The static eBook is dead. Interactive content is the future.

By Nick Thompson | November 8, 2021

Interactive content has become somewhat of a buzzword over the last year-and-a-half. Why is it so important? It’s not just that this content is more visual and engaging. It also remedies some of the bigger sales challenges created by static content including eBooks.

The eBook had a good run after becoming an obvious, easier-to-navigate successor to the infamous white paper. It presented an updated way to tell a story that was easier to read, visual-oriented, and far less technical. That makes sense as B2B buying evolves and now includes committees, sometimes with 15-plus stakeholders and influencers (Gartner). Considering our (much) shorter attention spans paired with endless amounts of information, we have created a dangerous paradox that can cause buyers to become paralyzed.

The Problem with eBooks

One of the reasons for this ‘hot take’ is that our very own ebook performance has stumbled over the last 18 months. Although still downloaded, the time buyers spend reading these documents is significantly reduced. They skim for a relevant piece of specific information to support a challenge they need to overcome, but it’s not driving actions or providing insights into what is important to them. Not one of these stakeholders has the time or energy to read an entire ebook. They might skim it if you’re lucky, but then you lack the insights on what they were skimming for.

As I listen to our customers, it is clear they are experiencing the same phenomenon. Today’s buyers arm themselves with more information than ever, giving sellers very little chance to influence their decisions. Not to mention, once a buyer downloads a pdf ebook, you can obtain very few insights into how it was consumed and what the points of interest were. This atmosphere can lead to sellers and buyers passing one another like two ships in the night while leaving revenue teams (Marketing + Sales + Success teams) scrambling to influence buyers throughout their journey. Buyer enablement across the customer lifecycle is the missing piece that revenue teams must address.

Armed with all this information, the self-informed buyer meets with a sales rep who has little to no insight into what has been consumed. Because of this, they miss the opportunity to deliver an engaging experience that influences the buyers in their direction. The complexity of static ebooks, dreadful whitepapers, and other meaty content (e.g. static presentations for sales reps) overwhelms customers, squashes their motivation to keep engaging, and prevents them from making important business decisions. Indecisive and conflicted buyers paired with ill-equipped sales reps slow the decision process and could potentially lead to no decision at all. All because there is too much information (mostly from ebooks).

Interactive Content Must Replace Static eBooks

Take a deep breath (and remember to exhale). There is some good news for revenue teams. This isn’t the end of lead generation or content creation to support the customer journey. This is a wake-up call that you need to meet customers and sellers where they are by giving them an on-demand, interactive content experience that delivers relevant and influential information when and where they need it most.

Interactive content should replace static eBooks and content as soon as possible. Don’t waste time losing to competitors that enable buyers and sellers to communicate effectively through interactive, insights-driven content. By creating interactive experiences, you enable buyers and sellers to navigate topics of interest in a choose-your-own-adventure style while collecting actionable insights based on how the content is consumed and used.

For buyers (and marketers), you create a self-guided content experience that allows them to easily navigate areas of interest as your revenue teams collect data sellers can leverage in conversations later in the sales cycle. 

Revenue teams can start delivering an interactive experience from the first moment buyers engage with your brand online. This type of engagement better supports how buyers consume content while ensuring you pass sellers analytics to prepare them for meaningful conversations.

Why Interactive Content Wins

Interactive content is the secret weapon to arm your buyers and sellers with a choose-your-own-adventure style engagement and ensure everyone has relevant information at their fingertips. With B2B buyers doing 60-80%+ of their buying process independently (Mckinsey) and the death of the ebook, this becomes even more urgent for marketers that must do more of the selling and insights gathering before buyers engage with vendors.

Stop wasting time on static content that no one has time to read, gives you minimal consumption insights, and can ultimately kill or at the very least hurt your deal. Give your buyers dynamic content to easily navigate information based on what is most important to them. This gives your content the power to influence earlier and more often throughout the buyer’s journey.

At Mediafly, we are uniquely positioned to help you build interactive content to support your entire customer lifecycle. Interested in replacing your static ebooks? Visit our Presentify Workspace to learn more.

Nick Thompson is the VP of Product Marketing at Mediafly, where he is responsible for strategy and execution of all things related to bringing products to market and effectively telling the story of how Mediafly helps customers be successful. Working in the tech space the majority of his career, Nick is incredibly passionate about storytelling, buyer and sales enablement, and helping customers reach their potential. Nick attended Full Sail University where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business with a focus on Media Entertainment.

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