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07/22/2014 - 07/24/2014 Los Angeles CA

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CIO 100 Symposium & Awards

08/17/2014 - 08/19/2014 Rancho Palos Verdes CA

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08/20/2014 - 08/23/2014 LAKE TAHOE CA

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Navigating Through the Noise of Big Data

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 Navigating Through the Noise of Big Data

Marketing teams all over the world are being tasked with meeting increasingly higher customer outreach goals yet industry data for the last five years show the percentage of marketing representatives hitting their numbers has plateaued. That’s even after accounting for the recovery from the great recession. At the same time, marketers and sales people are being inundated with endless noise and chatter from news sites, analyst reports, Twitter feeds and blog posts. Trying to decipher any meaningful insight about customers, prospects or markets can leave little time for actual interaction.

Tools for conducting business analytics to cut through big data noise do exist but until recently have required “braniac” data scientists to use, but that is slowly changing. Personal business analytics are making their way to the front line of sales, providing access to the exact information they need to drive intelligent conversations with key prospects to help meet ambitious revenue goals.

Focusing on Relevant Content

Time spent on account research and demand generation is, on average, taking up one-fifth of a person’s workweek. Many companies are just starting to use business analytics to help their marketing and sales teams identify how customers will react at certain conversion points in their customer revenue cycle. These insights are typically derived from mining data collected in their CRM, ERP, customer support and other internal information systems as well as unstructured data from the Business Web. In doing a peer group analysis of existing customers, they are able to generate a profile of what a highly qualified prospective customer actually looks like.

Relevant analytics to focus on include

  • Specific vertical opportunities and industry shifts
  • Identifying real-time risks and opportunities that your solutions match
  • Building strategy around changing characteristics of your customers and markets
  • Competitor activity and strategies

If packaged and presented properly, technology can act as a digital research assistant by showing the opportunities to pursue and the insights needed to develop effective and strategic marketing or sales plans.

Maintaining Strategic Outreach

Customers today can get a wealth of information about a vendor’s products or services via a variety of online options including your web site, your competitor’s site, reading analyst blogs, joining networking groups within social media services such as LinkedIn, and more. They also have high expectations for customer engagement by demanding that it delivers value at every interaction with them in order to win their business.

The messaging many hyper-growth companies use is no longer centered on the product they sell, but rather on understanding trending business issues, why those problems exist, and how to have the best solution to effectively deal with those issues. For example, it’s especially important for B2B sales teams to identify real-time deep insights on their customers’ business expansions and exits in order to align with that customers present and future needs.

Being effective at this, and being seen as a solution consultant, can significantly increase lead conversion rates and increase customer retention. By aligning solutions with real customer needs, marketers can deliver to their sales teams valuable tools that will enable them to have strategic conversations with their executive buyers, leading to shorter sales cycles and bigger deals. 

In Practice

Even though business intelligence has been readily available across many functional teams in the past, it has not been fully optimized in support of sales driven activities. If a marketer wanted to gather insight about emerging technologies, industry trends, or competitive moves, they typically had to reach out to a small internal analyst team for help, search a broad internal library, or perform their own searches on the internet. Today, when the entire team can easily access and understand their targeted customer, they can be more effective at achieving overall revenue growth.

By weeding out the influx of unnecessary data and maintaining focus on the relevant emerging customer trends and information, teams are now able to access business intelligence more efficiently and effectively- regardless of when and where they need it. A company’s effectiveness at helping their marketing and sales teams bridge their product expertise to become new business problem solvers is going to be what dictates whom the market leaders are.

Click here for more blogs and research from IDG Connect 

2014 B2B Tech Content Marketing Trends: Tailoring Content, Tactic Effectiveness, Social Media

Looking for insight into how technology marketers are using content marketing? Check out Content Marketing Institute’s newest research report, 2014 B2B TECHNOLOGY CONTENT MARKETING TRENDS — BUDGETS, BENCHMARKS, AND TRENDS, NORTH AMERICA, sponsored by International Data Group (IDG).

This infographic video focuses on how tech marketers tailor content, tactic effectiveness, and social media usage.

Click here to view an INFOGRAPHIC on this research

To register for this event, click here

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Why Giants Aren’t Always What They Seem

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 Why Giants Aren’t Always What They Seem

Success in today’s marketplace hinges on innovation. Behemoth enterprises know that in order to stay competitive they need to constantly diversify and improve on their offerings. They need to harness the latest and greatest technologies – but these technologies can’t be made in these large companies’ labs. 

