• The Length of Your Asset is the Key To Building Engagement Over Time

    As a follow up to my blog a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to dive a bit deeper into the first of the three key attributes for correctly aligning content with the buyer’s journey: asset length. I thought asset length would be the most appropriate topic to start with as it is the simplest to understand yet most misunderstood asset feature.

    Why does asset length matter when it comes to the different stages in the buyer’s journey? We focus on asset length because it correlates with engagement level. The longer a person spends engaging with your content, the more interested they are in your solution.  Do not misconstrue this to mean the longer an individual asset the more valuable it is because prospects have to spend more time consuming it.  Prospect interest level builds over time. Therefore trying to make all of your assets as long as possible can actually be detrimental to their performance level.

    Look at asset length almost like you are training for a marathon. Your goal is to get to 26 miles. If you’ve never ran before, you’re going to want to start your training by running a mile or so, and building that up over time. There is no way you’re going to be able to run the whole race your first time out. You’ll probably get frustrated, and may actually hurt yourself. Your goal is to develop the strength and endurance to run 26 miles.

    Similarly, the goal of engaging prospects throughout the buying process is employing multiple tactics of differing length, to building up an aggregate engagement level. For example, no one will give you an hour of their time if they have not previously engaged with your content or organization. They will give you smaller amounts of interest up front, then a little more, then a little bit more, and so on. The key is to start “short” and increase the length of content over time. By that rationale, you should use shorter content assets at the early stages in the buying process, and longer assets in the late stages.

    When it comes to your sales cycle, you need to ask yourself, what is your 26 mile goal? By that I mean, what is the average total amount of time a prospect spends consuming your content assets before he/she made a purchase decision? We refer to this as Average Time to Readiness (ATR). The ATR is the amount of time prospects spend engaging with your assets before they are ready for a sales engagement. As a starting point, we recommend marketers take a look at the last 10 or so deals the marketing team has contributed to in order to calculate ATR. Your ATR could be 5 hours, it could be 8 hours.

    What is the Required Engagement Time (RET)?

    That said, many marketers find it difficult to measure the engagement time of every single marketing touch, particularly when there are so many different ways to consume content; written, audio, video, etc. How do you measure the engagement time of a written asset or demo? To help Marketers easily calculate the length of all the different asset types in their arsenals, we have established a scoring system called Required Engagement Time (RET). Essentially RET is the amount of time the average person must spend reading, watching, and/or listening to a singular asset before they are ready for a sales engagement.

    For written assets, like a white paper, here is a quick formula for calculating the RET. The average written asset has about 350 words per page, depending on number of images. The average adult reading rate is 250 words per minute. So you would multiple the number of pages by the number of words per page. Then divide that number by the average adult reading rate to get the RET. So the RET of a 10 page whitepaper is about 18 minutes.  Please feel free to reach out to me if you want tips on how to measure some of the other asset types.

    RET enables us to assign a numeric value to every single asset and ATR scores the engagement level of an individual over the course of the buyer’s journey, and helps to determine urgency of purchase.   The combination of these two measurements enables us to more accurately understand where a prospect is in the buyer’s journey, and predict how much content we need to provide prospects in order to move them to the next stage in process.  We think this is a much more accurate way to determine behavioral scoring than email opens or click through scoring. We do much of this analysis through our Content Audit Services.

    Later on, we’ll show everyone our Content Scoring Model. Stay tuned! Or, post a comment and let us know your thoughts.

    The InformationWeek Business Technology Network and UBM TechWeb Marketing Services deliver integrated marketing campaigns and programs including media solutions, lead and demand generation, events, online communities, content development and custom solutions.

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