Tech Marketer Talks: Zak Garner, DWA Media

Sandra Nangeroni
Sandra Nangeroni

Senior Director, Marketing & Sales Enablement

Zak garner DWA MediaZak Garner is Director, New Media for DWA Media in San Francisco. We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Zak to get more insight on what to look for in a media partner and how technology marketers are engaging their core buyers through media. 

Can you tell us a little bit about your background and role at DWA?

At DWA, my primary role is to help build strategy for our clients’ different demand gen and advertising programs.  Then I work in tandem with our planning, media, analytics and search teams to execute, measure and optimize different client campaigns.

Tell us a little about DWA

DWA is a global communications planning agency entirely focused on the technology sector. We help big and small technology brands effectively reach different types of B2B and B2C audiences. We recognize that engaging technology buyers and influencers is multi-dimensional so we’re here to help clients develop the right communications approach that can connect advertising, lead gen, content, search, social, web, marketing automation and more.

Do you see a lot of differences or commonalities among your technology clients?

Our clients’ solution areas span the technology eco-system (Ex. cloud/SaaS, networking and security) and each one of them has its own spin on messaging and the way they approach target audiences from Executive IT to IT influencer teams to LOB. But from a marketing perspective, nearly all of them are trying to find ways to do three things:

  1. Become known as a strategic technology partner to the CIO
  2. Increase awareness with IT influencers
  3. Generate demand and funnel good leads and opportunities into marketing automation and CRM through content, e-mail and advertising

What do you look for in the planning process and what distinguishes the various media partners you are working with?

There are four things that come to mind in terms of what we’re looking for from each of our media partners:

  1. Do you operate like a partner?  We respect the fact that our partners might have relationships with our clients, but, at the same time, we want our media and ad tech partners to work with us to bring great ideas to the table together.
  2. Do you bring knowledge of the technology space and proactively educating our team? This is something that Tech Target has excelled at historically.  We want to make sure that our planning is based on the best possible understanding of what technology buyers want and need so we’re really looking for partners who know the audiences and can give specific recommendations and research that will help us accomplish our clients’ goals.
  3. Can you demonstrate relevant results from past programs? While we work with many types of technology clients, not all companies are Cisco, IBM or Intel, and often times, the innovative and successful cases don’t just come from big spending advertisers like these. We appreciate partners who can provide case studies and examples across market segments and company sizes that we can learn from and bring to our different clients.
  4. Are you committed to value and finding creative ways to offer value? That could mean negotiating rates and terms, coming up with exclusive opportunities or going beyond text links to offer clients true value add to their buy.

What’s the most valuable type of information that a media company can provide you with to help you do your job?

There are a few things that publishers could provide that would be valuable in helping assess how and what to buy from different media companies:

  •  Provide intelligence that shows the connection between your company’s database and the visitors to your web sites. How often are members of your database across different titles, company sizes and industries visiting your web sites? Am I reaching the right type of individuals with my display advertising or should I be focusing on email to the database?
  •  Provide information that shows the social value of your content. How and where is your content distributed beyond your sites? Who is sharing it? How is it bringing new visitors back to your sites to consume more content?
  •  Provide information that shows what IT buyers and influencers need and how their research process evolves in and out of tech publishers, social, peers, offline and more in order to access what is valuable to them. Then show how your media brands and content are relevant within this overall process.

How do you think technology marketing differs from marketing across other industries?

Technology as a whole might not vary that dramatically from other industries. The important thing is to consider that on the B2B side you’ve got a buying team with buying time frames that are often months long.  Publishers, ad tech companies, agencies and brands need to think about the overall plan and all the different pieces that might need to be involved in it to hit that whole buying team at wherever point they are at a given time. Marketers need to realize that the day their campaign starts isn’t the same day that a prospect’s technology need is identified so you should be mindful of avoiding dramatic ebbs and flows in campaign flighting that prevent you from staying in your buyers’ minds at different points in time. Also, for B2B marketers, there is a lot of opportunity to tap into some of the ways that consumer-facing companies attract their audiences through advertising and marketing – data-driven audience targeting, social media and retargeting for instance.  B2B companies should look at what is happening in the overall evolution of digital media and the ways that smart consumer companies are connecting to their audiences and think about how they apply some of these different techniques in their own initiatives.

And so how do you interact with client stakeholders to demonstrate program impact and success?

One way we are doing this by being more connected to their marketing automation and CRM. We want to make sure that we can grease the wheels toward sales opportunities through nurturing and content recommendations that help qualify leads beyond where they were purchased in a CPL campaign. We also connect our lead scrubbing and management tools directly into client systems so we can deliver leads with more speed and data accuracy – and then receive ongoing feedback through these same systems on lead quality and conversion rates that help us optimize client campaigns around performance. Another way we interact with clients to demonstrate program impact is by performing more cookie-level analysis across the different exposures and interactions between our clients’ campaigns and their audiences.  When we can look at how often, and in what cadence, the audience is exposed to, and interacts with, display, search, social and/or content, then we can provide more holistic reporting on how these channels intersect to drive leads and conversions and optimize accordingly.

From your perspective what differentiates TechTarget from other technology media companies?

I definitely see TechTarget as a company who is as knowledgeable as any about our clients’ technology categories and who is equipped with resources and programs to solve many tech-marketing challenges. You have a buttoned up, very driven sales team and you guys have been pretty creative in the last couple of years in bringing different types of brand, demand gen and sales enablement programs to marketers. TechTarget’s been smart about how it leverages its Activity Intelligenceâ„¢ to educate marketing and sales teams and introduce new ways for them to effectively capitalize on sales opportunities and target named accounts.

In your opinion, what are the attributes that define an intelligence driven marketer?

An intelligence-driven marketer is someone who takes the time to think about the core goals of their campaigns and how to set up the most practical performance indicators to measure against those goals and benchmarks. An intelligence-driven marketer is someone who is mindful to collect and integrate the data that is created across all of their digital touch points like ad campaigns, email and web sites. This then enables them to precisely target audiences and personalize messages to create the best experience for prospects that inspires them to interact further with the brand. An intelligence-driven marketer is test-oriented and willing to learn the best messages or combination of ad and content touches that produce qualified traffic and leads. And they are committed to ongoing analytics assessments and rigorous questioning to ensure their campaigns are moving in the right direction and their investments are ROI positive.

Tech Marketer Talks is an ongoing feature on Mktr2Mktr where we sit down with technology marketers and industry experts to explore their initiatives, outlook, and approach to marketing.

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