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Join Our Research Team at DMA 2014
Sep 04, 2013
Case Study

B2B Content Marketing: Software company increases list 130% with content curation

SUMMARY: Establishing trust with your audience is a delicate feat. But stir in garnering relationships within your industry while promoting your own brand, and you've got a real hurdle. Master these aspects, and you have a truly invaluable innovation.

In this case study, we examine how an end-user experience management company did just that through the launch of a content curation campaign. Read on to see how your company can excel in building such relationships through this content marketing strategy.
by Allison Banko, Reporter

CHALLENGE

Content marketing is evolving as a key element of B2B marketing strategies, no matter the industry.

Aternity is a player in the end-user experience management game — a highly competitive market laden with knowledge, resources and industry news.

With such a vast amount of content available on the Internet, Aternity wanted to aggregate that industry content in one centralized location.

The vision was to establish Aternity as a thought leader through the innovation of a content hub designed for industry members as well as business and IT communities.

Aternity's challenge was discovering the best medium to market and aggregate such content while also finding a way for it to benefit the company.

CAMPAIGN

This type of community hadn't yet existed in the end-user experience management realm, so it was an industry innovation.

Step #1. Brainstorm internally

The initial idea sparked from a conversation between Trevor Matz, CEO, and Donna Parent, Vice President of Marketing, both of Aternity.

According to Parent, the two were discussing how they would love to have a website to give Aternity another touch point that would:
  1. Help further position the company as a thought leader in the industry

  2. Be easy to manage

As the conversation progressed, Matz and Parent brainstormed other factors they wanted this ideal site to have. They wanted it to be:
  • Dynamic

  • Flexible so other team members could use the technology

  • Easily integrated into day-to-day operations

It was also important for them to be very involved in the look and feel of the site's layout. While Matz and Parent had pieces of what they wanted in mind, they were unsure of how to bring it to life.

"We didn't know what the technology would be," Parent explained. "We just had this idea and we really wanted to find a way to be able to capitalize on that."

Following her chat with Matz, Parent did some general search engine queries to investigate their idea further. She came across the concept of content curation — a way to easily find, organize and share relevant content to a key audience.

It was exactly what Aternity was looking to do.

Step #2. Select a vendor

"First and foremost, when you're trying to do something no one else has done before in your industry, always make sure that you partner with the right company who has the expertise and the ability to deliver upon your vision," Parent said.

She emphasized finding a vendor who would treat the company like a partner rather than just another client was an essential factor. It was imperative the vendor collaborated with Aternity while being highly responsive throughout the process.

When Parent was performing initial research that pointed her to the concept of content curation, she discovered a vendor while reading blog on the topic.

"I saw [the vendor] was located locally here in Cambridge, Mass.," Parent said. "We're actually located just outside of Boston. I have a particular affinity toward working with companies in our surrounding area."

After Parent reached out to this vendor, its team responded rapidly with a demo showcasing a technology it was developing. It paralleled the idea of Aternity's campaign.

In Aternity's case, the vendor selection process was achieved through the research of the actual project. There was no request for proposal or weeding out of vendor options for Aternity.

Quite simply, Aternity had found a vendor that could bring its vision to life through its research.

Step #3. Formulate modes of delivering content

Now it was time to develop the medium of delivering the content and to determine the shape it would take.

After collaborating with the vendor, Aternity went with two methods that would both aggregate content for its audience and bring customers to its corporate website. These two mediums were:
  1. A website

  2. A newsletter

The site, named EUE2Day, evolved as what Parent described as a "cousin" to Aternity's corporate website.

Though the site is its own entity housed on the domain enduserexperience.info, EUE2Day is still integrated into Aternity's corporate website as its own button on the main navigation bar.

Part of EUE2Day's own navigation is devoted to the daily newsletter medium, providing a special portal where visitors can sign up for daily deliverance of industry-relevant content by entering their email address.

Achieving brand awareness

Despite the fact EUE2Day and the newsletter were implemented for content curation, they were also established as extensions of the Aternity brand.

"I wanted to create a look, feel and a branding that mirrored our corporate website at the time," Parent said. "Carrying the brand look and feel was very important because we wanted to further align and reinforce our leadership in the end-user experience management market."

