Zngly Blog

Part 2
The future of content marketing

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What is the best use of your resources? To deal with a PR agency (and pay it a monthly retainer) or to create content that can make its own way in the world – even in emails?

In Part 1 of our blog series on content marketing, we saw that the creation of customer experiences locks you in a cycle of complexity which Zngly can help resolve. As an example of that, we explored how Zngly helps B2B businesses to make the most of their webinars.

In this blog, we take a slight detour to discuss if PR is still an effective way to get your message across. Spoiler alert: for the majority of B2B businesses, it isn’t. What about emails? We all get thousands a year, and we hardly ever open them, no matter how ingenuous (or desperate) the tagline. Is it time we moved on from emails as a marketing tool?

Let’s see.

The death of PR
The Digital Revolution and the triumph of the website made every business a creator and publisher of content, whether they liked it or not. Technology vendors, banks, food wholesalers, and toy distributors – all suddenly needed “content” to stay relevant.

Many B2C and B2B businesses felt they weren’t up to this unexpected challenge and made the problem go away (or so they thought) by outsourcing it to a PR agency.

This was the heyday of PR, which for the best part of two decades skillfully positioned itself as the most effective tool to get your story “out there”.

But “out there” has changed beyond recognition. Businesses are creating so much content, and there are so many places for that content to go, that the power of PR to show off your content in “game-changing” publications has been greatly diluted.

That’s not all. The PR mindset was actually always “analogue”, and PR only ever felt at ease with print assets. These still need promoting but we know that video engages and converts better. PR didn’t see this coming.

Webinars require thorough preparation but are not especially costly to produce. Film creation can be expensive but for the budget to retain the services of a PR agency you could probably shoot one or two short “how to install the product” videos. If it’s a poor video, PR won’t save you. If it’s good and helpful – and has a clear title – your B2B customers will find it.

Because that’s the thing. We know that B2B buyers are increasingly autonomous in researching (and ordering) the products they need. In response, B2B businesses are investing heavily in making their product catalogues more searchable and user-friendly, and using tools such as Zngly to get relevant content in front of their customers and prospects.

PR’s most powerful weapon, the promise of a “story” in a prominent publication, has lost much of its shine in a context where media consumption is irrecoverably fragmented.

Is PR dead? No. But for most B2B businesses it is no more than background noise.

The email conundrum
To repeat our question: is it time to give up on email as an effective tool of content marketing?

Sometimes, it absolutely seems that way.

Subject fields and email headers are tweaked ad nauseam to find the magic key that will unlock your attention, almost always in vain. If it is a numbers game then it’s a game with diminishing returns: send out 1,000 emails and you get 17 replies (if you're lucky); send out 10,000 and you get 28.

LinkedIn is a great platform to promote your brand and content (although here too, it is getting increasingly difficult to stand out), and whatever you are putting in an email you will post on LinkedIn. The difference is that we can opt out of LinkedIn but not out of our inbox, whether we like it or not.

Given that email is inevitable, you have to make it a success – and there are many ways to optimise your chances with Zngly. We list some of them below:

Personalise
People respond to people and email content introduced with a short video message has a much higher click-through rate than faceless messages, however clever, plaintive, or even menacing (“Do you want your business to thrive or not, Mr Wilson?”). [hahahahah! Love it!!!]
With Zngly you can copy and paste a video message in your Zngly list. Personalise where you can (but only if you’ve actually met the addressee), and explain the nature of the content in the briefest possible way.

It will come as a pleasant surprise that you are directing your customer or prospect to content that does not require a download – which brings us to our second point.

No attachments
Opening an attachment is a downer especially if you are reading the email on your mobile phone. Few people like to download PDFs or Word files on their smartphones because the way they are archived (especially in iOS) is not user-friendly. Attachments download faster on a PC and will be easier to read but you still have to decide whether to store it, and where, or to go straight to your download folder to delete it, as so often happens. It is far “cleaner” to consume the content where it lies and this is how Zngly lists work. You don’t have to go to Vimeo or YouTube; you don’t have to explore the website or the customer experiences it projects  – the content is revealed to you immediately through Zngly.

 

Curate
Contemporary B2B buyers are far less dependent on sales input than has traditionally been the case; they want to get into their decision-making and research as far as they can before contacting a sales rep.  The role of sales reps in this brave new world of digitalised commerce is to act as a consultant or expert rather than a hard-nosed vendor. The emphasis in B2B has shifted from the purchase to the purchase process, and from “clinching” sales to building relationships.

Zngly lists fit perfectly with this new sales culture. The list can contain any type of collateral – video, product information PDFs, LinkedIn posts, webinars of course, white papers – and there is no reason why all the material collated should be about your company and product. Depending on where you are in the sales cycle, you can offer background, stats, and other information to create trust and nurture that relationship.

