Category: Technology

Through the funnel: Marketing technologies becoming priority for b2b media

DragonForceSourceMedia has a new owner and a full war chest to pursue acquisitions. Among its targets: digital marketing technologies that can create a more efficient, targeted buy.

Advanced marketing solutions, including programmatic buying, marketing automation and retargeting, are no longer the domain of tech media but are becoming increasingly important in other verticals as well. “Where are we with tracking people through our funnel?” asked Mason Power, chief marketing officer at iLevel Solutions, during a marketer roundtable at ABM’s recent Annual Conference called “What B2B Marketers Want from You.” “Where are we with tracking people through [b2b publishers’ sites] and connecting the two? That’s what we want to discuss, not space and time.”

This week, Business.com launched a state-of-the-art data platform and content delivery system, designed to offer high-quality content and contextual advertising. The new platform includes advanced display advertising and retargeting, pay-per-click advertising, marketing-ready leads generated through content marketing and sales-ready leads, which connect marketers with active buyers at the final stage of the purchasing process. A video outlining the new services is available here.

“The old media model was to simply connect buyer and seller and get out of the way,” Uphoff said in a recent Q&A with ABM. “The new model uses data to connect the right buyer to the right seller at the right time while nurturing that relationship.”

Praetorian Group, Inc. earlier this year announced a partnership with Drakontas LLC, a software and communications firm geared toward providing solutions for the government sector. As a result of this deal, Drakontas’s DragonForce software will be incorporated into Praetorian’s PoliceOne Network, a news resource and directory for the law enforcement industry. Drakontas will specifically be working with Praetorian Labs, the innovation investment division of the parent company.

DragonForce is an interactive, software-as-a-service (SaaS) package designed to aid in connectivity of law enforcement teams – both tactical and non-tactical. It offers an instant messaging platform, photo and document sharing, tracking capabilities and a collaborative whiteboard-style program. Praetorian’s addition of this software to its PoliceOne Network – which already offers news, training, product research and more to law enforcement professionals – will result in an even more comprehensive user experience.

“Many leading tech companies have incubators, labs or investment funds to better monitor trends, inform future M&A and investments and stay on the forefront of innovation,” Praetorian CEO Alex Ford told ABM. “I think we’ll see more of these types of programs being launched by media companies as they continue to evolve. It’s one thing to launch tech products and websites, but entirely another to become a part of the tech ecosystem of your market and stay on the forefront of innovation. Programs like Praetorian Labs and partnerships with companies like Drakontas allow us to do just that.”

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What LinkedIn means for b-to-b marketing — and publishers

In a post on TheGuardian.com, writer David Benady endorses LinkedIn as the “first port of call” platform for business-to-business marketers. He writes that b-to-b marketers overlooking the social network could be missing a huge opportunity. While it’s clear that LinkedIn is becoming a major game changer in publishing content for professionals, the platform has also silently built up other offerings for b-to-b marketers, including advertisements and lead generation, the same services trade publishers today offer their clients.

“There are a lot of tactical things that we do for marketers: brand awareness, lead generation, consideration,” said Jonathan Lister, vice president of marketing solutions at LinkedIn, in the eMarketer report, “Marketing on LinkedIn.” “The marketers who find the most success with LinkedIn are the ones who understand that we can help them engage with members all through the business lifecycle and touch them at all points of their decision journey.”

At an upcoming ABM event, LinkedIn executive Dan Roth will talk about how the company serves vertical markets — and where it wants to partner, rather than compete, with publishers. Here’s an overview of LinkedIn’s services, and how they may affect publishers.

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Mobile publishing: 4 essential survival tips

Bart De PelsmaekerThink Mobile First

by Bart De Pelsmaeker, CEO, Readz

Customer expectations have undeniably changed in today’s mobile era. Offering readers content that is easy to read and fun to explore is crucial when it comes to meeting customers’ needs. Mobile phones and tablets are rapidly becoming the platform of preference for content discovery and consumption.

According to a Pew Research study, more than 50% of American adults own either a tablet or a smartphone.  And according to IDC, smart device sales will grow 174% between 2012 and 2017.

Additionally, the Online Publishers Association reports smartphone owners aren’t just playing Angry Birds: They’re some of the most avid consumers of digital content — like news, magazines and email. To this last point, SEO expert Michael Truby thinks that mobile marketing is still all about email.

What does this mean for you?

Simply put, your customers — or prospective customers — are probably accessing your content, particularly your magazines and newsletters, on mobile devices as well. It’s time to make sure your customers have a great experience on them too.

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ABM president: Associations must consolidate as industries collaborate

Clark Pettit, ABM president and CEO.

