As a marketer, the most exciting part of our job at TechTarget is working directly with other marketers. It gives us an opportunity to share new ideas, test some old ones, understand best practices and learn how to avoid marketing pitfalls. For this reason, we are looking forward to this year’s Online ROI Summit, our annual series of tech marketing face to face events around the world. Our first one kicks off in Austin, TX on February 28th and is focused around the theme of “Intelligence Driven Marketing in a Tough Economy.” It seems to be a universal theme among most of the tech marketers we talk to every day – how can I help drive more revenue for my company, how do I ensure I am getting the most bang for my marketing buck (or Euro in EMEA), and how do I make sure I have the metrics and intelligence on my initiatives to ensure a strong ROI. These are among the key themes we are planning to discuss with our peers at the ROI Summit in Austin next month, along with some great marketer case studies and hearing from a panel of IT pros about what matters to them the most when it comes to your marketing.
So whether you are managing marketing initiatives for a Fortune 500 company or an emerging start-up, you are contending with an unpredictable economy that delivers unpredictable prospects and customers. Despite today’s challenging environment you must be more intelligent about the investments you make to market your products and solutions to the right prospects at the right time or risk missing opportunities to engage serious buyers. This year’s event in Austin, TX features a packed agenda with in-depth, interactive sessions and unique perspectives to help you make the right marketing decisions to accelerate growth no matter your company size.
Join us at this year’s event and discover:
We are looking forward to meeting you – here is the event link for our Austin, TX event so you can learn more and register today: http://techtargetsummit.techtarget.com/austin/index.html]]>
I had shared research from our latest Media Consumption study showing how frequently IT vendors will look to a vendor site for additional information and backed this up by showing a video of an IT panelist commenting during our Boston Summit on the subject of integration as it relates to vendor websites. The IT pro remarked that it was so obvious to him that IT marketers tried especially hard to be “on message” with all their online marketing efforts and that many a time they have succeeded in attracting him to their websites. He went on to explain that unfortunately once he landed on their home page there is no reference back to the very content or message that got him there in the first place. He and the other two panelists enumerated the many times they have been confused, if not annoyed, by lack of direction given to them once in vendor territory. So the point I tried to drive home was to think about how to truly integrate the website and to take this as an opportunity to incorporate social elements on the landing page as well.
In general, IT marketers are challenged in figuring out how to build a social strategy that’s converged with their other go to market activities and this is a good beginning. When IT prospects land on your page driven from a third party environment like TechTarget or as a result of your own push-out efforts, greet them with an online chat representative, surround them with social invites like your own LinkedIn or Twitter groups, or introduce them to experts on your page that can continue a digital conversation with them about the very subject or product that they came to check-out in the first place. This way you are extending the social aspect of your campaign and making your website work harder.
I appreciated that many of our Summit attendees, amongst other things, appreciated the need to get on board with social practices that complete the “integration” of their campaigns. Referenced here is one of many that demonstrated that point came across loud and clear….1f48 ]]>
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…]]>
I’ll cite a great example of a campaign that really did work. TechTarget just partnered with a national nonprofit organization that provides IT services and training to nonprofits and young adults. The goal was to create ‘branding awareness’ for this leading non-profit organization and for TechTarget to be positioned as a committed supporter of IT volunteerism. We also tested ‘brand awareness’ of the Volunteerism space, all fully supported by various media types to stage a lead gen, branding, and social campaign. We then ran a controlled vs. exposed study to examine the effectiveness of a ‘co-branded’ campaign for the sole purpose of increasing awareness and consideration intent for this organization and TechTarget related to the topic of IT Volunteerism.
We’ve discovered that through an interactive banner ad campaign consisting of assets such as a social community, video and marketing white papers were instrumental in achieving brand lift by 160% for TechTarget, 58% for Purchase Intent and a 24% aided brand awareness for this organization. That leads us into the discussion of Brand Convergence, the hottest topic in the industry right now. Marketers and their agencies are realizing that the new reality of online marketing requires your branding, social media, and demand generation efforts to be fully integrated.
