Three Ways Webinars Help Reimagine Customer Marketing

Marketers know that keeping customers happy is an important part of driving revenue today. After all, a famous (now 20-year-old) study by Bain & Company, Earl Sasser and the Harvard Business School found that a 5% improvement in customer retention rates can improve profits by 25% to 95%.

That’s a lot of potential, but reaping such rewards requires a lot of work, patience and foresight. The best time to implement improvements to your customer marketing efforts — or even start it — is, of course, now.

Fortunately for marketers, it’s easier than ever update — or even launch — customer marketing program. Simply re-examine a webinar program and repurpose it to address customer needs.

Here are three reasons why an organization should turn to webinars to reimagine its customer marketing outreach:

Webinars Put Customers in the Driver’s Seat

Webinars put customers in control of their own experiences, allowing them to attend a live, simulive or on-demand webinar from virtually anywhere on any device.

For example, if a busy customer needs an update on a recent product release, or is wrestling with a new strategy or tactic, then they should be able to consume that content on their own terms. By using a powerful webinar platform, you can provide your audience with the ability to consume webinar on their schedule.

Being able to accommodate content consumption on-the-go is becoming increasingly important as the average commute time increases for workers. Listening to, or participating in, a webinar during a commute on, say, public transit, can save customers time and reinforce trust with your brand.

Customers should also be able to watch what they want to watch in the order they want to watch them in. Webinars empower them to do so while still interacting with a brand and its thought leaders directly.

For example, an organization can collect all of its webinar content on its various products and  services, and consolidate them into an organized self-service hub. There, customers can easily find the latest insights by topic or industry, discover new tactics promoted by your thought leaders and even continue their professional education.

Best yet, with the right tools in place, your on-demand customers can still ask questions, download resources and get information from your team well after a webinar’s initial launch date.

Webinars Refine Customer Experiences

By empowering customers to consume content on-the-go and interact with on-demand and simulive webinars, organizations can continue to collect data on the experiences customers actually want or need. With this data in hand, customer marketers can refine experiences and more.

For example, let’s say you have a new high-profile customer to onboard and little time to do it in. Webinars empower you to look at your historical data and identify the most valuable content previous clients consumed during their onboarding process. In addition to content, you can also identify the most common questions asked and other typical pain points.

With this information, you can easily create a single webinar (or series of webinars) that brings a single account up to speed on your product, how it’s used by similar organizations and chart a path to a successful implementation.

Finally, the ability to act on this data grows more powerful over time. Say a particular industry uses your product in a specific way. With enough data and content, you can create a self-service hub that guides new and old customers through a tactic’s implementation and provide a forum for discussing particular strategies with peers.

Webinars Amplify Customer Advocates

Finally, webinars are powerful tools for nurturing and promoting customer advocates, one of the most valuable marketing assets today. In fact, according to a recent research report from Forrester, prospects consider peers and colleagues to be the No. 1 resource for gathering information about a product or service during the discovery phase of a purchase decision.

This is because prospects at the top of the funnel are eager to hear of the value they can get out of a service from people who actually make use out of the product they’re considering.

Webinars provide the perfect forum for organizations to highlight customer advocates, educate prospects and customers, validate decisions and build a community around your solution.

For example, a single customer advocate webinar can provide attendees with resources on product use, highlight results realized from using your product, clarify any questions about using the product from a trustworthy source, validate your decisions around using your product and, finally, make your customer advocate feel like a rockstar.

All of these elements create a tightly-knit community around your service. And when you have more customer advocates in your webinar program, you can strengthen your buyer’s journey and realize the full value of your customer marketing program.

New at ON24: Increased Accessibility, Effortless One-Click Registration and Much More!

At ON24, we are committed to delivering digital experiences that are not only interactive and scalable but also easily accessible. So for Q3 2019, we are extremely excited to announce more capabilities and tools that ensure users continue to scale their programs and engage even more audiences.

