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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.

Assessing the Primary Objectives for B2B Content Marketing

Posted September 3rd, 2015

According to our latest research findings, 89% of B2B companies invest in content marketing primarily to acquire new customers while only 34% do so primarily to retain existing customers. For 23% of companies, the objectives around acquisition and retention are perceived to be equally important when it comes to content marketing initiatives.

The fact that B2B companies are more than 2.5-times more likely to be focused on using content marketing for new customer acquisition than for customer retention purposes is telling, and it informs everything from content development to promotional tactics. Incidentally, this ratio has not changed significantly in the past year.

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Embracing the Scientific Method to Improve Content Marketing Campaign Results

Posted August 7th, 2015

Sir Francis Bacon, the Renaissance-era statesman and philosopher, described “the scientific method” as the development of a hypothesis, the design of experiments to test it, the analysis of the results and the subsequent rethinking of the original thesis.

He viewed it as “a light that would eventually disclose and bring into sight all that is most hidden and secret in the universe.”

Fast forward to W. Edwards Deming, a celebrated professor of statistics and an influential force in the rise of Japanese industry after World War II. He was among the first to apply the tenets of the “scientific method” in the context of business.

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More Companies are Spending More Money on Content Marketing

Posted July 17th, 2015

Perhaps no benchmark metrics are of greater interest to marketers than those related to budgeting and spending. Every marketer wants to know how much money other marketers, particularly those whose companies are comparable in terms of industry, category and size, are allocating to different marketing activities. This is certainly true when it comes to B2B content marketing and lead generation.

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Three Facts that B2B Content Marketers Should Keep in Mind

Posted June 10th, 2015

Fact #1: Most B2B companies are intent on using content marketing to fill their sales pipelines with not only more leads but also better-quality leads. In fact, 86% of marketers seeking to improve lead quantity are also seeking to improve lead quality.

Fact #2: Creating compelling content is hard. It’s no surprise, therefore, that almost three-quarters (73%) of companies “often” or “almost always” repurpose at least some portion of the content that was created for one asset (e.g., an eBook or white paper) into one or more other assets (e.g., a blog post, bylined article or infographic).

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For the Latest Insights on B2B Content Marketing…

Posted May 22nd, 2015

At long last, The 2015 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation is now available. While this latest research initiative covers a lot of the same ground as last year’s report, it also ventures into new areas of investigation, including the use of different tools — and even social data — to improve content marketing effectiveness.

The result is an even more comprehensive look – arguably, the most comprehensive and revealing one to be found anywhere – at how B2B companies are evolving their content marketing and lead generation capabilities to better achieve their business objectives.

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Listen and You Shall Create More Relevant Content

Posted April 17th, 2015

Most B2B companies have come to recognize the benefits of content marketing and have been stepping up their efforts around developing and promoting content assets, including whitepapers, eBooks, research reports, infographics, case studies and buyers’ guides (e.g., Smart Decision Guides).

In fact, according to preliminary research findings from the upcoming 2015 B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation Report, more than half (52%) of marketers allocated a greater portion of their budgets to content marketing over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. What’s more, more than one-quarter (26%) plan to more than double their spending on content marketing over the next 12 months.

To drive engagement, content and related landing pages need to be not only search-engine optimized, but also highly relevant and compelling based on the differing wants, needs and objectives of prospects and customers. Indeed, these wants, needs and objectives can vary dramatically. A content asset that resonates with one target segment may fail to engage a different target audience. Generic, one-size-fits-all content generally fails to move the needle on marketing ROI.

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Take the New B2B Content Marketing Survey and Win Big

Posted March 12th, 2015

You won’t win a new car or dream vacation if you take our survey for the The 2015 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation. You may, however, win one of the $100 Amazon gift certificates we’re giving away. More importantly, you will receive a PDF of the report when it publishes in a couple of months. And what could be better than gaining actionable insights for taking your content marketing and lead generation programs to the next level?

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Effective Content Marketing Means Fishing With the Right Bait

Posted February 27th, 2015

Marketers often espouse the need to fish where the fish are. The axiom is good and fine. When it comes to content marketing, however, it’s important to keep in mind that not only do marketers need to fish where the fish are; they also need to use the right kind of bait.

Allocating marketing resources and dollars toward channels and properties with a high concentration of target prospects is insufficient. B2B companies sometimes think that running a marketing campaign that directly targets the membership base of an industry trade association, for example, or a relevant LinkedIn Group is akin to shooting fish in a barrel. Of course, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

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