How To Boost Demand Generation With Interactive Content + Marketing Automation

Create an effective revenue generator engine using the right strategy and marketing stack.

Updated: May 20, 2022
Interactive Content + Marketing Automation

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As marketers, we are faced with new challenges every day. The market is continuously changing, and privacy regulations are rising in a landscape disrupted by a pandemic. 

Not only that. It’s getting more difficult to grab our audience’s attention in an increasingly digitalized lifestyle. Audiences have more media at their disposal and are using them simultaneously, for almost 10 and a half hours a day. How can your brand stand out with an ever decreasing attention span?

In this article, we will show how you can overcome these challenges and create a successful demand generation engine using the right tactics and tools. 

I will also describe a few ways we use Rock Content’s interactive content platform, Ion, together with the well-known automation platform Hubspot to increase engagement and accelerate the full buyer’s journey. 

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It starts with content (not any content)

You probably already know it, but it’s always good to remember: content is an essential part of your demand generation strategy. “Content is King,” said Bill Gates back in 1996 and this statement is still valid today.

As much as this statement is still valid, the content landscape has changed a lot since 1996. Some content formats will be more successful than others to stand out in the sea of content available out there. 

Interactive content is the type of content that will look different from the common ones in the eyes of your audience. It will invite the audience to actively participate in the content instead of passively consuming it. This will result in a more engaging experience. 

Do you remember the last personality quiz you took online? Or the last ROI or discount calculator you used? Interactive content is not new. As a matter of fact, the best brands have been using this strategy for years now. 

The New York Times’ most popular story of 2013 was not an article, it was a dialect quiz. Now they have a weekly quiz section, The News Quiz published every Friday that will test readers’ knowledge of the week’s headlines.

But grabbing people’s attention is just the first step. For a business to be successful with content, it will ultimately need to turn this attention into valuable business outcomes.

You might be wondering how you can drive a business outcome with a personality quiz. That’s a matter of using creativity to create content related to your business that will, at the same time, be useful to your audience. Bonus points if you manage to be fun.

Take this Myth Busters quiz example from Sears. They created an interactive quiz to help consumers bust common myths about washing machines. This was part of a campaign that’s been named an Official Honoree in the 20th Annual Webby Awards!

Check out the full experience here.

Quizzes are just one of the interactive content formats that exist. Using an interactive content platform like Ion will give you access to other formats and quick start templates to make interactive content creation fast and easy.

Think of calculators, assessments, solution finders, infographics, ebooks, product tours, white papers… These are just a few interactive formats you can explore. You can even start with a blank canvas to create whatever you need. 

Having an interactive content platform available for you and your team to create content at scale is a good start. After all, you will need a good mix of content formats well distributed in the buyer’s journey to be successful in your demand gen strategy.

The importance of the buyer’s journey

The right content format is important but if your content is not well planned and mapped according to the customer journey you are wasting most of its potential.

So, building a successful demand generation strategy depends also on understanding your buyer’s persona and their journey. 

Now, I cannot emphasize this enough, maybe I should just re-write this article at this point to say “it all starts with the buyer’s journey”. If your content is not mapped and aligned with your buyer’s journey you will probably fail, or at least have a very hard time linking your content to business outcomes.

A great buyer’s journey skillfully answers a series of questions, all while building a personal relationship. Today this journey is increasingly digital, giving marketing and sales teams a huge opportunity to capture useful first-party data to connect with buyers and customers at scale.

Did you say first-party data?

Yes, and it gets better. Interactive content allows you to capture an even better type of first-party data too: declared data. 

Also known as zero-party data, this is information that your customers intentionally share with you, instead of just being captured from analytics and user behaviors.

This can include intentions, preferences, personal context, and so much more. 

The imminent death of the third-party cookie makes it critical to capture first-party data through your content, and that’s just one of the benefits of using an interactive content tool like Ion integrated with your CRM. 

A few examples from Rock Content

Let’s start with a top-of-the-funnel example. Having a content newsletter is one of the best tactics you can use to create your own channels and build a solid relationship with your audience. 

That’s exactly what our own content team at Rock Content did when they decided to create our email newsletter The Beat expecting to achieve increased engagement by making the newsletter interactive. Not to mention all the insights we can get from the content consumption.

Screenshot of The Beat‘s first issue

Rock Content launched The Beat in the beginning of 2022 to bring relevant information to marketing and sales people, not to sell. We bring weekly, every Friday, trends and tips to our US audience, like this article that you are reading now. As a result: the subscribers growth is at a double digit percentage per month, and the e-mail open rates are a lot larger than the promotional ones that we send to our base. That’s a relationship!

More than that: as editors, Ion permits us to track every movement of the audience inside the newsletter to know what they interact with more, and even have quizzes to understand their problems and point of views, so our content team can bring more and more content based on the real problems and doubts of the public. More than a relationship, it’s a conversation. Everything based on data. 

Now another interesting example is this interactive ebook we created in 2021. Ebooks are not new, marketers have been using this for years. 

What’s special about this ebook? It’s interactive. It will gradually collect information that will be used to personalize the content within the experience, making it more relevant to each reader’s profile and preferences instead of just having the usual form gate to download a static PDF.

Also different from static PDFs with no interaction or personalization, this interactive ebook allows us to understand how people engaged with it, which chapters were read by each individual reader and which were the most popular sections of the ebook.

All data captured in these experiences is sent to Hubspot in real-time. Within Hubspot, we are able to enroll each contact into a specific nurture sequence according to what we learned from them. 

Our strategy summarized step by step:

  1. By using interactive content we increase awareness and engagement with content at the top of the funnel.
  2. Our content journey leverages a frictionless and progressive data capture strategy that will personalize content and achieve a higher conversion rate.
  3. We are also able to qualify leads and send them to our sales team at the right moment and with the information they need to continue the conversation where marketing left off effectively.

Ion + Hubspot integration: a match made in heaven

Having the right content aligned with your buyer’s journey and connected to your marketing automation and CRM platform will have a hugely positive impact on your demand generation strategy. 

Now let’s recap and list some of the ways you can explore an interactive content platform like Ion together with an automation and CRM tool like Hubspot to achieve your marketing goals.

Personalize and optimize your buyer’s journey

Use HubSpot’s data to personalize and optimize your content experience. Serve up dynamic content based on HubSpot data, pre-populate or shorten forms, segment your audience and build progressive profiling.

Drive lead generation with interactive experiences

Embed HubSpot forms in Ion’s experiences and leverage Ion’s rule logic to personalize your content. As interactive content is more engaging, your audience will be more willing to convert and share their information in exchange for genuine value. You can also use interactive elements to engage your audience before a gated section.

Boost your HubSpot landing pages results with interactive content

Create quizzes, calculators and any other interactive content you want. Embed the content to your HubSpot landing pages to increase engagement and conversions, collecting additional data to generate valuable insights.

Capture rich declared data to accelerate the sales cycle

Generate and qualify leads, enriching sales dialogue with explicitly known buyers’ needs to accelerate the sales cycle. The data collected through your Ion experiences, such as assessments and calculators, can be sent to HubSpot to enrich your contacts’ database with relevant information about your audience’s preferences, budget and pains.

Ion and Hubspot are a match made in heaven. If you want to learn more about interactive content or how you can use it together with your marketing automation and CRM platform to improve your demand generation strategy don’t hesitate to reach out using the form below.

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