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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Make It Your New Year’s Resolution to End Cold Calling

Posted January 6th, 2015

It’s unfortunate that in this modern age of content marketing and inbound marketing tactics many B2B companies continue to rely on cold calls – often pestering people who have never expressed any desire to hear from their companies (or their competitors, for that matter) – to try to make their sales numbers.

A lead is commonly defined as a prospect who has been shown to have the interest, authority and budget to purchase a particular type of product or service. Although the names on B2B contact lists culled from third-party data sources are commonly referred to as leads, the reality of the situation is that these people may have never demonstrated any interest whatsoever in the product or service at hand.

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