The Number One Mistake Marketers Will Make in 2015

Ben Bradley
Ben Bradley

Director of Strategic Accounts - Client Consulting

Marketing mistake - LinkedInHave you seen the feature on LinkedIn lately that suggests you “re-connect” with people?

Lately it’s been telling me to “re-connect” with my boss. For me, this painted a clear picture of a common trap that marketers often fall into:

It’s easy to think that if an activity didn’t happen on our site, or in our direct view, it didn’t happen at all.

Sure, I have to give it to LinkedIn, I have never messaged my boss via their platform. BUT I do email my boss every day, I call her at least once a week, and we stay connected regularly. The need to “re-connect” simply isn’t there, because we connect all the time.

This problem can be translated to the B2B technology marketing world easily. All too often, technology marketers see activity on our platforms (via inbound or outbound tactics) and assume that is the user’s total universe of activity on this pain point or topic.

The truth is that you (ANY BRAND) are just a small part of the research cycle. IT buyers are consuming a TON of content as they navigate through the buy cycle. It’s proven that they going to engage editorial (publisher produced), 3rd party content (analyst produced), other competing vendors’ content, their peers, etc. as they navigate the buy cycle/research process.

Supporting research 

As found in the TechTarget 2015 Media consumption study:

  • When researching for an IT project, 74% of buyers spend the majority of the time comparing specific technology solutions and vendors
  • Almost 50% of IT buyers researching large IT purchases needed 8+ content pieces to make an informed decision and purchase.

The IT buying team’s job is to research the best solution and vendor options – this inherently means a considerable amount of time will be spent looking at 3rd party, un-biased content, and also looking at competing vendors solution areas.

The reality

Marketing mistake - activity breakdownWhen we looked at over 4,000 confirmed IT Buying projects and their content consumption journeys we saw:

  • 70% of their content consumption journey was with Editorial content (TipsnewseGuideseZines, etc.) on the TechTarget network
  • Only 30% of their content consumption journey was with Vendor content on the TechTarget network
    • That 30% is then split between multiple vendors as they work on a short-list

The takeaway

Don’t make this marketing mistake. Don’t, like LinkedIn, assume that your direct line of sight is the only activity a prospect has during their research.

Just because you don’t see an activity, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. For example, a prospect might not engage with the Magic Quadrant you have posted on your site, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t already download it from another vendor or off a publishers site.

It’s up to us as marketers to identify trusted partners that can help us fill in account level journeys based on their 1st party data. The more complete a journey we can visualize the better we can enable our automation efforts and thus our sales teams. Doing this gives us the ability to expand our vision outside our small box and think holistically about our buyer’s journey.

Interested in learning more? Please feel free to leave a comment or connect with me on TwitterLinkedIn, or Google+.

data intelligence, global technology marketing, marketing mistake

2 Responses to “The Number One Mistake Marketers Will Make in 2015”

  1. Avatar

    The point may be valid, but the bias isn’t nearly as strong as your article or research would suggest because you are falling prey to the exact same trap you are warning marketers of: only looking at your own 1st party data.

    Your research doesn’t consider all of the content consumed on marketer’s own sites. You also have applied a different lens to marketer content (it tends to be heavy content within TechTarget, hiding behind a form) to editorial content, where you include news, tips, etc. This is content many marketers are able to publish and distribute broadly on their site.

  2. Ben Bradley

    Hi Eric,
    First off, thanks for reading my post and thanks for taking the time to comment!

    I think we both agree about the main point here, which is people are spending more time researching without you, than they do with you. (“you” being any single vendor on a short list)

    For this exercise I had access to our data, but I was able to segment across a few areas:
    Un-gated content, gated content, vendor sponsored/owned content.

    I was able to see some compelling user journeys, but yes my view is inherently limited. Unfortunately no one yet has access to 100% of a buyer journey. That said, being a trusted 3rd party for IT Buyers we have access some very deep journeys with unique views compared to what IT vendors see. I see much of the user’s journey outside of the vendor site specific engagements.

    The secondary point I was illustrating here, is that regardless of your direct line of site, as a marketer you should work to source any relevant additional information that is available. Gaining a deeper understanding of the other vendors they are viewing content from, the pain points, the buying team size, and other such data can give actionable insights as it relates to engagement outside of your immediate view.

    Thanks again for reading and the comment!

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