Content marketing is continuously evolving, and the format of content is no exception. New B2B content tools are now available offering marketers an interactive, and engaging format to break away from traditional PDFs, and have access to in-depth analytics on the performance of each content piece.

Napier recently held a webinar ‘Don’t Get Left Behind: Next Generation B2B Content Tools’ and explored:

  • The importance of content marketing
  • Why today’s solutions don’t work
  • Why PDFs suck
  • The route to success with engaging formats and great analytics
  • Introduction to Turtl

Register to view our webinar on demand by clicking here, and why not get in touch to let us know if our insights helped you.

Napier Webinar: ‘Don’t Get Left Behind: Next Generation B2B Content Tools’ Transcript

Speakers: Mike Maynard

Hi, everyone, and thank you for joining the latest Napier webinar. This is quite exciting, this webinar is going to be talking about next generation content tools. So it combines two things I really care about. One is content for marketing purposes. And the other is technology. So I mean, for me, this is a really exciting webinar. Because there’s a lot we can do from this, that’s going to be actionable. And I’m going to present the webinar and then we’ll obviously invite any questions you have after the webinar. So if you do have anything you’d like to ask, feel free to put it into the chat. And I’ll try and cover any questions we get at the end.

So to start with, this is all about not getting left behind. It’s about the next generation of content tools that are really starting to have an impact on b2b marketing. And when we look at content, what do we want to do? Well, we want to have tools that are great for creating content, tools that engage the audience. And we also need tools that actually gather data that’s actionable, that lets you feed back into your next steps either to optimise your campaigns generally, or alternatively, to optimise your campaigns on a personal basis with personalization. So this is what we’re looking for. But what do we have today? Well, today, pretty much a lot of our content goes out as PDF. And I don’t really want to skew the debate, but I hate PDFs. Let’s be honest, when PDFs came out, they were pretty amazing. But this was 25 years ago, maybe 30 years ago. And PDFs are fundamentally based on the print publishing model. You create something and then you distribute it to a lot of people. I mean, this model is 400 years old, why are we still creating PDFs, that are based upon a really old model and using that for most of our content? You know, PDFs? Yes, they do ensure things look consistent. And that was a big deal. At the time they first came out, but they’re rigid. They’re very hard to personalise. And they tell me nothing about what the person who received the PDF found interesting. In fact, they don’t even tell me if the person who received the PDF, actually open the document. And so PDFs really have had their day. And I’m looking for an opportunity to find content generation tools and content platforms that are going to provide a much better experience both for me as a marketer, and also for the audience’s I’m trying to reach.

So how do we get here, I mean, I referenced the introduction of PDFs, I think it’s important to know where we are now and the expectations of the audience’s that we’re trying to target in b2b technology in terms of the content they want. So back in the 1990s, it was really the offline era, it’s when PDFs came in and started to really be very common. And what was happening was, typically, we weren’t emailing either PDFs or PowerPoints or Word documents. So we were sending content, but it was relatively low tech, it certainly wasn’t in any way engaged. And at the turn of the century, we moved into a broadcast area. So we started having things like content management systems, and also customer relationship management systems, and email tools that actually made it easier to broadcast content. So we started being able to get content more easily out to people, rather than just simply, you know, emailing on a one to one basis, a PDF or a PowerPoint. We move forward 10 years to 2010s. And that became the customer that this was really the decade of people understanding the importance of personas. And so here, in the last 10 years, we’ve really been focused on creating content that’s optimised around a group of people or a persona. It creates much better engagement, and is a really effective way to improve our content. But it’s still fundamentally a broadcast approach. However, now in the 2020s, I think the world has changed. And we’re now in what Accenture called in the Harvard Business Review the relationship era. And we’re now at a point where really to be effective in marketing, you have to be able to create one to one relationships digitally. And that means you have to personalise on a one to one on an individual basis. And this is certainly something where the PDF really can’t go any further. I’m creating Seeing you know, personalised PDFs is very difficult. distributing them is also difficult. And so we need a new and better solution. But the important thing is, we’re all busy.

