Blog

New Smart Decision Guide Added to 2017 Hospitality Sector Lineup

Posted January 6th, 2017

Starfleet Research, our IT market research arm, has announced the expansion of its series of Smart Decision Guides for decision makers in the hospitality sector with the upcoming release of a new title, on best practices in hotel guest experience management. The existing library of Smart Decision Guides for the hospitality sector focuses on such topics as hotel property management systems, hospitality revenue management and restaurant management and POS systems. These popular titles are revised and updated on an annual basis. The 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Guest Experience Management will publish next month, with underwriting support from the following industry leaders: Agilysys, ALICE, Amadeus, Infor and Sabre Hospitality.

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Gated Content: A Stern Warning from a Medieval Guard

Posted September 17th, 2016

At Starfleet Media, we’re generally in the business of licensing high-value content assets, including Smart Decision Guides, co-branded eBooks and Benchmark Reports from Starfleet Research (our IT market research arm), to other B2B companies, and not the other way around. But when we came across a recent post from Tom Fishburne, a “career marketer and cartoonist,” that highlighted some of our market research on content marketing and lead generation along with his cartoon depicting an encounter between a modern-day decision maker and a medieval guard, we decided that it was our turn to acquire licensing rights to a content asset.

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World-Renowned Authority on Healthcare IT to Lead the Charge on New Smart Decision Guides

Posted August 8th, 2016

Starfleet Media is pleased to announce that Ronald Sterling, a world-renowned authority on next-generation healthcare IT, has agreed to serve as subject matter expert in our growing healthcare IT best practices market research practice. He will lead content development activities on upcoming Smart Decision Guides that include The 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Revenue Cycle Management and The 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Electronic Health Records. These titles are scheduled to publish in Q4, with distribution support from leading healthcare IT media partners, including UBM Medica, and underwriting support from some of the world’s largest and most preeminent healthcare IT solution providers.

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Seven Tactics for Leveraging the Licensed Version of a Smart Decision Guide

Posted June 23rd, 2016

A large part of the value of the Smart Decision Guide program is the guaranteed-number-of-qualified-leads component. Because the leads are typically generated through inbound marketing tactics and carefully scrubbed (based on buying intention info and other target prospect criteria), they tend to have much higher-than-average conversion rates. Another large part of the value of the program is the licensed version of the Smart Decision Guide, with the underwriter’s logo only on the cover and company profile page only in the appendix. The benefits of this valuable content asset can’t be overstated. Yet not all participating solution providers take full advantage of it.

Some solution providers showcase their licensed version on their homepages and in their blogs and resource libraries. They distribute copies at industry trade shows. They email it as an attachment to prospects. And they use it as the basis for any number of other content marketing activities, including email blasts and third-party syndication, resulting in dozens or hundreds of additional leads for their sales pipeline. We are always pleased to see solution providers maximizing their investments in the Smart Decision Guide program by putting their licensed versions of the content asset to good use.

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More Solution Providers Are Licensing Benchmark Reports (Including Ones from Starfleet Research)

Posted May 26th, 2016

It’s no secret that benchmark reports published by leading IT market research firms like Starfleet Research may be the most effective type of content asset a technology solution provider can put to work in their incessant quest to demonstrate thought leadership, raise brand visibility and generate qualified leads. According to preliminary research findings captured for The 2016 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation, benchmark report content licensing for lead generation purposes increased by 15 percent over the past 12 months.

Fact-based reports from research firms that are experts in their fields can provide a “cloak of credibility” that cannot be obtained from vendor-produced and -branded content assets, which prospects often perceive as little more than marketing collateral masquerading as thought leadership. For many solution providers, the decision of whether or not to license a report may depend on: 1.) whether the report profiles their company and solution in a favorable light; and/or 2.) whether the report aligns sufficiently well with their key go-to-market messages, platform capabilities and how they wish to educate the marketplace.

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LinkedIn Highlights Research from Starfleet Media in eBook on Content Marketing

Posted April 18th, 2016

A new eBook, produced and distributed by LinkedIn, offers perspectives and insights from a variety of recognized sources on the art and science of content marketing. We’re pleased that this ambitious, 108-page endeavor, called The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing, includes some of Starfleet Media’s own benchmark research findings to help further educate “sophisticated marketers.” The eBook is recommended reading for any content marketing professional, whether they are just starting down the path or already a seasoned expert, and a nice complement to The 2016 Benchmark Report on  B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation, which publishes later this quarter.

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The Role of Synergy in Content Marketing Success

Posted March 30th, 2016

Harnessing the power of synergy to drive marketing success is hardly a new concept. In fact, the concept goes back many decades. The Walt Disney Company, in particular, is often cited as a pioneer in creating a synergy-driven marketing advantage, licensing and cross-promoting properties across its vast network of movies, TV shows, toys, video games, books, clothing, soundtracks, and theme park rides. Importantly, this notion of a synergy-driven marketing advantage is applicable in the context of B2B content marketing and lead generation and for the purpose of raising overall brand visibility.

