Starfleet Media Completes Another Custom Research Project… But We Can’t Talk About It
Posted July 19th, 2017
Today we delivered a large PowerPoint deck to a major technology solution provider in the retail industry detailing everything they wanted to know about a certain topic based on exhaustive primary (including two different surveys involving over a thousand qualified respondents) and secondary research. Unfortunately, that’s all we can tell you. And that’s the downside of doing commissioned research of a confidential and proprietary nature. Hundreds of hours of work and nobody gets to see it, except, of course, the client. We sign NDAs, typically, and we’re sworn to secrecy. This must be what it feels like to work for the CIA or the FBI. We have completed almost a dozen commissioned research projects over the past year, for companies on both the solution provider and industry practitioner sides of the fence, from venture-backed startups to multi-billion dollar publicly traded corporations, in industries that include retail, hospitality (restaurants and hotels) and healthcare IT. Some of the deliverables have been used to make company acquisition decisions (as in the case of a restaurant solution), some of the deliverables have been used to guide product development roadmaps, customer targeting and marketing strategy, and brand repositioning.
Capturing Purchase Intention: The “If”s and “When”s of B2B Lead Gen
Posted June 23rd, 2017
The dictionary definition of intention is: “An act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.” In the context of B2B lead generation, we talk about intention in terms of whether – and when – a decision maker or influencer plans to purchase a specific type of technology solution. Granted, it’s hard to read people’s minds. The best we can do is ask them about their role and responsibility in the decision-making process and also their plans for making the decision as far as timeframe. In the next 6 months? In the next 6-12 months? We do this in the last field of the lead capture form they are required to complete in exchange for gaining access to the desired content asset — e.g., a Smart Decision Guide. Do people answer honestly? In our experience, the answer, in most cases, is a resounding “yes.”
Content Marketing Assets: Bits and Atoms
Posted May 20th, 2017
The Starfleet team is heads down developing new commissioned eBooks on a range of topics, from next-generation electronic health records to advanced retail management technologies. Many of these content assets will be used for distribution at upcoming industry conferences. Solution providers will ship hard copies for use as handouts at their exhibitor booths. One such conference is HITEC, the world’s largest hospitality technology event, which takes place next month in Toronto. While we won’t be physically attending this year, our market research will have a physical presence. That’s because seven of our clients, including some of the largest solution providers in the hotels and resorts technology space, have commissioned new content assets in support of their marketing and sales activities at the conference. In this age of digital content assets, web-based content distribution and online lead generation, printed materials displayed in racks or stacked on tables in vendor exhibition halls continue to play an important role in helping companies raise brand visibility, demonstrate thought leadership and generate qualified leads. Indeed, when it comes to B2B content marketing, print is still alive and well.
Content Marketing Tactics: Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery
Posted April 2nd, 2017
Sometimes, as they say, the pioneers are the ones with arrows in the back. Astute B2B marketers recognize that improving the outcomes of their content marketing campaigns means learning from others – preferably, from other companies operating in the same competitive arena. Marketers need to understand what works and what doesn’t in terms of tactics, tools, channels and content assets.
It only makes sense, therefore, to closely observe and emulate the practices of top-performing companies. In fact, according to preliminary research for The 2017 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation, which publishes next month, 72% of B2B content marketers indicate that they spend time benchmarking best practices in content marketing and lead generation. This helps them mitigate failure and replicate success stories in the context of their own content marketing activities.
Fewer Than One-Third of B2B Companies Use Social Data to Improve Content Marketing
Posted March 2nd, 2017
According to preliminary research findings for The 2017 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation, 0nly 30% of survey respondents report that their companies use social data (monitoring online conversation in social networks) to try to improve content marketing activities — e.g., by identifying more relevant topics and/or audiences. And only 24% say that their social listening efforts have been “somewhat successful” or “very successful.” More than half (56%) indicate that social data is not currently being used at their companies for content marketing purposes.
With New Benchmark Reports, Starfleet Media Broadens Its Scope
Posted February 15th, 2017
By consistently delivering high quality content and qualified leads through our Smart Decision Guide titles, Starfleet Media has earned a reputation as the leading provider of content marketing programs for leading solution providers in selected niche markets. These markets have been vertical in nature – namely, hospitality, retail and healthcare. But with the publication this month of The 2017 Benchmark Report on Application Performance Management, along with several other recent benchmark report titles, we’re continuing to expand our research coverage to include topics that are horizontal, or cross-industry. Without exception, these topics speak to emerging business trends and rapidly-evolving technology capabilities that are of paramount importance. Application Performance Management, which is pertinent to every application development and operations team as well as every database system administrator charged with maintaining the uptime of both internal and external IT systems in their organizations, regardless of industry, is a perfect example.
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.
Take the Survey and Learn How B2B Companies Have Evolved their Content Marketing Capabilities
Posted December 11th, 2016
We’re going all out for the next edition of our benchmark report on B2B content marketing and lead generation, expanding the scope of the survey questions and nearly doubling the sample size of the qualified participants. To liven things up, we’re also revamping the design and populating the pages with an animated cast of characters.
Set to publish in April, The 2017 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation will offer fresh insights into how B2B companies have evolved their content marketing and lead generation capabilities over the previous year. It will also uncover their plans for the future, including specific business outcomes they aim to achieve in terms of key performance metrics. Click here to take the survey that serves as the basis for the research.
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.
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.
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.
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.