The new technologies are being built in incubators and startups at lightning speeds. Currently, there are 940 vendors in the marketing technology space offering innovative, disruptive solutions, and a lot of consolidation has already taken place here. The giants are relying on the little guys to drive innovation, which is why these small and mid-sized businesses are so important.

Innovation is moving downstream, and with it, marketing automation. In its 2014 Marketing Automation BuyerView, technology guidance firm Software Advice found that 50% of all businesses interested in marketing automation were in the SMB space, and that 90% were considering the technology for the very first time. Similarly, Forrester Research’s most recent Wave report pointed to several vendors who had already taken notice of this windfall, and had developed platforms specific to the small to mid-market consumer.

The lesson to be learned in all this is a simple one: businesses today are looking to move beyond the monolithic, enterprise-level suites of old, toward smaller, smarter, more flexible marketing solutions. In other words, bigger really isn’t better, and the giants of past eras aren’t nearly as gigantic as they once seemed.

For proof of this point, we need only consider the following facts. The marketing automation industry has grown by 50% annually for a number of years now, but has managed only to penetrate a mere 3% of non-tech companies in the mid-market. This leaves open a segment opportunity worth up to $8bn, and yet it is often passed over.

The few businesses that have been savvy enough to tap into this space have reaped tremendous rewards as a result. Act-On, for instance, has garnered 2100 customers across verticals like finance, insurance, agriculture, and manufacturing. Better still, the deals they’ve won have largely been noncompetitive, and from companies that were familiar with marketing automation already but unsure as to what solutions to choose.

More importantly, a great deal of innovation has already taken place at the mid-market level for this one reason: the more modern their marketing techniques are, the better chance small businesses have of competing against larger peers.

As Forrester notes in its recent Wave report, the B2B space for marketing automation is tipped to explode in the coming year, and will likely be driven by small, tech startups; slightly more than 50% of companies in this space already use automated lead-to-revenue management platforms to fuel sales pipelines, improve process maturity, and improve collaboration between sales and marketing. And it won’t be long before others follow suit.

All signs tell us that the days of marketing giants have come and gone. The future of marketing automation will be shaped by the plucky, ever-agile small and mid-market players.

For more blogs and research from IDG Connect, click here

Irrelevant Digital Content Impacts B2B Vendors in US & UK

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 Irrelevant Digital Content Impacts B2B Vendors in US & UK

By Jessica Maxwell

We recently completed research that looked at how irrelevant content impacts B2B vendors’ bottom lines. We did two separate surveys that were based on technology buyers who had actively made a purchase decision in the last 12 to 18 months; one was to a US audience and one was to a UK audience.

Despite how different these two regions are, we were surprised to see that the results were extremely similar for every question we asked. Content is irrelevant in both of these markets, and no one is happy about it.

Click to continue reading

Here is an infographic view of the US and UK comparison:

irrelevant digital content impacts B2B Irrelevant Digital Content Impacts B2B Vendors in US & UK

For more blogs and research from IDG Connect, click here 

Are UK B2B media businesses becoming more focused on overseas events?

The Media Briefing

One of the more obvious ways UK B2B media firms have tried growing is to buy up or launch new events in countries with higher growth rates and less developed markets.

In a morning briefing on Top Right Group’s 2013 results last month, the word “events” came from CEO Duncan Painter’s mouth many a time – with particular emphasis on Latin America, China, and Asia.

For Top Right Group, events were providing most of the growth last year – the i2i events segment grew 13 percent on an organic basis – but how are things faring for some of its competitors?

We took a look through some annual reports to find out:

  1. Whether these companies are generating more of their money from their events
  2. Whether that international expansion translates to the bottom line.

Reed Elsevier

Although Reed’s events revenue is increasing, from £707 million in 2011 to £862 million last year, its rest of world revenue as a percentage of the whole dropped off considerably last year, from 71 percent over the two years 2011 to 2012, to 57 percent in 2013. UK revenue was up from 29 percent to 43 percent, however.

Reed also launched more events last year than in 2012 – 37 to 30, respectively.

Centaur Media

Centaur’s events revenue has increased from £21 million to £26 million from 2012 to 2013, and its UK revenue also increased from £60.4 million to £64.3 million. Global revenue excluding the UK was also up 48 percent to £7.7 million last year.

