It is generally accepted in the marketing community that buyers have shifted the way they move along the path to purchase, and that content is needed to escort them on their journey.

But new research published this month suggests a laissez-faire approach to creating content won’t cut it anymore.

A laissez-faire approach to creating content won’t cut it anymore. @jeanwrites

The study, which surveyed 244 marketers from enterprise-level companies that see $10 million to over $1 billion in annual revenue, found that passive content marketing isn’t fueling buyers down sales and marketing pipelines with enough force. Instead, interactive content is the new compelling force ushering buyers into pipelines.

It’s a result of an increasing trend: buyers are self-educating deeper into the sales cycles, taking it upon themselves to research solutions. As they embark on self-directed and maze-like journeys, they interact with gobs of content. In fact, Gartner predicts customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human by 2020.

Interactive Content Generates 2x More Conversions Than Passive Content

Marketers have responded by upping content production, hustling to produce personalized content for every twist and turn. But according to this study, content overload has desensitized the buyer to unremarkable content. Buyer palettes for compelling content have become more refined. They are demanding higher-quality content, more interactive content, and content that innately drives engagement.

“The Era of ‘If You Build It, They Will Come’ Is Coming to an End.”

You can’t be a mediocre soccer team and win the World Cup. And just “doing content marketing” won’t cut it in today’s playing field. Marketers must innovate, and build content marketing strategies that wow buyers and exceed their expectations.

“The effectiveness of content marketing is no longer improved by simply pumping out more content,” the report states.“Interactive content enjoys a quality perception advantage, produces better engagement as it’s designed to do, is perceived as more interesting, and is better at generating attention than passive content,” the surveyors write.

Click here for an example of Kapost’s interactive quiz, and see “interactive content” in action.

This means going beyond one-dimensional blog posts, whitepapers, or underwhelming webinars. It means creating interactive, dynamic content that will captivate your buyers and immerse them in a content experience. Your goal is to leave your customer thinking, “holy moly.”

This is the type of content that makes moves—specifically in your sales and marketing pipeline. Already, the marketers who’ve adopted interactive content strategies (only 60%) are noticing the difference, and report that interactive content generates conversions “moderately” or “very well” 70% of the time, compared to just 36% for passive content.

Perhaps, the times necessitate a new version of the popular adage, as it seems interactive content is now king.

The Takeaway

Whether you are a content marketer, director of marketing, or CMO, the takeaway is the same.

You must innovate. Just as any good business adapts, changes, and grows—so must your content.

Challenge your content producers and internal marketing departments to create content that pushes the limits. Develop novel or unusual ways to deliver content to your buyers or prospects. Experiment with new templates, buttons, media, and messaging tactics to continue to make favorable impressions with your buyers. (And don’t forget to A/B test all the changes you make to back your efforts with demonstrably effective data.)

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