm Militello Capital, can tie engagement data from its interactive and video content into HubSpot to enhance lead scores, as well as connect engagement to revenue.

“Having analytics that can show the journey to the content, then to the conversion, is crucial,” Rewalt noted in an interview with Demand Gen Report. “Measure it to the best of your abilities. The good news is that you can build a tech stack with everything [available] in the market.”

Watch The Video Militello Capital Created As Part Of The Campaign


Rewalt said that when he joined the company, his team was mainly creating white papers for their audience. Since then, the company has built a complex interactive infographic — which also incorporates video content — to enhance engagement with investment advisors looking to help educate their clients on possible investment types.

Standard white papers averaged a 1.5% conversion rate, while the interactive infographic has averaged a 6.4% conversion rate. Militello Capital has also seen four times as much traffic go to the infographic compared to their standard content.

“It's a more engaging, ‘sticky’ experience that leads to more relevant conversations with the sales team,” Rewalt concluded.

However, just because you can use an interactive or video content format doesn’t mean you should. Dana Harder, VP of Client Strategy at Content4Demand, noted that it’s important to prepare the right messaging for your target audience before you consider how it’s transmitted.

“I think [interactive content] is cross-functional; I really dislike pigeonholing format types,” Harder said. “You should be driving content direction by messaging, then choose the best format type to tell that story. If the best format type is interactive, no matter where it is in the funnel, then that is what you should use.”

"Everyone wants conversions, but we're aiming for our interactive content to educate our audience on the proper way to ship, so the customer journey has no speedbumps."

- Danny Kirkman, FedEx Services

FedEx Small Business Center Sees 5x Growth In Unique Visitors

Another example of how companies are leveraging interactive content effectively is the FedEx Small Business Center, which offers tools and resources for businesses on topics such as freight shipping, e-commerce and global markets.

FedEx's Freight Central guides the customer journey

The company launched six new content experiences in May 2016 designed to educated prospects on freight shipping, classification and international customs compliance. Prior to this interactive content initiative, FedEx Small Business Center had static content pieces and measured no more than who downloaded them.

“Ultimately everyone wants conversions, but we're aiming for our interactive content to educate our audience on the proper way to ship, so the customer journey has no speedbumps,” said Danny Kirkman, Marketing Specialist Advisor at FedEx Services, in an interview with Demand Gen Report.

Measuring this engagement was an initial challenge for FedEx since the company had an in-house database, which meant integrating solutions were challenging. Leveraging Ion Interactive and Adobe Experience Center, FedEx was able to create custom integrations that allowed Kirkman’s team to collect and aggregate prospect engagement data.

During the first two months, Kirkman’s team has had more than 50,000+ unique visitors for its FedEx Freight experience. Previous traditional content formats averaged between 6,000 and 10,000 unique visitors.

By tracking their behavior, FedEx found that 23.8% of engaged viewers were coming from mobile, which highlighted a need for responsive content that could be viewed on any device. Kirkman added that his team “saw a 14% conversion rate on the company’s LTL freight classification tool via mobile.”

“We're getting good response rates; our issue is more about the customer and making sure their journey is finding the content,” Kirkman noted.

FedEx analyzes a handful of metrics, including conversion rates, tool completion rates and arriving on the final screen of the experience. “A lot of people are hitting the ‘start-over’ button, which highlights that they are using the tool multiple times for each shipment they may have,” Kirkman said.

The FedEx Small Business Center plans to expand its interactive and video offerings to a total of 12 experiences. Kirkman said they will also incorporate a YouTube channel to pull video in from there.

“We're moving forward because the content is working, and our prospects are responding, and that's what really matters,” Kirkman concluded.

"If you can increase [lead scores] for someone by serving them up additional content in an interactive asset, all of a sudden you [turned] someone into an MQL without ever sending them another email."

- Dana Harder, Content4Demand

Give The Buyer What They Want

B2B buyers who prefer more interactive and visual content accessible on demand.

— DGR’s Content Preferences Survey Report

Interactive and video content not only provide marketers with more insight, but also enable marketers to give customers and prospects more relevant information in a format that’s easy for their target audience to acces. The Demand Gen Report 2016 Content Preferences Survey Report shows that 84% of B2B buyers prefer more interactive and visual content accessible on demand. Sources noted that there’s no better time to provide more content to the buyer than right when they want it.

“If you can increase [lead scores] for someone by serving them up additional content in an interactive asset, all of a sudden you [turned] someone into an MQL without ever sending them another email,” said Harder. “So it makes you rethink nurture flow and how we serve up new content.”

Experts added that B2B organizations must step out of the siloed world they live in and look at it from the buyer's perspective to effectively leverage interactive and video content. This includes turning to current clients and asking them what resonated the most with them — and what didn’t — during their buying process to engage prospects that are similar to their current client base and deliver what works.

An interactive experience from C4D

“Any time I go to produce content, I take my ideas, and I will run them by current clients,” Rewalt noted. “Now I have an audience perspective before I even produce it. You also want to understand the channels where this content will live to make sure it promotes the most engagement, and understand how you'll measure that engagement.”

Don't gate all of your content, Rewalt added. You get more qualified leads that way. “Downloads cannot tell you whether or not [prospects] are a qualified lead,” he said. “Having them engage prior to download helps provide more context.”

Ultimately, effectively leveraging interactive and video content will be maximized when effective communication between everyone that plays a role in that content’s production is achieved — as well as those who will be promoting the content. This alignment helps streamline the production process and increase the overall value these assets bring to the entire company.

“Take your time, review and come to an agreement with your team,” Kirkman said. “Once you're in the build stage, it's much harder to change.”

"Downloads cannot tell you whether or not [prospects] are a qualified lead."

- David Rewalt, Militello Capital

About The Author

Brian Anderson is an avid B2B journalist with a knack for all things trendy in the automation, Big Data analytics, mobile and social realms of B2B marketing and sales.