Content design hooks-in customers


We last met Joe Chernov, Director of Content Eloqua back in my previous post, “Focus on content leads to successful viral marketing campaign“.

As promised, I’m bringing Joe back to tell another great story about success, one that hinges on a factor many companies miss when they publish PDFs and other documents, content design.

Designing for engagement

When is a white paper not a white paper? When it’s a, “Grande Guide” of course!

“We wanted to continue to provide value with our white papers,” says Chernov, “But at the same time, we wanted to engage the reader with what essentially can be pretty boring stuff.”

Chernov and his team started with the setting. He explains, “We asked ourselves, ‘Where would folks most like to be when they read our white papers?'”. The answer they arrived at was a coffee shop; a spot that brings to mind relaxation while also evoking the sweet buzz of eye-opening caffeine.

Grande Guide

These explorations led to the realization that they could use the design of the document as the medium for conveying the setting and tone they were trying to achieve, both of which could lead to better engagement.

“When you read in a coffee shop,” says Chernov, “You’re going to get coffee stains and crumpled paper.” The ultimate result was the Grande Guide design, pictured to the right.

The name, “Grande” was also pulled from coffee shop nomenclature bringing the design full-circle.

“We wanted to package information in forms that entice people to read them,” says Chernov. “The Grande Guide design helped us do just that.”

Juan Eloqua

Expanding upon the Grande Guide concept, the team dreamed up a character named, “Juan Eloqua”, a coffee bean grower and marketing expert who is featured in another type of content, video.

The videos are tongue-in-cheek, but they also provide valuable information while engaging the watcher with story.

The medium is the message

Chernov and I did not discuss this, but another benefit I believe they gain from these creative content designs is some solid market positioning.

They seem to be saying, “We’re creative and fun and think out of the box to get it done, not like those stodgy other guys! And we do it all while still providing great info and value!”

If I were in the market for the services they provide, I would select Eloqua in a heartbeat. The message that comes across to me? They don’t take themselves seriously, but they know their stuff cold. I like both parts of that statement.

Taking a page

The non-techie’s guide to finding and choosing software onlineWhere can content design take you? Well, I admit that I was pretty impressed after speaking with Joe about the Grande Guides. That lead me to redesigning my free guide, “The non-techie’s guide to finding and choosing software online” (sign-up for my newsletter at the top of the right sidebar and I’ll send you the guide).

I went from a pretty plain white background with a target on the front to the guide you see to the right. It makes me smile and has improved the number of folks who are downloading it from my site.

Where can content design take you?


  1. Matt,

    Love the post, but love your non-techie guide idea (and cover design) even more. GREAT stuff, keep it coming!

    Your fan,

    • Thanks Joe! Your approach to content and my reaction brings to mind a quote:

      “The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards.” -Arthur Koestler

      When I look at my old guide and my new one, all I can think is, “Duh…why didn’t I think of sprucing it up before this?!”


  2. Matt – for someone who works with Eloqua customers, your comments on “We’re creative and fun and think out of the box to get it done” are spot on. We’ve also created a theme for our Customer Success Tours that includes a mascot “Drake”. See:


  1. says:

    Content design that hooks-in customers…

    I’m bringing Joe Chernov back to tell another great story about success, one that hinges on a factor many companies miss when they publish PDFs and other documents, content design: designing for engagement….

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eloqua and Brian Kardon, Matt Mansfield. Matt Mansfield said: RT @eloqua: "When is a whitepaper not a whitepaper? When it's a Grande Guide!" @MattSMansfield on Eloqua content: […]

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