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The Advantages of Co-branded eBooks (in Any Language)

Posted February 15th, 2016

Today, 90% of B2B marketers “agree” or “strongly agree” that unbiased third-party content assets are generally perceived to be more credible than company-branded content assets, which decision makers often view as little more than thinly-veiled marketing collateral. Moreover, 83% of marketers “agree” or “strongly agree” that unbiased third-party content assets generally produce higher-quality leads than company-branded content assets.

These research findings help explain the popularity of custom eBooks and research reports co-branded with industry-respected IT market research firms like Starfleet Research. The content assets tend to perform exceptionally well in lead generation campaigns, which further explains why there seems to be so much demand for them (some of our clients commissioned more than a half dozen new eBook titles in the past year). Producing high-quality content — content that can be repurposed into blog posts and leveraged in multiple other ways — is important. So, too, is doing the homework that is necessary to ensure that the content focus of each eBook will resonate with the target audience. Also important, as already suggested, is steeping the content in fact-based research, not only for added credibility but also to incorporate more actionable insights for the benefit of readers.

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Outbound Marketing Versus Inbound Marketing: It’s Not an Either/Or Proposition

Posted January 23rd, 2016

A snobby bunch of marketing services firms (including ours) have made it a habit to admonish marketers that rely on outbound marketing tactics like email blasts. Even worse than email blasts, they (we) say, are marketers that hire telemarketers to cold call prospects, based on their titles, industries or other firmographic data. These callers cajole people into agreeing to receive an email with whatever whitepaper they’re hawking included as an attachment so as to be able to then count them as a lead to pass onto the client. No doubt, some percentage say “yes” just to get the caller off the phone.

At the same time, this snobby bunch of marketing services firms sing high praises of marketers that rely solely on content marketing fueled by inbound marketing tactics. These marketers blog and post and create micro-websites and landing pages designed to attract target prospects. They invest heavily in SEO and SEM. And they place their bets on the expectation that decision makers who are conducting related research and are currently in the market to make a purchase decision will find their content assets through relevant keyword searches.

In reality, outbound marketing tactics and inbound marketing tactics are two sides of the same coin. They should not be treated as an either/or proposition. There are, in fact, merits to both approaches. So, just maybe, we snobby bunch of marketing services firms should get off our high horse.

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A Look Ahead — and an Invitation to Participate in the 2016 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing

Posted December 23rd, 2015

It’s been a busy year of helping dozens of leading B2B solution providers meet their content marketing and lead generation goals and successfully grow their client rosters — in some cases, by orders of magnitude. As 2015 draws to a close, we’re gearing up for a new year in which we will broaden the scope of our research practice areas to include several new industry verticals, including financial services, construction and healthcare (starting with The 2016 Smart Decision Guide to Medical Practice Management Solutions). Also, with the launch of Starfleet Research, our IT market research arm, we will begin publishing additional types of content assets to help educate the marketplace and enable decision makers to make smarter decisions.

We’re also looking forward to the release, in June, of The 2016 Benchmark Report on B2B content Marketing and Lead Generation. The annual report has emerged as a definitive resource for B2B marketers. For us, it’s always a thrill to have a front-row seat to the innovation that is taking place in the world of B2B content marketing and our fingers on the pulse of how marketers are allocating their marketing spend and achieving success. To participate in the survey that serves as the basis for the research, please click here.

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Starfleet Research Prepares for Liftoff

Posted November 27th, 2015

We’re delighted to announce the soft launch of Starfleet Research, the IT market research arm for Starfleet Media. Going forward, most of our research-based reports and other content assets, including our popular Smart Decision Guides, will publish under the Starfleet Research moniker. Meanwhile, Starfleet Media will remain focused on delivering the next-generation lead generation services that dozens of leading B2B companies, including some of the world’s largest technology solution providers, have come to rely upon. Starfleet Media will also continue to publish the annual benchmark report on content marketing and lead generation.

Starfleet Research will lift off in early 2016. We have teamed with B2B content distribution partners like Madison Logic to help drive its success. The new website, which is still in development (and officially launches in January), will showcase the latest Smart Decision Guides and co-branded eBooks along with content assets in two new categories: Benchmark Reports (best practices market research, to help decision makers understand how top-performing companies are achieving their desired business objectives with specific technology-enabled business initiatives) and Actionable Insights Reports (which bring together the best in third-party thought leadership, to further educate the marketplace). Continue reading

Webinar Series: Hospitality Technologies

Posted October 15th, 2015

This month, Starfleet Media kicks off its webinar series on best practices in implementing new hospitality technologies. The first webinar, sponsored by Agilysys, is entitled “How Hotels, Resorts and Casinos are Winning with Next-Generation Hospitality Technology.” This groundbreaking session, which will take place October 20, will address how hotels, resorts and casinos can boost efficiency, enhance service and create loyalty with  next-generation hospitality technologies. Attendees can register (or watch the replay) here. The second webinar, sponsored by Duetto, will focus on technology innovation in hospitality revenue management. The third webinar, also sponsored by Agilysys, will explore ways to enhance the hotel guest experience with next-generation technologies and capabilities. Registration details and other information for these upcoming webinars will be posted next month. Additional webinars in this series, on topics that include business intelligence for hotels, resorts and casinos, will be announced soon.