So we need to look at what the trade off is between effectiveness and efforts. And here’s a really simple graph, comparing the effectiveness of content to the amount of effort required to create it. So if we look on the left hand side, we’ve got things like Word documents, PowerPoints, PDFs, static kind of content, it’s not personalised, it’s not customised. It’s generally less effective. But it’s super easy to create. We all love creating PowerPoints, you know, and probably we all create too many. So I think, you know, it’s easy, but less effective. And we move beyond the document format to the middle of the screen, and we start looking at, you know, marketing tools, which could be things like content management systems on your website. It could be interactive content, maybe in some email tools. And they certainly are more effective because they become more personalised. And they’re also more engaging, people have more of an opportunity to pick the content they like. But they are becoming quite hard to create. And then today, if we look at marketing automation, marketing automation platforms can be very, very effective, you can create highly personalised, highly engaged content through marketing automation. But it’s fundamentally a specialist job to create that content. And so marketing automation tools are typically hard to use, it’s hard to create that content.

What we really want is we want the best of both worlds, we want something that’s designed to create very engaging, effective content. But it’s also easy to use and doesn’t require specialist knowledge or training. And what we’re going to talk about today is a product called turtle turtle is a content automation platform. So it’s been designed specifically to create content that is used in marketing campaigns. And what we’re going to talk about is why a content automation platform is different from a standard document or marketing tools, or even marketing automation platforms, and what the benefits are, and why you should be looking to use content automation platforms in the future, rather than relying on some of the legacy tools that frankly, have kind of, you know, run out of steam with the demands for more and more personalization. So, content automation platforms, they’re the alternative to PDFs, the thing we need to do clearly, is we need to look at the impact of a content automation tool, versus using a standard PDF.

And there’s been some research that’s been done. And here’s some research produced by turtle, where they found that when you send a document using turtle rather than a PDF, people spend 1,000%, or 10 times more time engaging with the content on turtle versus using a marketing brochure as a PDF. It’s slightly less of an impact on mobile, but it’s still over seven times the amount of time. So just imagine getting your target audience to increase the time they spend looking at content by a factor of seven. That’s incredible. That’s a huge change. And so just changing the format can give you a real benefit in terms of engagement from your audience. And the other thing is that when readers were asked about their perception of brands, and readers receiving the turtle document, were actually five times more likely to perceive a brand in a positive light than just receiving a PDF. I mean, the truth is our audiences, they also don’t like PDFs, PDFs are old. They’re antiquated. They’re inflexible, they don’t make it easy for people to pick out the content that’s relevant. And so actually, we’re doing our readers a favour by sending them a more effective format. And if you want to summarise this, basically, you lose 90% of the engagement on desktop, when you’re sending a PDF, as opposed to using a more modern format. That is a huge impact and something I think that we all want to try and avoid. Now, I mentioned this earlier, but it’s not just content and turtles been designed. And we’ll talk a little bit about the turtle platform specifically, and some of its features in a minute. It’s been designed to provide content that is in gauging that gap grabs the reader’s attention. But to me, that’s not really the most exciting thing, the most exciting thing is the data you get. You know, we’re all in marketing, we all understand the importance of data. And the tracking and analytics provided by turtle are incredible. And the value they provide can actually transform how you approach marketing campaigns.

So turtle offers you the capability to actually keep track of almost every interaction from an individual user. So if we look at what’s happening there and your user, we know, when they turn a page, that means we know how long they spend looking at a page. We know when they look at the contents menu, we know when they fill in a form, we know when they watch a video, we know when they listen to audio. And we can map this all down. And we can map this on both an individual and also on a general aggregate level. So we can understand what individuals are doing. And we can also optimise the content to appeal to the majority of the audience. This is something we can’t even begin to do when we look at PDF, because we have none of this data. And so we can personalise and personalization is really important. I mean, I think, you know, we all understand that personalization is key. Hopefully the Accenture report I presented earlier gives you an idea of the importance of personalization. Research says that 74% of people are frustrated when they get generic content. It’s not personalised and not relevant. And we know this, we know three quarters of our audience want personalised content, because actually, when you ask marketers 98% of marketers say that they believe customers expect personalised experiences. And that really matters. And it matters in terms of the bottom line as well.

