• Many B2B organizations give buyers bits of content gradually over the course of their lead nurture paths
  • Depending on their needs, some buyers may wish to consume all available content at once
  • Mervyn Alamgir of TIBCO recently spoke with SiriusDecisions about his latest insights into software trial users’ content preferences

Most people associate binge-watching with lounging on the couch with a bowl of chips on a Sunday and streaming several episodes of that gripping crime drama everyone can’t stop talking about. But as some B2B marketing teams have discovered, binge-watching (or binge-reading) can also take place during the buying cycle, as some buyers prefer to rapidly consume multiple pieces of content about a potential new solution in one sitting. 

viewer with laptop on lap holding mugMervyn Alamgir, senior director of digital marketing at software company TIBCO, recently applied this finding about buyer content consumption to a major overhaul of the organization’s lead nurture programs. By gaining insights into engagement patterns and other vital details through a newly deployed tool, he and his team found new ways to deliver content – resulting in more effective nurture programs and better business results.

As Mervyn explained in a recent interview with SiriusDecisions, about two years ago he began an initiative to improve TIBCO’s lead nurture programs about two years ago in two main areas: getting people to sign up for a trial (i.e. the top of the funnel), and converting trial users to buyers.

“The trial in particular is a very important part of our sales process,” he said. “We looked at the performance of the emails sent to people during their 30-day trial experience and found that we didn’t have great analytics on our nurture efforts. Those nurture emails are the main way we communicate with trial users on how to use the product, what the different features are and how other customers are using it to solve their business problems.”

Throughout the 30-day trial, users had been receiving approximately 10 strategically timed emails designed to get them up and running and help them make a buying decision. However, the available basic metrics on these emails, such as open rates and click rates, didn’t provide enough useful information on how engaging the content proved to be.  

“We came across a company called LookBookHQ – now called PathFactory – which had an interesting concept we hadn’t considered: If you give people access to a lot of content at once, they are likely to binge on it,” Mervyn recalled. “This is something we see in our day-to-day lives, such as with Netflix, but we had never applied it as a B2B concept. It was an interesting spin on delivering content – especially for trials.” 

TIBCO’s first use case with PathFactory’s Content Insight and Activation Platform – marketing technology software that analyzes and delivers content using engagement data and artificial intelligence – involved testing new ways of delivering content.

“We created a content track that contained all of the email content that would have been provided over the course of 30 days and gave users access to all of it on day one,” Mervyn explained. “Everyone received a welcome email and instructions on how to get started, templates and everything else they needed.”

With content delivered all at once, Mervyn and his team quickly found that all trial users were not alike. While some had activated their trial simply to learn more about the solution and gradually explored by consuming one piece of content at a time, others had a real-life business problem that they needed to use the software to immediately solve. The second group – known as “the bingers” – wanted to consume everything on day one. 

The new content track produced significant increases in conversion rate for TIBCO, with a 7x lift in opportunities coming out of trials. Following the successful results with its trial users, the organization moved on to improving its pre-MQL nurture.

“Nurture had been divided into three streams: awareness, consideration and decision,” Mervyn said. “Users would move from one to the other, and when they reached the end of the decision stream, we’d give them the trial offer. But not that many people were reaching that point.”

Using PathFactory, TIBCO converted the three nurture streams to a single stream, which also made management simpler. On the first day of pre-MQL nurture, users began receiving all content; if they were interested, they could consume all the content immediately and receive the trial offer.

This “binge” approach – combined with improved measurement and analytics – succeeded in moving a much greater percentage of people to the trial-offer stage than before. “We can measure engagement to see how much time they spend on each asset,” Mervyn noted. “For example, if a white paper typically takes three minutes to read, then we can check off the asset as ‘read’ and assign a point if the user spends at least two minutes on it. This scoring ties back to the rest of our lead scoring, which gives us much higher-quality leads.”

Mervyn estimated that TIBCO is currently using just a third of software’s features, with its initial focus on email nurture programs. New and future content initiatives include leveraging machine learning to identify and serve up the most relevant content on the basis of previous consumption, and creating new tracks for showcasing “binge-worthy” content collections.