What is content bingeing and how can B2B marketers prepare for it?
With heaps of content available online, customers can more easily binge than ever before. Michael King explores how B2B marketers can prepare for this new way of information consumption
What exactly is content bingeing?
Bingeing isn’t solely the preserve of Netflix and YouTube addicts. B2B buyers binge on content too. According to a Salesforce Pardot blog, content bingeing is a response triggered by fear: a customer knows they need to make a big purchase decision quickly, but they might not want to engage with a member of the sales team so early in the buying process. As a result, buyers will consume as much information as they can to educate themselves about a particular product prior to purchase.
The types of binge-worthy content available to customers are wide-ranging and include whitepapers, case studies, videos, podcasts, and SlideShare presentations, and usually fall into two categories: single theme and customer journey.
- Single-theme content
Choosing a specific theme and producing content around this over a period of time is one approach that may benefit marketers. For example, if an IT buyer wants to know how to network data sets together more effectively, they may want to read content about the technology, and which types are available to help solve this problem. But if you’re plumping for this method, you must use personality to attract prospects.
“If your content doesn’t have personality, people won’t want to interact with more than a couple of assets,” explains Mark Kember, head of content at marketing agency Onebite. “Personally I wouldn’t continue listening or reading something that was dry or boring, and I won’t make an exception in my work interests either. Diving into areas like compliance regulations in the banking sector can be a real challenge, but that doesn’t mean content that explains and puts this into context has to be dry as well.”
- Customer journey content
The other option is to focus on the customer journey and create content that relates to the specific questions customers want answered during their content binge. “The most important thing to remember here is that the content journey fits with common customer requirements and issues, and that people can move themselves on through the process in order to discover more,” Mark adds. “Options include directing readers on to the most appropriate next piece of content through website links or directing them to videos at the end of content pieces.”
How can marketers prepare for content bingeing?
Marketers have a wide variety of content formats at their fingertips, but blogs and videos provide a big opportunity for grabbing the attention of would-be buyers. “People like to binge on blogs, particularly the easily digestible ones,” says Ellen Gomes, senior content marketing manager at Marketo. “And videos because they’re very consumable; marketers have the option of creating short and fast videos that bridge to the next relevant topic.”
B2B marketers preparing for content bingeing should ensure content can be easily found on their website so people can quickly move through their bingeing journey. Using the right piece of technology could be the best solution. “With the right technology, a marketer can dynamically offer the next piece of content on the right channel, whether that’s via a website, social media or email,” says Ellen. “A solution could be to email prospects the next piece, offer it on your website, or show it on an ad and then gather customer information so you can nimbly and quickly give them the next piece.”
Adding value is a prerequisite for asking customers to provide their personal details. Ellen recommends ensuring the customer is receiving high-quality content before personal information is collected with gated content. “If you’re offering a high-value asset, like an exclusive report, then it’s reasonable to ask them for an email,” she says. "We try not to gate content that builds awareness, and then gate about 50% of our mid-funnel content that’s intended to educate customers. We also un-gate bottom-of-the-funnel content because we don’t want to create a barrier for a buying decision.”
In essence, marketers must remember prospects not only want to binge on lots of content to help them make decisions, but they want content that is valuable and helps them to solve a particular problem, wherever they may be in the buying process.
While traditional content formats, such as case studies and whitepapers, are still relevant marketers shouldn’t be afraid to explore digital formats, particularly blogs and videos.
James Foulkes, co-founder of Kingpin Communications, recently cited IDG research that said buyers are willing to sit through a 17-minute video if it provides them with an in-depth product review that helps them make a purchase. This is surprising, given conventional marketing wisdom that suggests a customers' attention spans are dwindling due to the sheer volume of content available online.
So have a think about the kind of content that will help propel your brand’s position in the marketplace, as well as its chances of catching the watchful eye of would-be buyers on Google’s search rankings. And stock your shelves accordingly so you’re prepared for the next drove of content bingers. You won’t regret it.