So some research by McKinsey actually found that personalization of content ultimately drives an increase in sales. And McKinsey found that by personalising content, you can increase sales revenue by five to 15%. That’s a big jump in the number of sales you get, just by doing marketing in a more personalised way by using modern marketing tools. So to create personalization, and to make use of the data, we need platforms that can actually process the data. And obviously, one of the key areas we’re going to process marketing data is in our marketing automation platforms. So a typical marketing automation platform has maybe five elements to it. So companies that are using marketing automation, they want to have better targeting. They obviously want automation to save time. They want analytics. They need scalability, and they want to create engagement. Now initially, you might say, well, turtle, it’s a content automation platform that’s staying in the engagement sector. But that’s not true. If we look at modern content platforms, they can help you across the whole range of areas, that market automation adds value, from the ability to provide data over what your audience is looking at, and therefore what they’re interested in. And therefore how you can target them all the way through to offering a scalable platform that can generate personalised content for large number of people without needing a lot of manual efforts. And so, having a content automation platform is really key as part of a marketing automation strategy. A turtle, they’ve run some tests, they use HubSpot as their marketing automation. And they’ve seen almost a 60% increase in opening rate of content. And over a doubling in terms of click throughs. When using marketing that is based upon a content automation platform, so a much more modern format. So what we can do is we can add to total personalization to any marketing stack. So any marketing technology stack. And turtle is really interesting because it offers a number of ways to drive that personalization engine. And this is great because it means there’s not one size fits all. So sometimes you’re going to want self service personalization. So as an example, someone comes they watch, they find a turtle document, they select a few things within a form inside the turtle document and that will then serve them slightly different content based upon what they say their interests are. So self service personalization. batch file personalization is very simple. That’s up loading of a spreadsheet to create a large number of versions of a document each one personalised to the individual. Or if you’re using the marking automation tool, you can actually do that all automatically through the API. And finally, Turtle also offers functionality that will allow people to personalise the document before they enter it. So answer a couple of questions. And they will then receive a personalised virtual document. And it’s important to say with turtle is, we’re not looking at personalization in the way of just putting a company name or a logo, or an individual’s name on a document. I mean, yes, absolutely. The technology exists to do that. But the personalization goes way beyond that. It’s all about what content you include. And it’s whether you add or remove certain topics. And indeed, which order you want to serve those topics up. So you can have complete flexibility in how that documents built, again, something that’s incredibly difficult to do if you’re building content as a PDF. So how does this all impact our workflow? We’ve we’ve got this ability to create content, we’ve got this ability to personalise content. But what does it mean in terms of our campaigns? Well, this is what we’re going to talk about next. And typically, we see something like this as a workflow.

So what will happen is we’ve got a Contact Relationship Management System CRM, we’ve got a bunch of contacts, or it could be a marketing automation system, we want to run a campaign to them, we already know a little bit about that individual, you know, not least, we probably know their name, we probably know their company name. But we might also know job titles, or, you know, other demographic information, very simple stuff, that’s going to point us to the kind of topics that a particular person will be interested in. So as an example, I might be running a campaign for a technology product. And I might be tight trying to target an engineering department, and also the C suite, those two audiences would need very different content. But I can do is I can pull the data from CRM, I can personalise the document, using the turtle personalization engine, and that can either be automatic through the API, or by uploading a spreadsheet. And so you can have things like the company name for sure. But also you can show, you know, for example, financial information to the C suite. Whereas for the engineers, you might want to show technical information, we then run a campaign, the campaign goes out to our audience, and the audience interacts with the document. And we already know from the research, the audience is going to interact more than they would do with a PDF. But we will know from the analytics, which pages they looked at who looked at which page, how long they spent, and so we start getting more information about our contacts. So we might find, for example, that we have, you know, a group of engineering managers who actually look at financial information more than they look at technical. And then perhaps the lower level engineers are more focused on technical features, rather than financial. So we start pulling that in. And that’s amazing, because we take that data, and we can do two things. One is we can actually learn from that and build better campaigns next time.

