Why Marketers Should Use Interactive Content to Engage Buyers

Anna Talerico, co-founder of ion interactive, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series to share her insight on the intersection of sales, marketing, and technology. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Josh Bland, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.

Anna joined Josh to discuss the benefits of using interactive content to meet buyers at every point in their journey.

Below are a few highlights from our conversation:

TechnologyAdvice: What are the biggest trends in interactive content design right now?

Talerico: One is the greater importance we’re placing on interactive content in general. Quizzes are the obvious bellwether of that. Visitors love them and everybody is using them because they’re so effective. Whether it’s ‘How much do you know about HR software?’ or ‘Which Marilyn Monroe character you are’, people love them. That’s one way we get immersed in interactive content because we see quizzes are so effective.

That’s driven from the fact that we’re generating more and more content. Our audience and our buyers are overwhelmed. They have content fatigue. So instead of churning out more content, we like to ask ‘how do we stand out and differentiate with the content?’

The biggest trend for interactive content right now is the rapid pace of innovation in web design, especially responsive design. Your web pages simply must be responsive these days because we have such a wide variety of browser sizes and devices. You’re really chopping off a huge part of your audience if you aren’t designing everything in a mobile-friendly way.

Everything else that's going on in web design right now: reveal, hover, parallax, pageflows, and video backgrounds - we’re really in this big renaissance of web design and UX. There’s so much momentum and it’s important that marketers are delivering the experiences visitors expect. There’s a lot of pressure to deliver these modern experiences.

TA: Why aren't more companies taking part in this Renaissance?

Talerico: It’s daunting. The unfortunate underbelly is that it’s a lot of work. You have to have developers who can do these modern things and do them well and have them work across browsers, or you have to have great software to do it. Either way, there’s no way to deny it’s more work than churning out a page of static content. That’s just the state of the web and the new reality. We have to normalize and acknowledge it, there is no way to fight it.

TA: How does interactive content compare to static content? Is it something all companies should experiment with? Should there be a mix of the two?

Talerico: Interactive content is just better at engaging your audience. If you think about someone landing on a three paragraph article, some portion of people will read it, some portion won’t. Interactive content engages us on a different level. Again, I think if you put on the ‘you as a user’ hat, it makes a lot of sense. Some people learn differently and they aren’t going to sit and read. They need it presented in a way where they can engage with the content.

Think about some trends in education. We’re seeing a move from static readings and lecture to more interactive educational experiences to engage the student. It’s really the same thing on the web. I can read something about how to solve a problem, or instead take a 10-question quiz and get a personalized recommendation.

It seems people love that echoing back, that’s very specific to them and feels personalized —  interactive content does that. It feels like something unique to them, which engages us at a really visceral level. It’s not that you don’t need static content, you need different ways to engage your buyers. I always think about taking one piece of static content and turning it into several interactive experiences to hit different people at different stages of their buying journey. It’s not an either or, it’s more of a marriage.

Listen to the entire show above in order to hear our full conversation, or download the show to listen later. You can subscribe to the TA Expert Interview Series via Soundcloud, in order to get alerts about new episodes.

This podcast was created and published by TechnologyAdvice. Interview conducted by Josh Bland.