In the final instalment of our blog series on the power of Zngly, we discuss two home truths: the importance of data and of making sure your content is for the customer, and not about you


Part 3
The future of content marketing

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Zngly is game-changing in getting your content to the right people in the way they want it – but even Zngly is powerless if that content isn’t up to scratch

In Parts 1 and 2 of our blog series on content marketing, we saw how Zngly cuts through complexity, often by allowing customers and prospects to bypass the B2B sites and channels that were the outcome of ambitious projects of digital transformation. Simplicity in itself is not enough; you also have to be smart. This where Zngly analytics tool comes in.

Analyse your data
You can never tell with anything like absolute certainty which piece of content is going to cut through; this is why marketers have got into the habit of spinning off a range of collateral from a single webinar. Not all customers or prospects want to watch video content; some may be more attuned to closely argued thought leadership. This is one consideration. The other is that every piece of content will highlight a different aspect of the topic that preoccupies your customers, with each marshalling distinctive voices and points of emphasis, and seeding new SEO, which over time will build engagement.

How do you track that engagement? You want better insight than webinar attendance numbers, or click-throughs from the LinkedIn posts promoting the event or linking to the satellite collateral.

Not surprisingly, Google Analytics is the first port of call for most marketers. Google.com is by far and away the world’s most visited website although it is beaten by the likes of Facebook and Reddit for visit duration. An average Google “session” lasts just over 21 minutes. The world’s second most popular website, YouTube.com, only scores an average visit length of 7.43 minutes.

Such statistics may seem meaningful at first glance but in reality they are a blunt instrument because in the optics of Google Analytics a “session” can range from a few seconds to a few hours, and can involve a visitor viewing a single or multiple pages. This isn’t telling you much; you want much more granularity than that.

Many B2B marketers deploy third-party tools to beef up their analytics. There are many such tools on the market, but many of them slow up loading times. This is a bad idea because with each one-second delay, customer satisfaction dips by 16%.

Attribution is complex, making it extremely challenging to prove ROI for anything outside of paid channels. Extending your tech stack to include ad platforms or additional tracking tools such as Adobe Analytics will likely compound your problem because each tool stores its own data, making it nearly impossible to get the whole picture of how each touchpoint contributes to someone becoming a customer.

Zngly comes with a powerful analytics tool that doesn’t “congest” the flow of data, and delivers much more precise and actionable insight than Google Analytics. Zngly will tell you what content was viewed/read, and – crucially – how much of it was viewed/read. At what point did the customer disengage? Zngly can identify those trends, and help you reshape your messaging.

Zngly lists are attractive to share because they don’t come with attachments; you aren’t pressing colleagues or business partners to do something you yourself find tedious: downloading and storing and/or deleting attachments.

Zngly tells you who shared what with whom, and how effective this was – and with the same granularity for each engagement, no matter how often the list is shared.


Don’t talk about yourself, talk to the customer
This should be obvious because if customers don’t buy your product no one else will. But here’s the thing, markets and sales reps are often so engrossed in their product, the real hero of their content is not the customer, but their own passion for what they are trying to get the customer to buy. However, your belief in the product or solution is not a decisive argument for anyone else.

The only consideration for your customers is to what extent your product will help them get their jobs done – not yours. The distinction between “what can my product do?” and “what can my product do for you?” seems subtle but turns out to be huge in practice.

Some marketers and CEOs are misinterpreting the term social media to mean they have to somehow socialise with their customers, and share holiday snaps or “personal struggles” on LinkedIn. But again, this is to fundamentally misunderstand the nature of B2B.

If your content isn’t landing you don’t have to ask yourself if it’s the right content. It’s not. But the instinct to ignore hard data is strong because it’s telling you what you find hard to accept: that the content you worked so hard to produce and explains the glories of your product so well isn’t resonating with the customer.

With Zngly lists and analytics you can quickly build up a picture of what each customer and prospect needs – instead of what you think they ought to need!


Conclusion
The B2B e-commerce universe creates an ever-expanding amount of statistics. Everyone is at it, and lists of “All the B2B stats that you need to know in 2022” are irresistible clickbait. No one knows how accurate these numbers really are. Occasionally you will find the same analyst coming up with different or even contradictory “findings”. Another characteristic of the B2B blogosphere is the reliance on very dated research; certain “facts” have been doing the rounds for years.

This points to a problem we alluded to in Part 1 of this blog series: the treadmill of complexity as B2B companies feverishly build “digital experience” structures in the pursuit of competitive advantage. It works – up to a point and certainly at vast expense. But the more science and statistics are unleashed on content marketing, the more marginal the benefits seem to become.

The Zngly media platform is not a revolution. But it is a reset. It gives marketing and sales the wherewithal to be more direct, more natural, and more proactive in the way they build customer relationships.

