By Carmen Hill published June 4, 2015 Est Read Time: 5 min

A Content-First Success Story: BMC Software and Connective DX

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Like other large, global B2B companies, BMC Software faces some gnarly content challenges, from the need to tell a consistent brand story across multiple business units to the need to deliver information customers need to help them evaluate, buy, and use BMC’s products.

In 2014, BMC worked with digital experience agency Connective DX on a global website relaunch with the goal of increasing pipeline revenue that could be attributed to marketing via BMC.com. Instead of jumping into design using lorem ipsum text and placeholder graphics, the team put content first, focusing on the information customers needed to engage and move toward purchase.

This content-first approach delivered dramatic results. For example, in the months since the site launched, BMC has seen the following increases in overall engagement:

  • 10% more organic traffic (year over year)
  • 50% more data sheet downloads
  • 200% increase in trial starts
  • 67% increase in “contact me” requests

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Intelligent content strategies helped BMC Software and Connective DX meet their goal of increasing pipeline revenue that’s tied to the website.

How did they do it? At the recent Intelligent Content Conference (ICC) in San Francisco, BMC Principal Strategic Marketing Manager Mark Fries and Connective DX Experience Strategist Guy Bourgault shared insights into the ongoing work.

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Mark Fries (right) of BMC Software co-presented with Guy Bourgault, who stood in for Connective DX Director of Content Strategy Derek Phillips at ICC.

Here are some highlights from insights Mark and Guy offered during their ICC session.

  • Design your content components for reuse.
  • Start where buyers make decisions.
  • Get the content right, then design – directly in the browser.
  • Design for mobile devices – everyone wins.
  • Optimize every day, and you never have to redesign your site again.

Design your content components for reuse

Intelligent content is characterized by structured, modular content that can be easily reused across different formats, devices, and channels. So an intelligent content approach is essential for a brand and website with a global footprint.

After developing customer personas and mapping the user flows through BMC.com, the Connective DX team developed a series of content models for key pages. A content model defines the content components that make up an experience and the relationships between those components.

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The team designed content components (see white highlights) for automatic reuse across various formats, devices, and channels.

Content modeling is just one part of a content-first approach. Starting with content means you can help customers learn and do what matters most to them. A content-first approach also means you can design in the browser with real content, not placeholder content, and you can see how well that content works on all devices. You can then launch, test, and continually optimize the site.

“You must first think about the purpose of the content and then structure it to serve that purpose,” Derek says.

Start where buyers make decisions

Because the primary goal was to increase website conversions and contributions to pipeline revenue, the strategy was to focus not on the home page but on the product pages where buyers make decisions. “People get to your pages via Google not via your home page,” Mark said.

This tweet from the ICC session echoes Mark’s point that “people get to your pages via Google not via your home page.”

Get the content right, then design – directly in the browser

The content-first strategy made it possible for designers to work with real content – the right content. They created the web pages directly in the browser so that the team could see how the pages worked on different screen sizes. This approach enabled BMC to “get our hands dirty with the user experience instead of focusing on pretty pictures,” Mark said.

 This tweet from the ICC session echoes the value of developing the content first – making sure that you have the right content for the users’ needs and the business’ needs – before designing the web pages.

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 Mark and Guy share their insights with a packed room at ICC.

Design for mobile devices – everyone wins

A mobile-first approach forces you to consider and prioritize tasks that users need to complete. “Mobile first is device-agnostic,” Mark said. “The experience needs to be appropriate on any device, not just mobile devices.”

This tweet from the ICC session echoes the notion that designing for mobile devices benefits everyone.

Optimize every day, and you never have to redesign your site again

The initial site relaunch in October 2014 included a subset of the website’s pages. The remaining pages were rolled out later. Throughout the process, BMC has incorporated what they’ve learned from web analytics to optimize site performance and deliver the content that best meets customer needs.

“You don’t launch a website; you launch a hypothesis,” Mark said. “You constantly test assumptions about what users need and value. It’s never one and done.”

For example, BMC and the Connective DX team had assumed that site visitors would be most interested in the business benefits customers could see with BMC’s products. So, at first, they prioritized that information on the site. One of the first “aha” moments came during customer interviews, when Connective DX discovered people were most interested in the product features. They quickly reorganized the content to prioritize data sheets.

“If you can change what’s not working without blowing up the whole site, then you’ve created something powerful,” Guy said.

Learn more

For details, see the Connective DX case study, or check out the presentation Mark and Guy gave at ICC.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Carmen Hill

Carmen Hill (@carmenhill), Director of Marketing at Connective DX (formerly ISITE Design), is a longtime B2B marketer and content strategist who is happily ensconced at the intersection of content marketing and content strategy – and excited to see intelligent content joining the party. Prior to joining Connective DX, Carmen built an award-winning content practice at Babcock & Jenkins, crafting award-winning content and campaigns for clients such as Adobe, Google, and Xerox.

Other posts by Carmen Hill

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