Here are just a few highlights on what’s been cooking over here at ON24:

Increase Accessibility with New Automated Captioning

More than 5% of the world’s population are hearing impared. That equates to approximately 466 million people for whom you can tailor content. On top of that, even the hearing population is demanding more accessibility options. In today’s global economy, there is more need to scale programs to other countries and languages. And more and more individuals are watching your content while commuting, at work or anywhere where they want to option to choose whether audio is on or not. ON24 is excited to formally release auto-generated captioning with 12 languages supported for speech-to-text. Our new captioning technology allows users to:

  • Easily make changes to your on-demand captions with the new in-app editing tool.
  • Download your caption files in VTT file format to make changes in a different or preferred editor.
  • Control whether captions are shown to viewers by default or allow viewers to choose to view captions.
  • Auto-translate your captions to up to 62 languages.

Reduce Barriers to Ongoing Content Consumption

Related and recommended content and one-click registration can now link the experience between Webcast Elite and Engagement Hub, making viewing all of your content easier for your audience. By leveraging the new one-click registration feature, audience members only need to register once to access a webinar hosted in an Engagement Hub. After, they can easily register for all upcoming webinars with a single click without the redundant experience of a full registration page. Not only do you eliminate barriers to entry, but you also get unified registration information on your audience.

New registration page and content landing page designs within Engagement Hub also now boast related and recommended content sections which encourages ongoing content consumption. You can now display recommended and related content to ensure the right content is delivered to your audience at the right time while interest levels are high.

More Flexible Reporting

Engagement doesn’t end with a live webinar. With automatic on-demand, Engagement Hub, Target and other channels, many webinars see more viewership after the live date. To support efforts in understanding all your audiences, we’ve added more controls enabling you to better understand behaviors between live versus on-demand audiences.

  • The Webcast Intelligence Report has been redesigned to break out audiences via three sections: Summary (overall numbers), Live Performance and On-Demand Performance.
  • On the Webcast Intelligence Report Audience page, you can now filter and segment by registrants, attendees and no-shows.

We aim to ensure marketers are building the best digital experiences. Be sure to check out our Webinar Best Practices Series for tips and tricks to optimize your programs. And keep checking back in for more enhancements and new tools!

Wrap Your Head Around ABM With These 24 Statistics

24 Statistics To Wrap Your Head Around ABM

Once criticized as another marketing buzzword, curious marketers began dabbling in account-based marketing (ABM) to try their luck with targeted marketing. Now, ABM has solidified its place in many marketing departments as an effective go-to-market strategy.

With 87% of marketers declaring that ABM delivers a higher ROI, it’s no wonder why the method is capturing attention. ABM is now being applied to the entire customer lifecycle, supporting the interests of customers and objectives of customer success teams. By applying the principles of ABM the customer life cycle, marketers are changing account-based management into account-based engagement (ABE).

To understand the impact ABM has on the marketplace, we’ve compiled a few stats to give you a better understanding of its scale, impact to businesses and where the method is headed next.

What ABM Has Delivered so Far

Account-Based Marketing works. Of its current practitioners, its return on investment and value to the organization is remarkable.

  1. ABM continues to deliver a higher return on investment. With 77% of marketers achieving 10% or greater ROI from ABM, 45% achieving more than double the ROI from ABM.
  2. It doesn’t stop at ROI. Companies using ABM generate 208% more revenue from their marketing efforts.
  3. And it isn’t just marketers who prefer personalization. A survey by CEB found that individual stakeholders who perceived supplier content to be tailored to their specific needs were 40% more willing to buy from that supplier than stakeholders who didn’t.
  4. It’s also good news for teams trying to reach high-level buyers. SiriusDecisions found 30% of marketers that worked in an account-based manner reported greater than 100% engagement increase with their C-level targets.

ABM Brings Sales and Marketing Together

Get ready for some high-fives. Marketing and sales alignment is one of the most significant benefits of ABM, thanks to the increase in closed deals.