Informa Plc

Events revenue for Informa dipped by over £165 million from 2011 to 2012, but appears to have stabilised, increasing slightly from £413.7 million to £414.7 million last year. On the global stage revenues have been declining, from £1.1 billion in 2011 to £973 million in 2012. UK revenue took a dip from 2011 to 2012 of 12 percent year-on-year, but increased to £159.4 million last year.

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Next Up for B2B Email Marketing: Automation

eMarketer

Email is one of the most widely used and established of all platforms and has long been the cornerstone of many business-to-business (B2B) marketing plans. Given the maturity of this medium, spending on email remained flat for years, though its efficiency did draw some B2B dollars during the economic recession, according to a new eMarketer report, “B2B Email Marketing: Benchmarks and Best Practices for 2014.”

166017 Next Up for B2B Email Marketing: Automation

But even as new digital marketing and advertising platforms, formats, and channels draw companies’ attention and budgets, email remains vitally important and is arguably more valued by B2B marketers now more than ever before. While its core function has not changed substantially, there are new developments and challenges marketers must address: mobile, content marketing and automation.

For B2B marketers that use email—and indeed for any B2B marketer today—personalizing messages and integrating channels are vital, and automation is essential for executing those tactics.

With content marketing now table stakes for email marketers and mobile making it critical that B2Bs reach the right individual with the right message at the right moment, it becomes nearly impossible to personalize email marketing without some form of automation.

B2B marketers recognize the value of marketing automation solutions, but many have been slow to fully integrate the technology into their sales and marketing efforts. Data released in November 2013 by BtoB Magazine showed just 26% of US B2B marketers had completely integrated automation into their sales and marketing initiatives at the end of 2013. More than half (52%), however, expected full marketing automation adoption for this year.

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2014 B2B Technology Content Marketing Trends: Content Marketing Budget, Outsourcing and Challenges

Content Marketing Institute’s newest research report, B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends- North America, gives insight into what technology marketers are using content marketing for. This research, sponsored by International Data group (IDG), focuses on key differences between the most effective technology marketers and their less effective peers.  Watch this video on content marketing budgets, outsourcing and challenges.  

For the full report, click here

Click here to view an INFOGRAPHIC on this research

 

B2B Marketing Technology Spend 2014

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 B2B Marketing Technology Spend 2014

QEDbaton’s B2B Marketing Technology Spend Report 2014 gives an overview of the latest trends. When looking at customer-facing technologies, the report shows a migration of B2B marketers away from digital advertising and moving towards social media marketing. The offerings that marketers are investing more in are content marketing, sales enablement, events and webinars, and email marketing. When it comes to managing the marketing data, business intelligence is a getting bigger and bigger, as well as marketing analytics. These two categories are going to continue to see increases in investments. Another big trend that the report touched on was customer data platforms. This has been something that has been discussed a lot lately because as technology is advancing, customers want their experience to be completely customized for them with real-time information. As technology continues to expand, these marketing tactics will expand too and the challenges for marketers to keep up with demands will increase.

B2B Video Marketing

According to Demand Metrics’s B2B Video Marketing report, 69% of B2B professionals have used video for B2B marketing purposes. 31% of B2B professionals have not begun to use video in their marketing strategies, but are planning to do so in the future. The most important video marketing objectives were to increase brand awareness, increase lead generation, and increase online engagement. Although video is becoming a bigger priority for marketers, still only 15% feel that they are very successful, but 67% feel they are somewhat successful, which is a good step. The reasons for marketers not being very successful could be because of some of the obstacles that they face, such as lack of budget, lack of in-house resources, and creating compelling content. The use of video is still somewhat new, and it’s only going to continue to grow over time. Marketers will get better with it as time goes on and they are able to test new strategies.

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Mobile Infographic: Millennials vs. Generation X

IDG GlobalSolutions Color Mobile Infographic: Millennials vs. Generation X

A global content revolution is upon us. These days practically every piece of con- tent we discover, share or engage with comes as a stream of digital information – real-time search results, social media feeds or swathes of rich media ads and advertorial experiences.

Nearly all respondents aged 18 to 34 owned a smartphone, and 91% of 18- to 24-year-olds and 85% of 25- to 34-year-olds used social networking sites and apps on their smartphone. Only 38% of 18- to 24-year-olds owned a tablet, however. Tablet ownership jumps to 55% among 25- to 34-year-olds, and 65% report using another device or screen, primarily television (83%) at the same time as their tablet.

