As PR professionals we often get asked to advise our clients on their broader marketing activities. So it’s important that as well as having a deep understanding of PR, we also have a firm grasp of developments across the whole marketing spectrum – from advertising to lead generation and social media. After all, PR doesn’t operate in a vacuum.
TechTarget’s annual Online ROI Summit held in London this week therefore provided an excellent opportunity to learn more about how this leading publishing house supports the marketing campaigns of IT organisations, as well as the chance to network with marketing managers from across the B2B technology sector.
One of the highlights of the day was a presentation by Computer Weekly’s editor-in-chief Bryan Glick on this year’s IT priorities in the UK. Bryan shared TechTarget’s research on IT spending, which revealed that overall budgets will remain flat this year, but key areas of growth would be consumerisation, mobile and cloud computing.
Speaking the language of business, not technology
Following his presentation, Bryan was joined by Gideon Kay, CIO of LGC and Michael Bischoff, IS Director at Betfair, for a panel discussion on how their organisations consume media and what they look for from IT vendors in terms of marketing collateral.
Both Gideon and Michael agreed that if you are marketing to CIOs, then the language used needs to be that of business rather than technology. They also agreed CIOs are constantly try to bridge the chasm between the IT department and the rest of the business and that any materials vendors can provide to help them in achieving this will be well received. Other key points included:
- Video is preferred over static text
- It’s important to market to all members of the IT organisation, not just the CIO, especially when dealing with larger organisations
- Suppliers need to be clearer on their USPs
- Relevancy and context in marketing materials cannot be overestimated
- Real case examples are extremely valuable in the decision-making process
- Information needs to be less complex
Importance of the Web and social media
One of the highlights of the afternoon sessions was the presentation by Jeff Ramminger, SVP of Products at TechTarget, who provided his top tips on social media for B2B marketers.
Here at Aspectus PR, we’ve been telling clients for some time that social media needs to play a key part in their PR and marketing campaigns, so it was great to have this message reinforced, with TechTarget’s research emphasising the importance of social media in purchasing decisions. Half of those surveyed said they planned to spend more time in social forums and be responsive to appropriate vendor solicitation. Another significant finding was that many CIOs are left disappointed by IT vendor websites because they can’t find the information they need.
Certainly, it continues to surprise us how little importance some companies place on the content of their websites – especially given TechTarget’s finding that IT buyers are increasingly using web research in place of print and face-to-face events when conducting supplier and marketplace evaluations. It’s no good investing in slick PR and marketing materials and driving traffic to your website through social media campaigns if purchasers are left underwhelmed by your website content!
Indeed, one of the key themes of the day was that of integration. With marketing budgets being squeezed, measuring success and engagement with your target audience and demonstrating the value of marketing activity to senior management is more critical than ever before. Integration across all elements of the marketing mix presents an excellent opportunity to streamline costs and maximise value from any marketing investment.
As noted earlier, PR doesn’t operate in a vacuum, so we are always looking to find more innovative ways to support our B2B clients across all elements of their marketing mix.