At our first NYC TechTarget Online ROI Summit, we unraveled the importance and urgency of having your social, lead gen and branding efforts merge together to create the ultimate brand campaign and experience. We saw examples from top marketers and their agencies on how crucial having a social element is which will make or break a campaign, as well has having a direct impact on lead generation. So the bottom line is that you can’t have one without the other. Lead Gen, Social and Branding go hand in hand.
As we enter our next TechTarget Online ROI Summit in September in San Francisco, we’ll hear from top Industry experts, including one of the most popular social media outlets, on how B2B marketers are using social to advance their lead generation efforts as well as how they are integrating social vehicles in their B2B initiatives. Social Media is not just for your friends anymore…]]>
I’m sure you’re thinking, well duh. But start digging deeper into all the new innovations and realize just how ‘under the consumer influence’ marketers have been and you will really appreciate how far digital media has come in just under 2 decades. Another key point drawn from our research, is that as online ads continue to evolve at a rapid pace, that it’s important for us as digital marketers to remember that the ‘IT Pro / Consumer Will Always Be One Step Ahead’. This notion presents all marketers with the opportunity to push the digital media industry even further in every aspect, from innovative online ads to new online tracking applications (Hootsuite, TweetDeck, etc.) and social sharing abilities (Add This, Share This, etc.) or as one of my colleagues, Ben Bradley, refers to in his recent blog ‘Socializing’.
We’ve already seen adaption of new online tools, such as social widgets, that are used to consume and share information, which has further developed a new breed of digital consumers and brand evangelists. In a recent Wall Street Journal article about ‘Like’ Button Follow Web Users, these widgets not only make it easier “to share content with friends and help attract visitors”, these widgets are a “potentially powerful way to track internet users.” We’ve gone from a time of CPM, Open Rates, CTR, CPC to the era of CPE, cost per engagement or what is also known as CPA cost per action.
These more robust engagement metrics have allowed marketers to gather what TechTarget identifies as Activity Intelligence and has influenced the way marketers communicate their message and get users to engage with their brand on a new level. Now in my last blog post, The Power of Customer Intelligence, I discussed leveraging customer intelligence from a high level, so I think it’s time we take it a step further. What happens when you take the core of customer intelligence (behavior, demographics and basic activity- clicks and downloads) and add it with all this robust rich media engagement activity (time in ad, % viewed, # of tweets or shares)?
You now get a more refined set of marketing programs that are purely focused on user engagement, which provides greater insight into the behaviors and thought processes of a potential buyer or prospect.
Already out in the digital space we are seeing these new programs come to fruition. You can find examples in the ‘Digital Media: 2 Decades of Change’ presentation, in the Things Your Mother Doesn’t Even Know About section. These examples showcase three different types of engagement ads that take users beyond the click and immerse them with an interactive brand experience.
Overall, the era of engagement is an exciting place for all marketers to be in. We’ve already begun to see the influence this new breed of consumers has had on the digital ad space. And with every innovative interactive ad, comes a new set of metrics that provides marketers with a more robust set of activity intelligence. The combination of the two is pushing marketers to look beyond the click and make us venture onto new paths of creativity. This will sure be an amazing trip and something tells me we are just scratching the surface of what is yet to come.
Survey participants indicated that social sites are useful overall in supporting branding efforts, although different channels are considered to have their own unique strengths. LinkedIn, for example, was cited primarily for supporting lead generation. Facebook was considered strong in promoting products and events. Twitter was noted for its website traffic-building qualities.
With all this activity around social media marketing, companies should take advantage of using this media vehicle to aid with their overall branding and lead generation efforts, however some companies do come across obstacles when trying to adopt this strategy. The B2b study then went on to explain three major obstacles seen when trying to adopt social media marketing in their company. The single most pressing obstacle was due to “lack of resources,” cited by 70% of survey respondents. Other hurdles uncovered were that 57% of respondents cited “poorly defined success metrics and key performance indicators” as preventing them from adopting this strategy in their organization. Lastly, 44% indicated that “lack of knowledge about social media” was holding them and their companies back from adoption.
