Can You Prove and Quantify the Value of “Right Time” Marketing?

Bill Crowley

Executive Vice President, Data

right time marketingIf I said reaching IT buyers at the “Right Time” would increase your response rates by 5X, would you believe me? Me neither.

Reaching prospects at the “Right Time” is one of the most overused and least substantiated claims made by marketing service providers. When they hear “right time,” most tech marketers tune it out like most meaningless marketing phrases.

Because the principle of reaching buyers at the right time makes so much sense, the TechTarget data analytics team did some detailed analyses in its Activity Intelligence platform to quantify Right Time marketing benefits for B2B Tech. The answer is that Right Time beats “late” by a factor of 5X!

How we did it

  • We analyzed a group of TechTarget enterprise IT community members who were all actively doing research on highly specialized TechTarget sites like or We further categorized their activity at the sub-topic level (e.g. Data Center Physical Infrastructure > Power and Cooling or CRM>Call Center Software).
  • We sent relevant white papers addressing their particular sub-topic technology interest at different time frames after their initial activity. We also sent them content that was “kind of the same topic” (more on that result in another post).
  • We looked at the click-through-rates of these IT buyers to this emailed content at specific intervals after the activity: 1) 1-30 days, 2) 31-60 days, and 3) and 3-6 months.

Right time marketing chartHere’s the topline: When an on-topic piece of content is delivered within 0-30 days of a prospect’s relevant activity, it performs 5X better than one sent 3-6 months later after the initial activity.  It turns out, that when busy IT buyers are making the time to dive in deep on a complex tech topic, they want to consume all the content they possibly can at that moment. If your message is there, you can become part of their decision-making. If you’re not there at the Right Time, it is much, much harder to get any consideration.

Great results, but is there a catch?

TechTarget did line up several things to make these results possible. Those foundations are very important to making Right Time Marketing work:

Rigorous definition of a Right Time moment – We started with a high quality activity on a clear tech sub-topic. Simply put, the starting signal has to be strong enough that your effort is worth it and the topic must be clear enough that you can match follow-on content effectively. TechTarget engineers its site content to 1) be clearly associated to enterprise IT buying research, and 2) is identifiable and tagged down to the level of 3-4 sub-levels of specificity. Marketers need to put a high standard on these trigger signals because you are going to spend valuable time following up on these signals. For example:

  • TechTarget identifies this article on Spark Development as a clear signal of Enterprise Architects’ interest in this building block BI technology. We are then able to deliver targeted content on Spark to members reading this content with a high degree of confidence that the relevance will pay off.
  • Contrast this to broad-scale oriented or more automated method that just finds an article with the keyword of “business intelligence”, caring little for the specificity of the context (whether it was general business, consumer issues, politics or anything else). This would be a far weaker signal in terms of quality and specificity. Any follow up on this signal will be much less effective.

Matching content to the activity – Another foundation of this result is matching a content piece to the sub-topic of the original activity. It is a fairly obvious point that content on the topic of what you are looking for will do better. TechTarget has invested over 17 years in a content marketing system to automatically target content closely aligned to the trigger activity topic. The CTR of a white paper that is “kind of on the topic,” is considerably worse.

Supporting Right Time Marketing

These principles may seem to be executable only by a mature pipeline-marketing team.  But most marketers are closer to being able to focus like this than they may realize.  At TechTarget, we’ve built our practice to support enterprise tech marketers who want to reach the right buyers at the right time in two unique ways:

  • We provide the necessary activity intelligence: Our Priority Engine purchase intent insight platform, provides direct, access to intent-ranked accounts and the named individual prospects within them who are actively researching enterprise technology purchases in specific markets. Priority Engine provides a weekly accounts’ and contacts’ activities in your technology area down to a sub-topic level from that week. With this data marketing teams can tee up these prospects for highly effective advertising, outbound e-mail  or through telephone techniques depending on strategy and preference.
  • We enable you to act quickly: Our content marketing solutions tech companies’ white papers, catalog them by sub-topic and automatically promote them to the best matching prospects as they exhibit Right Time behaviors.

We’ll continue detailing results from our Activity Intelligence platform going forward.  In the meantime, if you want to dive deeper on this or related topics, please connect with me here.

b2b purchase intent insight, content marketing, real-time intelligence

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