Content marketing may be all the rage, but now that everyone is doing it — how can brands stay relevant? Leveraging good content is just the beginning – but taking advantage of every opportunity to engage with prospects and keep them excited is what smart marketers are doing to keep ahead of the curve. And to understand how companies can make the most of their content, we sat down with Chris Vandermarel, Demand Generation Manager at Toronto-based LookBookHQ.

Vandermarel helps bring leads into the popular content engagement platform, and his place within the company is one part drive, one part serendipity. “I love technology, and from the early days I had a Mac at home, and really loved the intersection of art and science that happened in the digital platform,” Vandermarel said, “Coming out of school, I graduated with a business degree, concentration in Marketing, and I knew I really wanted to exist where marketing and technology coincide.”

Past roles at ESRI and the Activa Group gave Vandermarel a solid background in marketing automation and demand generation, but it was a chance meeting that brought him to LookBookHQ. “By coincidence I ran into an account executive at LookbookHQ who I went to school with at an airport. He quickly gave me a demo of LookbookHQ and after that I got connected with the Director of Marketing and found my home in demand generation at LookBookHQ.”

We sat down with Vandermarel to get his take on how content marketing has evolved, and how demand generation professionals can keep prospects coming back for more. Let’s dig in!

How has content marketing evolved since you started in demand generation?

Content marketing has changed a lot, and I’ve definitely seen a few big shifts. A lot of marketers have been asked to think like publishers, and I think a lot of marketers also misinterpreted that and started creating more and more content with a “more is better” mentality. But we really have to move beyond that and try to work to surface the right content at the right time — as well as keeping buyers engaged once they interact with that content.

How can B2B marketers stand out amidst the noise?

Digital B2B marketing has become a very noisy space. A lot of people are trying to say a lot of things, but I can talk a bit about how we get around this at LookBookHQ. We’re blessed with a really solid creative team here. They do great work, and we really try to look at things in two ways. We look at not only at what we’re saying, but how we’re saying it.

With respect to how we’re saying it, we really try to have a tone that is attractive, funny and ironic. It really gets to the point and doesn’t use fluffy words.

And in terms of what we’re saying, we want to serve up content that people will find valuable. We know whether it’s an eBook or a white paper, or case study, the people consuming the content are trying to answer the question “What’s in it for me?” I think that’s something that we all need to think about as marketers and make sure that we’re always answering that question, otherwise our campaigns are doomed to fail from the beginning.

How do you keep prospects engaged with your content?

Our tagline at LookBookHQ is “do more with the moment” and what we’re really trying to do is take those precious moments of attention that those prospects give you, and make sure that you’re maximizing them, and that you’re getting as much out of it as possible.

This is something that digital publishers do really well, including sites like Netflix and YouTube. I don’t know how many times you go on YouTube trying to find a certain video, but then you end up watching three, four or five additional videos because there’s just so much recommended content that comes up as you’re watching that primary piece.

That’s exactly what we’re trying to do with our platform and our own marketing – we’re trying to do as much as we can with that moment of attention because it’s very costly to bring people back with retargeting and email communications, with click-through rates as low as they are. So the more that you can get with that moment of attention the better!

How does LookBook market itself?

I would say our marketing is both efficient and effective, and what we usually try to do is start with a core message that we really want to own, and want to resonate with our audience.

It really all trickles down from there because we can pump that into all kinds of different campaigns that we’re running. We’re also very critical of the programs we take on, we make sure that we’re calculating the ROI on them, we make sure that they’re having a strong impact on the funnel, and most importantly we look at the attributed revenue when we’re done.

What resources do you read, listen to, or watch to become better at your job?

Of course, I love the Vidyard blog – I think you’re doing awesome stuff there. I like the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog too. I think that the Demand Gen Report and MarketingSherpa are doing a great job with the different research studies they’re putting out, and the case studies that they have.

I really try to make sure that I’m a part of the online communities for technologies that we use, from Marketo to Eloqua to Engagio, and I make sure that I stay apprised of what’s going on there. And with any live events, I’m making sure I come out to any case studies, and hands-on sessions so I can see the tactics that marketers are using.

Jon Spenceley