It gives B2B a breather, and an opportunity for self-interrogation. How much of the digital experience paradigm is groupthink, how much of it is ROI?

A Zngly demo, or sending out your first Zngly lists, will transform the way you view this question – and what you can do to make it irrelevant.


Part 1
The future of content marketing

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In the first of a three-part series on how the Zngly media platform reenergises B2B sales and marketing efforts, we look at how businesses can make the most of their webinars

Over the last five or 10 years, digital transformation in B2B has served a single purpose: to make content marketing more effective and more cost-effective.

The focus was on bridging legacy systems, integrating product catalogues with the content platform, and enabling the creation of “customer experiences” in an omnichannel context.

Even for small to medium-sized B2B businesses, the implementation of customer experience projects takes many months, if not years, and requires a considerable commitment in terms of resources.

Although the goal as always is to make the business more agile, the means of achieving this ideal state of “agility” is usually costly and painstaking.

Omnichannel is now widely accepted by B2B businesses as the way forward but implementations are still weighted heavily towards the website, perhaps for good reasons. A breakdown[1] of more than 46 billion user sessions across 14 industries in 25 countries showed that B2B came second only to media for average time spent per page, at 82 seconds per page. This was a significant 20 seconds more per page than the next category, travel, and 30 seconds more than financial services.

The popularity of B2B webinars suggests that customers aren’t finding all the answers on the website which, in the majority of cases, is still only a shop window, not a shop. Other than at marketplaces, most B2B suppliers still sell through distributors, wholesalers, resellers, or retail outlets – each with their own website of course, and their own customer experiences.

[1] 2022 Digital Experience Benchmark Report, Contentsquare

Businesses are engaged in a digital arm’s race of ever increasing complexity; they would much prefer to get off this merry-go-round yet they don’t know how – and are inhibited by the fact that everyone else seems thoroughly invested in the customer experience paradigm.

The media platform Zngly offers a way out – or at the very least a respite from complexity, and the never-ending succession of digital projects. Zngly puts sales and marketing back on the front foot by enabling them to curate content and get it directly in front of the prospect, bypassing the websites.

This three-part blog explores the tortuous content landscape, and analyses how Zngly addresses pain points that persist, despite years of digital investment and transformation.

As we mentioned a moment ago, the new generations of B2B leaders prize the expertise and experience of webinars, and so this is where we shall start.


 
Supercharge your webinars
Webinars can be the gift that keeps on giving. A conversation between experts or seasoned B2B cadres is a more immediate way to get into a subject than (most) written content. The thought leadership is extended to include the attendees who are invited to ask questions. The Q&A part of a live webinar is often the most lively and eye-opening, as attendees reveal what is preoccupying the market – and the experts have to think on their feet to answer.

So webinars are good, and “webinars on demand” are good in theory – if only you could get people to demand them! In the rough and tumble of a busy working day, most B2B influencers and decision-makers don’t get around to doing this – even if the topic interests them.

This is why B2B marketers amplify the reach of their webinars by creating complementary collateral such as blogs, white papers, fact sheets, infographics, and follow-ups on social media. You can never quite tell which piece of content is going to hit the spot, so you have to be patient and wait for your audience to build.

Patience and consistency are particularly relevant in the financial sector, where sales cycles are very long. You have to keep the marketing drumbeat going by delivering this complementary content – and curate the webinar itself for targeted sales approaches.

And this is where marketers have a problem. If you have chosen an interesting topic and invited a good mix of expert voices, your webinar will be interesting. However, not every part of a wide-ranging discussion will be of interest to all your customers and prospects – even if they had the time to watch the discussion from beginning to end.

Posting a recording on YouTube removes the “on demand” barrier, but still requires the customer to work out which part(s) of the discussion are of interest to him, and then click through the timeline to get there. It’s not that your customers and leads are lazy; it’s that your splendid webinar is not a priority for them.

You have to make it easier for your customers – and pique their curiosity. This is what Zngly can do for you.

The platform boosts webinar views. The customer doesn’t have to ask for it; he doesn’t have to go from your website to his email inbox to download it, and he doesn’t have to parse it or “skim-watch it” to find the content that is relevant to him.

For the sales reps or marketers that curate the webinar, the process is also very intuitive. Zngly enables you to segment webinar content so it will start where you need it to start for a particular client. You can give the webinar a custom title and/or description, whatever you believe will resonate most strongly with the customer. You can send the webinar extract individually or as part of a Zngly list with other relevant collateral.

One click (no download) and your customer is immersed in the  webinar discussion. Of course, there is nothing to stop him from watching the entire webinar once he has been hooked by the curated extract. But the initial approach will have been much more likeable and realistic. You have gone from a presumption (“Give us an hour of your time to watch a webinar that will at some point be of interest to you”) to an act of thoughtfulness (“We thought X’s views on Y might interest you and your colleagues. And here it is”).