Social media is said to be one of the most powerful influencers on buyer behavior, and is “poised for hyper-growth,” according to B2B online. According to a 2011 Social Media Marketing Trends blog post on Webbiquity, just 5% of Americans said they were familiar with Twitter in 2008; by the Fall of 2010, that figure was up to 87%, and Twitter is now adding 300,000 new users per day. Facebook also added more than 150 million new users in 2010.
Has your company adopted social media marketing? What are you waiting for?]]>
How often do we really think of getting involved in volunteering from a corporate perspective? Corporate Volunteerism in the US can trace its roots back more than 25 years. During this time, a growing number of companies have encouraged their employees to support charitable endeavors and non profit organizations through a variety of sponsored activities, events and promotions.
It is of little surprise then that corporations are increasingly engaged in volunteerism. Now, however they are refocusing their programs around their respective core business competencies to drive benefits that transcend philanthropic goals and ultimately support their bottom lines.
This shift has also allowed volunteerism to extend into largely untapped areas such as IT-based services. The move to facilitate IT volunteerism has come thanks in large part to groups such as NPower which matches pro bono IT services through The Community Corps. They not only match skilled IT volunteers with nonprofits in need of help, it manages the entire process allowing corporations to more effectively track each employee’s impact and contribution which is known as Soft ROI.
The ability to track, measure and manage a sponsored volunteer program successfully addresses a critical issue facing corporate volunteerism, clearing the way for IT and tech centric companies such as TechTarget to participate.]]>
This is also being taken up on a National level across bipartisan lines with Senators Kerry and McCain joining forces to send a message to online advertisers on being sensitive to the private data they collect.
The FTC is getting involved to “ensure that the growing, changing, thriving information marketplace is built on a framework that promotes privacy, transparency, business innovation and consumer choice.”
This is obviously a big issue for us on-line marketers to watch and see how it plays out. How would this affect your marketing efforts on-line?1cf5 ]]>
Activity monitoring allows marketers to make use of a “show, don’t tell” approach, where rather than relying on a lead to provide data about themselves, information is gathered though watching the real time behavior of the lead. Most marketers find that knowing that a particular user has recently looked at a high volume of assets around a given topic is far more valuable than that user’s answer to a question about whether or not there is a project in place.
But as with any new technology, as certain challenges are alleviated, new ones appear in its place. While marketers are very familiar with how to bucket leads into categories based on answers to custom questions, dealing with the intricacies of an activity-based approach to lead prioritization is a new frontier. Smaller companies are often better equipped to make qualitative decisions about each lead on a case-by-case basis; larger companies are dependent on CRM tools and quantitative scoring methods. This is where it becomes extremely important for marketers to work with their lead generation vendor to come up with the best possible methods for using this new kind of data. Because a good leads is only as good as the follow up process.
A great additional resource that explores this topic in more depth is: How to Capitalize on Highly Active Leads from TechTarget]]>
Blogs could even be considered yet another vehicle in which organizations use to nurture prospects with information needed to help them get closer to make a purchasing decision. If your organization has not entered the world of blogging, now might be a good time to pursue this initiative, but before you do, make sure your blog content is worthy of attracting and keeping loyal followers.
A recent blog post from March 2010 titled, “5 Ways to Write a Killer B2B Blog post” talks about key strategies for writing blog posts, like making a list. These are very effective in that they are easily scanned and readers know exactly what they are getting when they read further. Examples I would suggest to come of my clients would include posts titled, “Ten Signs That You Need a Server,” “Top 10 Reasons for a Server Refresh,” and “Five Best Practices to Optimize Server Infrastructure Costs with Virtualization.” Other tips include playing off current events like a recent technology conference / trade show, or even leveraging someone else’s thoughts.
While this doesn’t cover every concept that could be used for a B2B blogging strategy, these are just some ideas that have proven to be successful for organizations. Has your organization entered the Blogosphere, and what is your strategy?]]>