But also, we can feed the information about what interests each individual back into our CRM or our marketing automation system, so that our next campaign is going to be even more personalised. And he you see an overview in the table of some of the things you can do, from you know, segmenting the contacts in the CRM, all the way through to applying personalised emails based upon what people did when they interacted with the turkey documents. So what does this mean? Well, what it means is that if we are creating a campaign, and we’re using a modern document format, we’re actually creating a much more effective campaign, integrating it with our marketing technology stack, we’ll be able to understand who’s engaged who’s in market Who’s ready for outreach, this is the ultimate and lead qualification today, if you look at marketing automation, a lot of lead qualification is done on either email clicks or form fills. And they’re both very, very crude metrics. I mean, they’re absolutely better than not having anything. But what we can sell is we can sell not only who spends time looking at a document looking at content using a modern platform, but we can also look at whether people are looking at information that is more top of the funnel, or more towards the bottom of the funnel, where for whereby they’re in market ready to buy, and they’re the people we need to talk to. It’s much easier to do that, sending them a document and then analysing their engagement with a document than it is to try and do a sequence of emails, each one targeting a different stage of the funnel and then trying to To judge engagement from that. So it makes it very simple to understand where people are in the customer journey. I’ve mentioned about gathering data. And this is absolutely important not only at the personal level, but also the general level. So we can actually gain insight that’s going to let us understand what’s the best channel and the best messaging that resonates with our audience. For every campaign, we go forward. So every time we run campaigns like this, our marketing gets more intelligent and more effective. And finally, by understanding the customer journey more and getting more actionable data on who’s ready to buy, and who’s merely looking, and probably some way off, we can actually help not only integrate marketing and sales, but make that whole process more predictable. And that will also help in terms of identifying outcomes, or identifying who’s at the bottom of the funnel, it’s going to make it much easier for us to assess the likely return on investment, as we move that campaign, from the initial outreach with content through to trying to close with the sales team.

So I’m just going to talk a little bit about turtle now. I mean, obviously, we’ve talked about content. And there are a number of content automation platforms available. We personally believe that turtle is a long way ahead of the others. And that’s why Napier has signed up with a partnership. So hopefully, you’ll excuse the promotion of turtle, although a lot of the features are available on some of the other systems. So turtle basically has four elements. And these are the four elements you need in the Content Automation system, you need something that provides a great format for reading and engaging with content, you need a tool that makes it easy to create that content. So the content production needs to be easy. We’ve talked about personalization, personalization is really hard. And if a tool is not designed to personalise at scale, then it’s not going to work. And so a rapid personalization engine is crucial. And lastly, you need the insight from the behaviour. So you need to better understand the behaviour of everybody on the different documents, and then gain insight from what they’ve done. So we’ll look at each of these in turn, the reading format has, you know, three key elements. It’s highly visual. It’s explorative. So the reader actually chooses their own journey. And it’s interactive.

All three of these things are based on psychological research, that not only determines what’s going to cause the greatest engagement, but also what’s going to cause the highest level of recall. So by creating something that’s visual that people can choose their journey through. And that involves some degree of clicking and engagement, you’re going to get generate content that is much more effective than simply sending a PDF and having a passive reading experience. So the reading format has been designed specifically to optimise the results. content production has been designed to simplify the process. So perhaps most important is the control of the brand. Like many content systems, Turtle actually basically gives you training wheels, so you’re creating content, but turtle is guiding you to make sure that everything is on brand, whether that be fonts or colours, or layout or anything else. So it makes it very easy to design stuff on brand. And the contents modular, we can pull modules in from one document to another, which is incredibly useful. Because quite often there are typically pages that we want to reuse in different documents makes it very quick to generate new content. And turtles always up to date. I mean, one of the challenges with PDF is it tends to be something that is sent to a reader. And then they may hang on to it, whether that’s an email or whether they’ve downloaded it. And any updates we make subsequently will not impact the PDF that’s on any of our audiences PCs.