  1. Misalignment is an expensive problem to have. Hubspot notes that wasted marketing efforts due to misalignment between marketing and sales cost $1 trillion a year.
  2. Unproductive prospecting is the problem. One component of that cost is unproductive prospecting, which historically causes sales to ignore 50% of marketing leads and waste 50% of sales time. Ouch.
  3. ABM brings sales and marketing closer. Thankfully, ABM boosts sales and marketing alignment. Seventy percent of ABM users report their sales and marketing organizations are mostly or completely aligned and 83% of marketers say ABM increases in engagement with target accounts, making the marketing and sales process more efficient.
  4. Aligning sales and marketing is when the money rolls in. According to Forrester, companies with aligned marketing and sales organizations achieved an average of 32% annual revenue growth.
  5. ABM can improve contract value. According to Madison Logic, companies using ABM primarily see revenue growth through a 171% increase in their Annual Contract Value (ACV).
  6. ABM can inspire better deals. SiriusDecisions agrees ABM can lead to bigger deals, reporting that 91% of marketers that use ABM have indicated a larger deal size, with 25% stating their deal size being over 50% larger.
  7. Better revenue and deals can lead to more opportunities. An increase in revenue can create an environment for a greater number of deals overall. According to Gartner, ABM programs show a 70% increase in the number of opportunities created.

ABM Demands Content

The magic is in the marketing strategy. Marketers are reimagining how they can create experiences to delight customers while balancing scale.

  1. ABM is breathing new life into content. ABM’s impact is so measurable that 95% of the nearly 200 B2B CMOs identified “better tailoring of content” as a top priority for their teams.
  2. Creators are in demand. Developing campaign assets designed to be easily customized and scale is one of the top four challenges organizations face in ABM programs.
  3. Teams are learning new skills. Managers are investing in their team’s skill sets to help, with 49% saying content creation and tailoring is a priority, and involving 40% of their marketing teams in ABM efforts.
  4. Marketing automation needs to be a part of the plan. Digital is easing the content pain as well, with 71% of ABM marketers using Marketing Automation to support ABM and with 41% using personalized webpages.
  5. The budget for ABM is growing. Five years ago, companies practicing ABM dedicated 15% of their marketing budgets to ABM. Today, that percentage has nearly doubled to 28%.
  6. ABM results improve with age. Eighty percent of marketers doing ABM for three years or more reported significantly higher ROI, compared to 45% of marketers less than three years in.

ABM’s Next Evolution

ABM results don’t stop when the deal closes. Often, the customer experience is even more critical.

  1. Moving ABM to ABE works. Targeted ABM experiences are leaving great impressions, with 67% of marketers saying ABM accounts have greater customer success than other accounts.
  2. ABE means better retention and expansion. Success with ABE has led 84% of ABMer’s to believe that ABM provides significant benefits for retaining and expanding current client relationships.
  3. ABE marketers are playing catch-up. To capture retention now, 61% of ABM marketers are focusing their efforts on existing clients. Only 39% are focusing on new accounts.
  4. ABM also drives up customer advocacy. Sixty-six percent of marketers say ABM accounts are more likely to provide positive references and advocate than other accounts.
  5. Better advocates provide better research. Strong advocates lead to improved product research and development. Fifty-seven percent of account-based marketers say collaboration with ABM accounts led to the development of valuable new solutions for their companies.
  6. Customer experience centers are growing. Realizing that ABM applies to the complete customer lifecycle, Gartner reports that by 2018, more than half of companies will redirect investments towards customer experience innovations.
  7. ABM MarTech will boom. Overall, projections show the market spend on ABM technologies will grow from $651.9m in 2018 to $1,196.9m by 2023.

While many marketers are still refining the best practices and operational components for ABM, it’s clear that it has a positive impact. But like any movement, its practitioners are starting to ask what it will do next.

Analysts like Ovum and Forrester predict the next chapter of ABM will be a renewed focus on ABE (Account-Based Engagement), providing engaging experiences throughout the customer journey.

Want to learn more about the evolution to Account-Based Engagement? Read Forrester’s Report, “ABM Must Evolve Into Account-Based Engagement.”

How B2B Marketers Can Optimize For Reach and Account Coverage

This post is the latest in our series on B2B marketing optimization and how to take your marketing efforts to the next level.

Earlier on the ON24 blog, we’ve explored why optimization in B2B marketing is important, what are the common barriers to optimization and why you should benchmark your own performance.

We also covered why optimization should be done across the entire customer journey. The first step in that journey is acquisition.