On the day ABM announced that 97 percent of its members approved of its now-official merger with the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), Clark Pettit, ABM president & CEO, published a blog post on MediaPost.com warning that more association consolidation is to come – and with good reason.

We’re heading toward a wave of association consolidation,” wrote Pettit. “It’s inevitable and it’s important. It’s inevitable because business models are overlapping, so more companies need access to ideas, information, resources and people outside their silos. It’s a simple matter of supplying what customers demand. It’s important because associations are the mechanism through which top executives can understand the models – and meet the players – they need to create complete solutions. At their best, associations should be the nexus of creative labs and cauldrons.”

Pettit also writes that as technology and solutions evolve rapidly, consolidated associations will rise to the top as they will have more resources and a breadth of knowledge from multiple and complementary industries.

“Industry executives are confronting increasing complexity, which they have to figure out in less time. They need more support from complementary businesses to keep their customers satisfied. Yet they have less time to devote to developing foresight and connections by participating in association meetings. That’s a prescription for fewer, bigger, more diverse associations, following the same integrated model that’s remaking marketing itself.”

Click here to read the full blog post.

Attracting top talent to b-to-b

13-01-02_BillAultby Bill Ault, head of Randall-Reilly’s data businesses and chair of ABM’s Business Information Council.

I have been asked to predict what b-to-b media and information companies can expect in 2013. In his book The Black Swan, Nassim Taleb effectively argues that it is impossible to predict the future. So in light of that, I have elected to take the safe road and comment on one trend that I find particularly fascinating and offer one idea to help capitalize on it:

As media and information companies acquire an increasingly more sophisticated set of technical capabilities, clients will move a greater share of their marketing spend to media and information companies and away from agencies and other service providers.

Clients need help with the practical marketing applications of new and existing technologies (in most cases, emerging technologies are too new), and b-to-b media & information companies have a huge opportunity to capture these dollars. We’ve all seen the dramatic and frightening growth of client spending on their “own” internal marketing initiatives. The great news is that the pace and speed of change is so rapid that the overwhelming majority of b-to-b clients cannot possibly begin to keep up (at Randall-Reilly, we see this in every space we play in). The only way we, b-to-b media and information companies, can possibly hope to survive in this environment is to acquire leading and even bleeding-edge technical capabilities. But how can we possibly afford to do this? Do you have any idea what Fortune 500 companies are doing to attract top technical talent? I do.

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Selling audience over product: How Advanstar solved the database riddle to drive new revenue

by Ronda Hughes, director of Audience Data, Advanstar Communications Inc.12-10-02_RondaHughes

Close to a year ago, our leadership team gathered to try to understand how to become more efficient and effective internal marketers and how to obtain more revenue from our audience databases.  It was with great excitement (and fear) that we realized we had two issues on our hands: 1) We needed to figure out how to consolidate our disparate databases into a single consensus file, and 2) Once we had a single consensus file, we had to actually use all the data to grow internal leads and at the same time grow revenue!

It didn’t take long before we discovered that our audience databases were all over the place. We had six separate databases housing our publication, conference, e-newsletter, webinar, website and whitepaper customers. From a data management perspective, we didn’t have the internal technical resources available to pull this all together. On the sales side, our message was very “product-centric” as opposed to being “audience- or brand-centric,” so there was a learning curve we needed to climb if we wanted to grow a new revenue stream once this system was up and running. After a review of third-party solutions, we chose to partner with Knowledge Marketing and leverage their Audience Management System to tackle our database problems head on.
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Tablets open readers up to longer stories

When you’re reading on a desktop or laptop, there are always distractions. An email message pops up. Links take you to new windows. A chat icon starts flashing. When you’re surfing on a smartphone, there are constant distracts there, too. It’s annoying to read long articles on tiny screens, and text messages keep coming in. On the other hand, a tablet or e-reader shows you just one thing at a time, with fewer distractions. The whole point of the e-reader is to encourage reading actual books in peace. E-book and tablet tech is nudging users to relax and enjoy a longer read.

Case in point, user statistics show that people who use smartphones for Web browsing spend less time on sites and click away quickly. In comparison, iPad users spend “about 35 percent more time browsing, they view more pages per visit, and they are more likely to be loyal visitors,” according to Metro Media Works. These new tablets are encouraging readers to slow down.

And tablet use is exploding, not only among consumers generally, but among business users. Apple shipped more iPads in the fourth quarter of 2011 than any single manufacturer sold personal computers, double the same pace a year ago. According to a CNet report, businesspeople are quickly adding tablets to their work routine, and it should be easy for Apple to convince enterprise users to adopt them. A new study released this month reports that tablet use among small and medium business owners quadrupled over the past year.

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