Part 2 of Q&A with Marilou Barsam of TechTarget, A Top B2B Advertising Venue

Part 2 of Q&A with Marilou Barsam of TechTarget, A Top B2B Advertising Venue
Stephanie Tilton - Tue May 19, 2009 @ 12:51AM
Comments: 10

In part 1 of this 3-part interview, Marilou Barsam -- Senior Vice President, Client Services and Corporate Marketing for TechTarget -- offered insights into the ways technology marketers can take advantage of TechTarget's offerings. Here she shares details of the services and information that TechTarget delivers to its clients. TechTarget logo

Q. What are examples of success that B2B advertisers have had with your lead generation and branding programs?

A. Our clients have found that they can achieve success with both lead generation and branding by running an integrated program that spans online, editorial, and event sponsorship, along with content distribution across our network. We feature a number of case studies on our site that illustrate these successes.

Q. What services do you provide to help clients achieve this success?

A. We offer a combination of reporting, analysis, and interpretation to guide our clients’ understanding of their campaign’s performance. We start by distributing standard lead reports every week. If a client wants early-stage leads, they can take advantage of our fast-pass registration that enables them to generate leads without applying filters. If a client wants leads that fit a certain criteria – for example, "how did the reader answer my registration questions?" – our client consultants can work with the marketer to develop custom registration questions. This enables marketers to analyze respondents’ responses and better determine where they are in the buying cycle.

By tracking performance across various media, and analyzing which content and subjects pull the best and why, we are able to provide insight into a marketer's overall effectiveness. We also review their integrated campaigns at various stages and recommend modifications to their program that should help improve results. Our clients find this incredibly useful in understanding what does and doesn't work online.

Companies that are disciplined about tracking leads from TechTarget can take steps that accelerate the sales cycle. For example, if they see that certain leads are more active or engaged than others – for example, downloading lots of white papers, attending numerous webinars, and listening to podcasts – they can isolate those leads and treat them preferentially.

Q. What common lessons do your clients learn in the course of working with TechTarget?

A. Companies are realizing that they should never give up on a lead that is attracted to the content they're providing. One of our clients didn't consider a lead from us to be qualified. The lead had downloaded lots of content but had indicated in the registration that he or she wasn't ready to pick a vendor and make a purchase. Instead of giving up on the lead, the client entered it into its closed-loop nurturing program. After three to four months, the lead was further along in the buying process but still not sales qualified. So the client passed it over to telemarketing. Telemarketing followed up for 2-3 months. After a total of 7 months, the company made the sale.

The key takeaway is that companies need to treat all leads with dignity relative to where they are in the buying process. The days are gone when marketers can cast a wide net and toss the catch over to sales, treating each lead equally. Most companies will go to great lengths to figure out how to cluster their leads based on their buying-readiness, and then “work them” accordingly. Their ultimate goal is to figure out which leads are most qualified and, fortunately for us, our clients find that a high percentage of our leads are strong, “ready-to-buy” leads.

Q. What type of information do you provide that helps advertisers prioritize and nurture leads?

In addition to the reporting and analysis we provide, our lead nurturing program is extremely valuable to marketers without the infrastructure to manage this on their own. Our proprietary algorithms enable us to determine a lead’s engagement level. And our proprietary re-messaging process helps our clients treat the most promising leads in a preferential manner.

We can spot highly engaged prospects based on insights into the content that they are accessing. This enables us to suggest other relevant content from the same vendor. We work with our clients to make sure the content we suggest will pull the lead further downstream. We might start presenting content that is more focused on competitive positioning or we might suggest content in another media type. For example, if we see that the prospect has responded to generic educational white papers, we will then introduce solution-specific webcasts or a podcast series. This helps the prospect establish benchmarks of criteria for the solution set and starts creating a bias in their minds toward the particular vendor-sponsor.

Check back later this week for the final part of this interview. Marilou will explain how marketers can keep pace with best practices and share pricing for white paper campaigns on TechTarget.

Read more Savvy B2B posts from Stephanie.

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