Many marketers might see acquisition as the point at which a visitor becomes a known prospect. But if you aren’t reaching them in the first place with your demand generation marketing, turning them into a known (and cookied) prospect is impossible.

This post will explore some steps you can take to get a high-level view on how well you are currently doing in reaching your target customers and accounts so you can take steps to optimize your efforts for reach.

Clearly define your target customer

While you can simply optimize reach in terms of ‘more impressions’ or ‘more website visitors,’ what you really need is ‘more impressions from potential customers’ or ‘more website visitors from potential customers.’

Of course, the nature of impressions and visitors is that they are largely anonymous at the earliest stages of the customer journey. However, by taking such a lens at the start, you can keep your reach optimization within the bounds of those who could become your customers.

Take the information from your target customer profiles that you use in your marketing planning. Job titles, industries, headcount, geographies, technologies used – all of these can help when figuring out how to optimize your campaigns. Target account lists can also be helpful.

From a campaign perspective, examine that you have a clear idea on what your target prospects are researching. As covered in ON24’s scrappy marketing series, external and internal data sources can be valuable and ensure your view on their needs aligns with what the data demonstrates.

Get a clear picture on your first-party data and who you know already

To a large extent, the prospects and customers you already have in your database are those who will have already been reached. Your job now is to help convert them or, if they are customers already, to retain and engage them.

Make sure to remove these contacts from the equation if you are optimizing for reach. At the earliest stages (i.e. before they MQL), there may be no need, but if you are paying to send early-stage messages to your existing clients, you’ll waste money and potentially damaging your customer experience.

Organizing who you alreadu know against who you don’t is also an opportune time to see when your last data cleansing efforts have taken place.  Doing so allows you to get a more accurate view of whether these contacts can already be considered ‘reached’ or if they actually need to be removed.

Assess your current reach across each of your channels

The next stage of optimizing for reach is to bring together the data on each of your channels to get a view on how well they are performing against each other and a variety of metrics. Such an effort might look like the table below, which may already be in your standard reports.

Optimizing for B2B Marketing Reach - Channels and Metrics

This will help you get a fast view on:

  • Where are we driving the most impressions?
  • Where are we most efficient at driving impressions?
  • What is actually driving clicks and visits? And at what cost?

You’ll likely want to dig further into each channel to look at the individual campaigns you are running, but this high-level view will help you to start exploring where you might focus your optimization efforts.

On the other side of the coin, there may be areas where you simply can’t collect the data. For example, if you work with a referral partner that only sends traffic to your landing pages, you might never know the impression count. By its nature, direct traffic doesn’t have impressions as this represents visitors coming directly to your site.

Likewise, it might be difficult to accurately estimate the costs of organic or “free” impressions and visits – but do try to work out a figure based on employee time or agency rates where possible.

If you are using an account-based marketing tool, there may be views within your current platform helpful for assessing your reach for particular target accounts across different channels.

Also, look to segment out these figures between new and returning visitors, along with known and unknown contacts.

Identify what areas you might wish to optimize

Once you have this high-level view, you can start to identify possible areas worth prioritizing for your optimization efforts.

Compare your own performance against sources of benchmark data that you can find. For example, are you paying way more than average for your impressions? Is your clickthrough rate sub-par? Is your reach through organic channels below where you would like it to be? Have there been any significant changes over time? Are you paying unnecessarily for visits for known prospects or customers? From an account-based marketing perspective, are there some channels that aren’t getting through?

From this information, choose what areas you will focus on for your first optimization steps.

Also, always keep conversion in mind. You don’t want to optimize for visitors that will simply arrive and bounce, never to be seen again.

Set a goal to optimize against – and consider deduping against known contacts

With your optimization priorities in hand, you can now set a goal for your reach optimization efforts. Make sure that any goal is SMART – that is, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.

And as you run your campaigns, consider adding any existing contacts to an exclusion list for your paid efforts. This will help you save money, focus on reaching new prospects, and keep the customer experience high.

If you’re taking an account-based approach to reach your targets, make sure to download The B2B Marketer’s Guide to Account-Based Marketing.

Jack’s Hacks: 5 Tips for Driving Engagement During Your Webinars

When it comes to digital marketing, we’re often looking to drive engagement with audiences. Fortunately, webinars are the most effective way to drive engagement with your audience over digital channels.