Step #4. Identify what content to aggregate

Aternity's content marketing strategy revolves around the aggregation of third-party content relevant to the industry. Content for the newsletter and website is pulled from sources and resources recommended to the company as well as through the content curation technology.

"It's not about promoting Aternity," Parent explained. "It's not about promoting our product or our solution. It's about distributing highly relevant content to the community in the way they want it delivered to them."

Aternity is also able to set up topics the team feels is of most interest to its audience and will also encourage newsletter subscriptions. These topics include:
  • Cloud computing

  • Enterprise mobility

  • Desktop virtualization

  • End-user experience management

Parent said because the overriding goal of the EUE2Day site and the newsletter isn't self-promotion, but rather providing industry-related news and information, Aternity doesn't exclude competitive information from its content.

Step #5. Launch and promote through social media

Aternity's content curation campaign was a fairly fast-paced implementation. According to Parent, the portal and newsletter were launched within two weeks of collaborating with the vendor.

The last major part of the process was creating awareness of Aternity's innovation, achieved through heavy cross-promotion on its social media accounts.

Aternity already had a substantial social following, topping 20,000 Twitter followers and 12,000 Facebook likes.

On these social networks, Aternity simply posted and repurposed content, such as articles and videos, from the EUE2Day portal to drive traffic to the website.

The company's LinkedIn page was also a key piece of the portal's promotion. Parent said there are particular groups on LinkedIn that Aternity targets inviting them to visit the portal and sign up for the newsletter. As with its Twitter and Facebook accounts, Aternity also posts content from the portal on its LinkedIn page.

While Aternity is promoting through social sharing, it isn't bombarding its social communities. Its curation technology features direct integration with social media outlets, allowing content to automatically be posted throughout the day rather than all at once, which doesn't overwhelm the audience or require the hassle of having to manually perform this process.

Aside from promoting via social media, Aternity segments its opt-in database on a weekly and bi-weekly basis. The company features webinar trio sessions, which are monthly 30-minute product demos. In its webinar "thank you" emails, Aternity promotes the industry newsletter because those who watch the webinar would be highly interested in the content of the portal.



RESULTS

One of Aternity's key goals with this innovation was driving website traffic back to its corporate website in a way that made it relevant to the industry.

"The last thing you want to do is get your bounce rates skyrocketing because the people you're bringing to your website really aren't the right people," she said.

EUE2Day proved to be successful in the area, establishing itself within the top five referrals to Aternity's corporate website. On top of that, those visitors referred by the portal are spending an average of more than five minutes on the website. In other words, the visitors Aternity are attracting comprise a highly interested and engaged audience.

"That alone is worth its weight in gold for a marketer," Parent said about the stickiness of going from the portal to the corporate site. "That's a marketing dream."

From the very start of the process, Aternity had a few key questions in mind in terms of evaluating the impact of the campaign after its launch:
  • Why do we feel this is successful?

  • Why do we want to continue doing it?

  • How will this continue to be at the foundation of many of our marketing strategies?

Since the content curation campaign launched in 2010, Aternity experienced the following successes:
  • 130% increase in newsletter subscribers (between 2010 and 2011)

  • 70% increase in newsletter subscribers (between 2011 and 2012)

"The fact that this is helping us drive such highly relevant visitors to our corporate site shows me that we have absolutely made this a successful implementation," Parent said. "Of course, we've had it for three years and it will be for the life of the company at this point. This is a key part of who we are now and how we like to deliver highly relevant news and information to the senior IT and business audience that we target."

Creative Samples

  1. Homepage navigation bar

  2. Website image

  3. Newsletter example

  4. Twitter promo

  5. Social media newsletter promo

  6. Results infographic

Sources

Aternity

EUE2Day

Curata — Aternity's content marketing vendor

Related Resources

MarketingSherpa Email Awards 2014: Call for entries — Deadline is September 8, and there is no entry fee.

Content Marketing: Your questions on B2B online lead gen, metrics, content from SMEs and more

Content Marketing How-to: Social media tips and tactics from B2B Summit panel

Social Media Marketing: Why B2B marketers need to care, by the numbers

Industry Portal Revamp: How a government organization increased its business listings by 35%

Marketing Careers: Why marketers and media professionals must never lose their wild spark

MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2013: Social media is email with fresh paint


See Also:

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