Good things come to those who wait . . . unless you’re a modern B2B marketer.
In today’s shifting digital world, marketers have to constantly think outside the box. Experimenting is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.
I spoke with 13 B2B marketing leaders about how they experiment with their content.
You can read how each of these leaders experiment with content below.
Val produced a series of videos that were professionally produced but not scripted at all. She didn’t know the questions that would be asked of her until she was in front of the camera.
They wanted something in the thought leadership space, something to convey what they are thinking rather than what research they’ve done. Those 15-20 video clips turned out to be very popular.
They’ve also played around with different webinar formats: slides in a presentation, more casual Q&A’s, and panels. Val’s now convinced that in the more interactive events, there’s something that happens when there is no script. Her audience seems to resonate with that.
Andrew’s team is always looking at ways to move a conversation in a different direction.
Their experimentation often comes more in the topics themselves, trying to drive a conversation that isn’t happening. In the areas where they play, there’s a lot of repetition. So Nuix is always floating new ideas out there, even if those ideas are cavalier or not the most natural thought you would have around the topic.
From a tactical perspective, they’re always trying to send different types of content to different personas. They’ve experimented with different writing styles, lengths, and imagery to see what makes a difference.
The Cvent team has an experimental philosophy for everything they do—from websites to email campaigns.
We do email A/B testing for subject lines and content. They’re doing a lot of testing on the digital side too, trying out different content, designs, and form placements.
They’ve also been doing a good amount of real-time personalization in the last 6 months. It’s easy to test different content with real-time personalization.
“I think that experimentation is key,” Diana told me.
Segment just put out their first ebook, and they’re assessing how effective it has been, including the quality of the leads they’ve received.
Traditionally, Segment had written very technical, in-depth content for developers. As they move up market, they’re now wondering if there's more opportunity for, not lighter pieces exactly, but more leadership-centered pieces. They’re testing content that isn’t as “how-to” focused.
At a granular level, Dan and his team track engagement with their content. Much of their experimentation comes from measuring that engagement.
They look at every channel and experiment with different headlines or calls-to-action. Different channels, different language, different forms.
Obviously, personalization is best, and different channels allow for different levels of personalization.
Erin experiments regularly. Though few of those experiments are life-changing or world-changing, she believes it's having that experimentation mentality that enables you to discover so many small things that can make a difference.
Things like which content to use on your pricing pages, or how lengthy your newsletters should be.
As an example, they learned by experimenting that they get really great response sending webinar invites out on Sundays.
Most of the experimentation that Jibe does is around email subject lines and advertising text.
The mechanisms are in place for them to do a lot of A/B testing with that area. The tools they use—especially around email—make it extremely easy to test.
It becomes harder with forms of content outside of email, though. With blog posts, for example, JIbe is focused on converting to organic search and SEO, so if they start changing headlines they lose potential search value.
Right now, experimentation for Gusto is all about seeing how different types of campaigns work and finding the most effective ways to engage people who visit their site.
They do A/B testing once visitors reach that site, but their experimentation is really much more about trying different things to see what resonates and leads to newsletter or product sign-ups.
Checking downloads is the main way Janet measures her experiments.
As far as what those experiments are, her team is using technologies that allow them to offer multiple pieces of content. The question is, what’s working to get people to consume that piece of content? Then how long do they spend on it?
Janet is able to answer those questions with data, and then she assesses what’s working and what isn’t.
Aaron is a huge fan of A/B testing and being very specific about measuring results.
His plan? Do more A/B testing with paid social to identify the content that will resonate most. Then, he plans to see if there’s a way to translate those results for different buyer personas.
If you’re not experimenting in a digital world, you won’t survive.
As you can see, you don’t need to throw everything out the window and leap blindly into an arena you have no familiarity with. Sometimes, experimenting involves just a little tinkering here, a little rephrasing there.
What it does mean is that you can’t sit still and expect to keep up in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.
James Carbary is the founder of Sweet Fish Media, a podcast agency for B2B brands. He’s a contributor for the Huffington Post & Business Insider, and he also co-hosts the B2B Growth Show: a daily podcast dedicated to helping B2B marketers achieve explosive growth.