But simply running a webinar isn’t enough to drive engagement. Your audience has to interact with you and to encourage that interaction you need to make use of the engagement tools made available to you. Polls, surveys, chat rooms, downloadable resources are all valuable tools to get your audience to interact with your content.

Knowing how to use them is critical to webinar engagement and success. Here are five tips and tricks you can use to ensure you get the most engagement possible.

Webinar Q/A

The Q/A widget is the bread and butter of your webinar engagement. It allows your audience to talk with you directly and even to influence the flow/content of the webinar. The best way to start driving Q/A is to start asking, and answering, questions early and often. Encourage your audience to submit their questions and share stories from the get-go. Often you will find that when you read what people submit, it encourages more attendees to chime in. Before you know it, everyone will be participating.

To help run the Q/A it is very helpful to have a non-presenter logged into the Q/A roll during the event. I suggest creating folders that this person can organize submissions into to make things easier for the presenter(s). They can also answer questions that the presenter(s) isn’t able to get to.

webinar Polls

Similar to Q/A, polls allow the audience to share their own thoughts with the presenter in real-time. We like to include a poll very early in each webinar to help set the tone and get people used to interacting. The live results are a fun way to show the audience how their peers feel about a given topic.

Use Video in webinars 

You audience wants to see your smiling face. Liven things up by moving away from just audio with slides. Your audience is less likely to zone out if they can see you on camera.

Don’t let video scare you. You don’t need any fancy equipment. Fifty-one percent of video presentations are done using a webcam.

Have Fun With It

I am firm a firm believer that if you are having, fun others will have fun too. Try new things, make jokes, and think outside of the box.

Don’t Stop at the End of the Webinar

The engagement doesn’t need to end just because the webinar has! Offer your viewers more ways to engage. You can promote other events via resources, images and especially the CTA widget. Don’t let your webinar be a dead end.

Don’t forget to check out “7 Secrets to Avoid a Boring Webinar” on October 9th for tips on livening up your webinars!

Feature Friday: Content Insights

In 1996, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote “Content is King,” and that phrase continues to reign 23 years later (see what I did there?). In the decades since “content is king” has become a mantra for marketers—because content is the essential element of digital marketing strategies, prospect self-education and sales engagement.

Having a strategy with content at the forefront is essential and critical for reaching audiences. With half of B2B buyers now relying even more on content than before to make their purchase decisions, 95% of B2B CMOs consider “better tailoring of content” a top priority. And a robust strategy isn’t just about simply producing content, but also about ensuring the most pertinent and relevant content is provided to target audiences.

The ON24 Platform enables Content Insights that provide marketers with an understanding of how each piece of content is performing, how their audience is engaging with that content and further informs them of the right content for their audiences. Wherever that content is hosted, such as in your Engagement Hub or a Target experience, key metrics are captured so users  can choose the right content for each audience and digital content experience that they build. Content Insights’ actionable data includes:

  • Total content views
  • Unique viewers
  • Average viewing time
  • Ratings and Comments
  • Top accounts that viewed the content
  • Audience comments
  • And more!

Equipped with this level of robust data, marketers can start to optimize their campaigns and select the best content for specific audiences, personas or accounts. The delivery of tailored and customized content experiences effectively increases engagement, content consumption and accelerates buyer journeys.

Content Insights can easily be accessed across ON24 products and tools including Engagement Hub, Target and the Media Manager.

If you’d like to learn more about ON24 Intelligence and Content Insights, please contact us. If you’re an ON24 customer, learn more about Content Insights in the Knowledge Center.

5 Ways Marketing Can Drive Sales to Close

In a post yesterday I wrote about the fact that only 2% of marketers believe they have an ‘excellent’ relationship with Sales. This was in response to a webinar that I was invited to attend by ON24 with the title webinar “How Marketers can Help Sales to Always be Closing” with where the excellent Maya Ahluwalia and I took slightly different perspectives on the subject … marketing versus sales! Doing prep for events like this is great fun, and I thought I would see if anyone agreed with me or if I missed something in terms of my top five ways Marketing can help Sales.