However, Turtle by being natively online will always be up to date. And that’s not only in terms of what you’re having in the content, but also in terms of the brand and you can actually automate brand updates through circle. So all documents get updated without needing any kind of manual intervention. And it removes that really painful process when a brand is changed or logos modified. And you have to go through and recreate all those PDFs. And ultimately, turtles research has found that content production costs can drop by up to 90%. And content is produced 80% faster. So huge benefits in terms of generating content. I’ve talked a lot about personalization and personalization really, really matters. And so we can do one to one personalization either forms within the document, or forms prior to opening the document that allow people to select, you know, anything. And this form can be completely flexible. So it could be based upon the industry or in the location you are, or something that’s purely individual. And that will allow the document to be customised. And as I say, it could be anything from company name, all the way through to the actual content of the document and the order of the pages appear. We can actually create large outbound campaigns by creating customised content at scale from a spreadsheet, or we can actually automate that completely by integrating our marketing stack or a marketing automation platform with turtle to automatically send out customised documents. So customization becomes very, very easy and very quick. And then the insights and this, to me is the most valuable part of turtle is understanding what parts of your content have actually generated a response from your audience.

And what parts frankly, they’re bored with. So you can do this on different levels. So you can look at individuals, and you can actually follow an individual through a reading journey you could look at, you know which pages they looked at, and how long they spent looking at the pages. You can see the sections and the interest readers as well as the content they skip. And you can pull this all together. So you can actually plan future campaigns or future messaging. Because you know, what it resonates with your audience, you know, what they care about, you know, what they spend time reading. And so it gives you far more intelligence to create better campaigns in the future. And the structure of turtle and you’ll probably have noticed this is a turtle document is that you have the main page called a surf page, which highlights a topic. And then you have pages they call immerse pages, where you go into details, this is obviously a most page. So you can look at who clicks through from the surf page to the immerse pages to find more information. And you can look at who looks at a topic title, and just skip through it because it is relevant. So it gives you data at a really granular level. And what this does is it changes the way we generate content. And so when you first use a new content automation platform, you’re initially going to have benefits of a more engaging format. PDF is not engaging, it’s very functional. And certainly there’s lots of engineers that are still going to be reading PDF data sheets in 10 years time, I’ve got no doubt. But for marketing content, PDF is not very effective, and tends to be fairly unengaging. And so your your benefit on day one is more engaging content. But what happens is, is that data that you get takes you through different stages. And we work with clients to go from this, you know, initial stage of more engagement through to being able to generate strategies based on data. And then personalised content, and then actually trying to converge and looking at what content is driving the results. So we start doing a data driven approach toward content. And ultimately, you can even have a fully automated system, where your marketing automation is driving the creation of highly customised and highly personalised content based upon a library of pages.

And so you can move from a situation where you start with just a more engaging format, and you end up delivering content, that is exactly what the reader wants. And he knows exactly what the reader wants, because you’ve driven that content through data and analysis, and not through, you know, marketing guesswork. So, in summary, I would say there’s a huge opportunity for people, you know, but what we need to do is we all need to think about a better way to do things. PDF, yes, it’s probably still gonna stay for things like technical data sheets. But in terms of marketing, let’s make content better. And let’s actually make our readers enjoy reading our marketing content more than they do at the moment. It’s getting them more engaged, and ultimately, let’s generate better results. So that’s an overview of turtle and where we see content going.

If anyone’s got any questions, I’d be really happy to ask them. So feel free to put questions into the chat. Okay, I think I’ve only got one question at the moment, which is regarding the cost of turtle. And the answer to that is it’s actually quite a complex answer. So turtles starts off, literally at a low hundreds of pounds a month as a content automation platform, but then there’s more and more features that are available. And as you scale up, turtle will then become, you know, more expensive, particularly as you use more enterprise level features. But at the low level, the introductory level, and you can create 10s of concept of turtle documents, you can use those widely. And you also get things like the data and some personalization features. So, Turtle actually is not an expensive tool to start off with. And it’s really only when you want highly complex API integrations, that you’re going to start seeing it taking a significant part of your marketing budget. So thank you for that question. I don’t think there are any more questions in the chat. If anybody has any questions, please, please feel free to contact me. And I think most people know, my email is Mike at Napier b2b dot com. Send me an email with a question or if you’d like to see circle, inaction and how it can help you obviously we’d be more than happy to do that. Thanks very much for your time. I really appreciate it and I look forward to seeing your questions.