Sales and Marketing Software

A Time for Documents to Get Specific

By Bob Johnson, VP & Principal Analyst 

Having written a multitude of white papers, case studies and other document content assets over the years, I know the drill. Write something compelling and then encase it in a pretty cover that uses graphics or pictures to provide a nice package. Well, this method, employed by so many is tired, dated and no longer works. It has to change.

Covers represent a valuable piece of document real estate that offers a dynamic opportunity to engage, compel and assist navigation. So how are you using your cover to increase the active use of the assets and increase the perceived relevance of your message and insight?  I asked buyers to compare different alternative cover options and the impact of each. The results were eye-opening and show it is time to make a change.

IDG Connect asked buyers to compare three types of covers. The first has a title, date, graphic and source. The second had the same information but added asset profile information which included buying stage coverage, audience, focus and the target role for the asset.  More than seven out of ten preferred the cover option that offered them information on the asset to help judge its relevance. They stated that it increased the likelihood of opening it, reading it, using it during the purchase process, sharing it and viewing the source in a more positive way up to almost 25 percent. That is very compelling.

We must break free from a cover-the-waterfront mindset where we hesitate to provide specific audience information out of concern that it will reduce potential readership. Having some catchy title may gain top-level attention but the power to help a buyer quickly discern if an asset is relevant to them does not slow interest, rather, as shown above, it can increases purchase momentum.  Without such cover-based asset profile information, you risk buyer frustration among those who spent time to see, read or listen to a portion until it became clear it lacks meaningful value. When that happens do you really think our approach makes them more inclined to consume another offered asset later on?

Here is an example of what your on-cover profile information might include.

Buying Stage: Business Case Development

Focus: Business Impact

Role: Decision Maker

Industry: All

Yes, certain potential readers might see that profile and decide not to consume but their appreciation to quickly understand its fit far outweighs the reduced consumption. Many buying team members will see you stand out and come to value your interest to show relevance and not waste their time.


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Bob Johnson

VP & Principal Analyst, IDG Connect

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