Matthew Kelleher is the Chief Commercial Officer for Technology, SaaS and Data Platforms at RedEye. This post was originally published on LinkedIn.com. Shared with author’s permission.

Method 1: Develop and manage an effective pipeline.

A great question was asked during the webinar – ‘What can I do to get Sales to pick up the MQLs we are delivering?’ My reaction to this, with my background in sales, is that if a sales team is not picking up MQLs then they don’t see a value in them. And this takes us back to the point: developing and managing an effective pipeline is not about delivering MQLs, it goes way beyond that.

Method 2: Work Down the Pipeline.

It is an exciting trend to see marketers increasingly take responsibility further in the process, nurturing opportunities further down the pipeline and thereby delivering warmer leads, more likely to be in the buying window, to Sales. After all, Marketing is the brains of the outfit (ouch, did I just say that?!), the Holmes to sales’ Watson, Hardy to their Laurel (that last one might not work, but I still like it). Marketing should own the science, sales the brawn!

Method 3: Use Open Communication Channels to Gather and Utilise Key Information

Demand and Lead Gen strategies need to be built around the buyer drivers. What are prospects saying are their motivations for engaging with the vendor? Why do clients buy? Indeed, why are deals lost? All of this information is held by Sales, but with a solid partnership and open communication between Sales and Marketing, then this type of information is critical to developing winning content and lead gen strategies.

Method 4: Take Nurture away from Sales.

Marketing automation platforms are now able to deliver highly sophisticated programmes that can help develop opportunities closer to the buying stage. As part of the answer to (1) above, Marketing needs to maximise this process to make sure spend and performance are optimised.

Method 5: Support ‘In the Room’

This is not only the obvious stuff, for instance: collateral, case studies, client stories, excellent sales decks, client testimonials, etc. But whilst Marketers don’t often want to actually be in the room, nor do sales always want them there, senior marketers, CMOs for instance, can add both sometimes deeper product and market understanding but also Board level kudos.

But on the webinar last week everything kept coming back to what a key partnership Sales and Marketing is and that the most important element of that is to have both parties understand and committed to the partnership and willing to share important information. But this is not always the easiest thing to do!

To read more on Matthew’s takes from “How Marketers Can Help Sales To Always Be Closing” click here. To watch the webinar itself, click here.

Jack’s Hacks: The Anatomy of a Webinar Program Template

The Anatomy of a Webinar Program Template 09/13/2019

Note: We use Marketo here at ON24, but the principles of this post should be applicable across other platforms as well.

Here at ON24 we run a lot of webinars. A LOT. One of the keys to running a webinar program at scale is creating easy-to-use program templates that can be quickly cloned and set up with minimal work. There are three main components to a webinar program template: tokens, smart campaigns, and emails. I recently revisited one of our most used templates and made some changes, let’s take a look.

Tokens

I am a huge proponent of tokenization. Tokens allow us to input information in one place and use it in many other places. Most of these tokens are fairly universal, but a few are designed for very specific uses.

Smart Campaigns

I categorize our operational smart campaigns into two categories, Status Changes and Follow Ups. The status change campaigns maintain proper statuses (and everything that goes with them). The follow-up campaigns send follow-ups based on the statuses of program members.

We have two registration smart campaigns. One listens for registrations via the webinar landing page, the other listens for registrations coming through via external promotions like content syndication, online advertising and sponsored emails. Here is what the flow looks like in the registration campaign (notice the use of one of our tokens).

We also have three different follow-up campaigns. The first runs one day after the webinar airs and sends either a “thank you” or a “sorry we missed you” email depending on member status.

Once the webinar has switched over to on-demand, we still want people to receive follow-up emails. This is where “020 No Show – On-Demand – Follow Up” and “021 Attendee – On-Demand – Follow Up” come into play. We want on-demand attendees to receive an email one day after watching the webinar. For those that register for the on-demand webinar, but never attend, we want them to receive a reminder to watch a few days later.

To accomplish this I have set up two smart campaigns. The attendee campaign is triggered by a status change to “Attended On-Demand.” To ensure the email is delivered the next day during business hours, we utilize a wait step that must end at 8:00 AM PDT on a business day.