To reach these audiences, tech marketers are now competing with mainstream brands on Facebook or trying to grab their audience’s attention during television programs. B2B brands investing in quality social content or video with high production values comparable to television are most likely to engage young influencers and stimulate social media shares.

To download the 2014 IDG Global Mobile Survey white paper and view other infographics, click here

millenials vs genx final Mobile Infographic: Millennials vs. Generation X

Putting the Spotlight on the Mobile Evolution

Digital Marketing Magazine

A new Gloval Mobile Survey, from IDG Global Solutions (IGS), has put a spotlight on the evolution of mobile in the biggest study of consumer and business’ use of mobile devices.

The survey highlights a dramatic increase in mobile video consumption with 74% of consumers use a smartphone to watch online videos compared with 61% in 2012. Additionally, mobile is replacing traditional media as 50% of respondents use a tablet to read newspapers and 40% have replaced either the desktop or laptop with a tablet device.

The boundaries between business and personal life are becoming increasingly blurred as 80% of all respondents research products or services for business on a tablet in the evening. However, a lack of mobile enabled websites and concerns about security remain the biggest barriers to the growth of purchases on smartphone.

The survey, conducted among more than 23,500 executives and consumers across 43 countries, focuses on four key areas:

Mobile Executives: How executives use mobile devices – especially for business

Mobile Business: How and when audiences research and purchase products on mobile devices

Mobile Millennials vs. Generation X: Differences in consumer behaviour across video, social and commerce

Mobile Lifestyle: How audiences use multiple screens, socialise and buy on mobile devices

The research also reveals that video consumption has become pervasive on mobile devices with 75% of respondents using smartphones and 87% tablets to watch online video. Millennials and C-Suite executives meanwhile are near equal consumers of tablet video with 92% of 18- to 24-year-olds while 91% of senior executive (CEO/COO/Chairman/President) reporting they watch video on their tablet. Both audiences access all kinds of video content, including YouTube, movies, TV shows and training guides, although senior executives are twice as likely as Millennials to watch promotional videos.

Christina Carstensen, IDG Global Solutions, said: “The ‘mobile evolution’ is having a profound effect on consumers and businesses. It has kick-started the ‘always-on’ culture, presenting brands with unprecedented opportunities to develop closer relationships with their customers. We have moved beyond media convergence to a convergence of technology and humans, and brands more than ever need to show their human side to communicate in a relevant, engaging and intuitive way.”

Mobile Executives

For senior executives, smartphones are a critical business tool. The majority of senior executives (92%) own a smartphone used for business with 77% reporting they use their smartphone to research a product or service for their business. While the majority (93%) go on to purchase that product via the Internet using a laptop or desktop, 50% of these executives have purchased IT products for business using their smartphone with 13% reporting making a purchase between $1,000 to $4,999 USD. (£600–2,999; €700–3,499).

Security concerns (45%) and having a website not mobile enabled (43%) were the most common reasons for this audience not to purchase a product via smartphone. Like mainstream consumers, senior executives want an omni-channel purchase environment to seamlessly move between devices to make IT purchases.

Mobile for Business

Tablet ownership has exploded among survey respondents rising from 20% in 2011 to 61% in 2014. In Latin America, 41% of respondents said their tablet had replaced their laptop computer with 59% reporting using their tablet device to purchase IT products for their business, the highest percentage of all regions surveyed. Software and computer accessories were the IT products most frequently purchased for business across all regions, reflecting significant opportunity for IT companies willing to invest in mobile commerce innovations such as shoppable video.

Millennials vs. Generation X

Nearly all respondents aged 18-34 owned a smartphone and 91% of 18-24 year olds and 85% of 25-34 year olds used social networking sites and apps on their smartphone. Only 38% of 18-24 year olds owned a tablet, however. Tablet ownership jumps to 55% among 25 to 34 year olds and 65% report using another device or screen, primarily television (83%) at the same time as their tablet.

To reach these audiences, tech marketers are now competing with mainstream brands on Facebook or trying to grab their audience’s attention during television programs. B2B brands investing in quality social content or video with high production values comparable to television are most likely to engage young influencers and stimulate social media shares.

Mobile Tech Lifestyle: Multitasking

The majority of Global Mobile Survey respondents are multitasking: 61% use another device at the same times as their tablet and 58% use another device at the same time as their smartphone. In both cases the majority of activity on these devices is unrelated.

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