Well, having just come off of the Austin and Boston Summits I have a clearer view of what “convergence” means to IT buyers. In Boston I had a great IT panel from Novartis Vaccines, Thompson Reuter and American Tower. Between them they had buying authority for close to 500 million dollars.
I asked them to respond to the theme I’d chosen for the Summits, namely “convergence”, as it seems to be the next chapter in defining how online marketers should approach their marketing activities online. Actually, converged is not far removed from an integrated approach but the real time aspect of social discussions influencing IT buys without a marketer’s influence somehow begs for a word like converge.
Their gut reaction to this perspective and a converged ad format I showed them that combined a branding, demand gen and social piece was that it made perfect sense. Their time to buy in their markets have been greatly compressed and as our latest Media Consumption research shows they often have less than 6 months to get through their buy cycles including research online. One panelist put it perfectly when he said, “Well it may be convergence for marketers but for us it’s convenience.” He and the other buyers said they’d rather be exposed to multiple marketing formats at once as long as they can “control” their interaction times and when they engage. They see this as efficient- not overwhelming.
Another thought I put forward is that the industry needs to wrap their arms around engagement as a lead metric for calculating ROI and consequently figure out how to elicit engaged users/audience in a way that positively impacts branding awareness as well as lead gen as well as positive social interactions. The trick is to do this in a way that is acceptable to IT target audiences and on a platform that makes it easy to engage with a sponsor’s content.
Of course, we at TechTarget plan to have plenty of pragmatic ways to do just that –check out this example of an Engage Ad that offers multiple media options to marketers and multiple choices to IT buyers…