We are not suggesting that traditional marketing approaches are brash or rude – not always anyway! But we all know that the decision whether to-watch-or-not-to-watch is on a knife’s edge – and that you must do everything within your power to improve your odds. With Zngly, you do that.

 In the next instalment of our blog on content marketing we look at the future of PR and email campaigns

 


Enterprise Ireland Partners with Zngly to Drive Overseas Expansion

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Zngly, the no-code media platform for the creation, management and measurement of content marketing and client engagement, today announces its partnership with Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Government’s trade and innovation agency, responsible for the development of Irish enterprises in world markets.

Zngly, the no-code media platform for the creation, management and measurement of content marketing and client engagement, today announces its partnership with Enterprise Ireland, the Irish Government’s trade and innovation agency, responsible for the development of Irish enterprises in world markets. Zngly is an innovative Irish company developing solutions to solve the common challenges faced by marketing and sales teams and transforming the way businesses use content marketing.

Enterprise Ireland has partnered closely with Zngly since January and recently featured in the agency’s ‘Ireland: Innovation at the Edge’ campaign, which highlights the conditions that have made Irish businesses among the most innovative in the world and the role they are playing in the post-pandemic recovery.

As organisations emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and embrace the new reality of hybrid sales models, many are looking for new tools to help build relationships across multiple channels. The experience of remote work has created a shift in customer engagement preferences. LinkedIn found that 43% of B2B buyers now prefer a sales-rep free experience, for instance. Managing different forms of content whilst miniating consistent messaging across each channel can therefore be a daunting task for marketing managers.

Mike Wilson, CEO of Zngly, adds: “We have created a solution that solves several issues that sales and marketing teams face day in and day out. Today’s buyers are not only channel agnostic, but they are digitally dominant in preference. Zngly helps businesses collate their content and share it in a digestible and personalized way with potential prospects and existing clients. As a high-potential start-up, we have the pleasure of partnering with Enterprise Ireland to help enable us to deliver our solution to teams globally.”

Clodagh Dolan, Marketing Executive at Enterprise Ireland explains the rationale behind the partnership: “As one of the world’s largest seed capital investors, we help develop a pipeline of cutting-edge Irish companies, providing our international partners with a gateway to Irish innovation. We are delighted to see the momentum Zngly has achieved, in the lead up to its launch and look forward to supporting Zngly as it continues to innovate, grow internationally, and transform the B2B industry.”

Catch the Zngly Digital Showcase with Enterprise Ireland HERE, or to learn more about Zngly visit: https://zngly2.wpengine.com/


Zngly Publishes First Whitepaper

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Zngly – the no-code media platform for the creation, management and measurement of content marketing and client engagement – has published its first whitepaper 'The game-changing, no-code way to Select, Search & Share your B2B content'.

The Whitepaper, “The game-changing, no-code way to Select, Search & Share your B2B content” explores the pain points experienced across the sales and marketing space and demonstrates how Zngly solves them.


DOWNLOAD IT HERE >>


Before we can sell a product or a service, we have to tell our customers about them. Good content sells more than indifferent content, but as every marketing or sales team knows, your content is only as good as your ability to get it to the right people at the right time. 

Remote work and the shift towards a hybrid sales cycle has greatly increased the number of ways that we can do this – and, it seems, the number of ways we can get this wrong.

The response of B2B marketers has been to ramp up complexity by commissioning more blogs, podcasts, webinars and thought leadership, and then seeking out bigger and better solutions to personalise it. 

The assumption is that sales has nothing to worry about as long as that content keeps on coming as part of a customer experience built on the latest “platform”. No one is saying that this doesn’t work. But it is a game of diminishing returns.

Zngly is a tool that cuts through the complexity. It is a completely new way of leveraging content – yet simple and intuitive.

Who should read this guide?
Marketers who want a smarter and more cost-effective way to manage content; sales professionals who want to personalise that content for impact and immediacy; and business managers who want the most granular analytics to measure performance.


Zngly Broadcasts Online Showcase:
The Future of B2B Marketing

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Zngly Broadcasts an online showcase, introducing the company to the market. The 30 minute episode explores market positioning, client uses cases, a platform demo and the steps to client success. The content has been edited into bitesize segments for easier viewing and demonstrates the importance of Zngly to solve the inherent problems in B2B sales and marketing.

WATCH ON-DEMAND HERE >>

The show features a range of internal voices and external guests, including:

Clodagh Dolan, Market Executive – Enterprise Ireland
Mike Richardson, Marketing Manager – Legerity

Mike Wilson, CEO & Founder – Zngly
Jess Black, Head of Marketing – Zngly
Hayley McCarthy, Head of Business Development – Zngly
Vlad Medves, Senior Developer – Zngly
Martin Barnes, Senior Developer – Zngly
Jonathan Singer – Head of Client Success – Zngly