The no-show follow-up email is a little trickier. We want to give people a few days to attend, so rather than utilizing a trigger we instead set up a batch campaign to run once a week and send an email to anyone that still has a status of “No Show” or “Registered.” We also ensure they did not receive the initial no-show follow-up that went out the day after the original broadcast. We set the smart campaign so that leads can only run through it once to keep this email from being repeatedly sent to members.

Emails

Our webinar programs start out with the six emails seen above. They end up with a lot more since we clone the promo emails depending on need, but the operational emails do not change.

Things you can tokenize in your emails:

  • Landing page URL
  • Webinar date
  • Webinar time
  • Webinar title
  • iCal link
  • GCal link
  • Image header
  • Next webinar URL/related content URL

Our confirmation emails are great examples of this as there are six program tokens used in each one.

Three Big Things You Need to Know About Marketing to Tech

The technology industry knows one thing well: it knows how to grow fast. But keeping up with growth goals isn’t easy. The clients tech organizations sell to — often tech companies themselves — are increasingly difficult to reach, communicate with and close. So when it comes to marketing to tech knowing how to engage pays.

There are a few reasons why marketing to tech is so difficult. Purchase decisions are largely up to the whims of buying committees — which are growing in size. Organizations considering solutions are searching for bespoke approaches. Finally, tech companies are looking for the complete package from a vendor — an easy experience from a vendor knowledgeable of pain points with a solution that addresses those pain points.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve examined the high-level changes affecting the tech industry today and how digital technologies and techniques can help marketers adapt to those changes. We also surveyed our tech industry clients about how they use webinars to realize their growth goals. You can read what they have to say in our report, “ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report: Technology” or take a look at our infographic at the end of this blog post for high-level takeaways.

So, how, exactly, is the tech industry changing when it comes to buying from tech? Here’s a brief recap of what we found:

Customer Experience Is Critical

Having a best-of-breed product or solution isn’t enough anymore. Tech companies are looking for experiences that prove a vendor can also be a trusted partner that’s capable of navigating complex challenges, deliver results and keep up with the pace of change in the digital arena.

This means many technology companies must commit to building out, and improving on, their thought leadership content. With a better interactive experience in place, vendors can then, as Steve Jobs once said, “work backwards to the technology.

Anything-As-A-Service Is a Differentiator

But what kind of technology are tech companies looking for? Well, they’re looking for flexible technology that’s efficient and fast. More often than not, that means they’re looking for a Software-as-a-Service solution.

It’s easy to see why. SaaS models are known to cut down on IT costs, but they also power digital transformation efforts and respond to market demands. In fact, the model is so popular that 70% of companies say SaaS (or its brethren Everything-as-a-Service) is “very” or “critically” important to business success.

But SaaS is a crowded field. A recent survey found that more than 7,000 individual SaaS solutions in the marketing space alone. To differentiate, companies need to position themselves as a small, but integral, part of their client’s larger whole. Vendors need to be able to integrate with other SaaS solutions, inform customers of improvements and updates and continuously demonstrate how their solution can help accelerate a customer’s business.

Buying Committees Demand Better Content

All this adds up to the demand for better content. But better content doesn’t necessarily mean more content. Vendors selling to technology companies need to have a keen understanding of their audience — often buying committees — and adjust their work accordingly.

Vendors need to accommodate the concerns of a range of different stakeholders when selling to a technology company. That’s because buying decisions often boil down to buying committees. These committees often consist of cross-functional teams and members, each with their own concerns and interests. Creating content appealing to multi-level roles isn’t easy and is the top challenge facing 68% of organizations selling to tech.

The solution is a combination of content marketing approaches. Thought leadership should be front and center early on. Third-party validation pieces from surveys, reviews and studies are also critical for success. Finally, marketers selling to tech can increase their odds by focusing on three main content areas. First, develop and maintain a robust buyer persona map — one which gives a thorough assessment of a buyer’s needs, motivations and concerns. Second, prioritize educational content over messaging content. Third, develop content that builds customer loyalty and continues the conversation as they use your product.

To learn more about what it means to market to technology today, download “ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report: Technology.”