Why Going Dark in Technology Marketing is Never in Fashion
In a past life, I worked in ad sales for a fashion magazine in New York City. With 12 issues, we sold all year round – however the spike that was seen every year in September was huge. September was the end all be all month where a client would need to be in-market or risk losing mindshare to competitors. The September issue was the beginning of a new season of style and fashion. Designers and retailers used September to debut new collections, readers anticipated its arrival on their doorstep and the issue itself is always the biggest one of the year. September is the start of the fashion selling season, with the change in weather bringing back to school, luxurious fashion week and the start of the ever important Q4 holiday push. If you were a fashion retailer, this is the one month you could not afford to miss. Other months? Maybe.
IT business is never seasonal – Projects are happening all year round that you cannot afford to miss out on
My colleague Garrett Mann wrote about why your marketing shouldn’t take a summer vacation, but the truth of the matter is, your marketing should never take a vacation in this industry. In IT, a large number of projects are starting every month at companies around the globe and research is happening all year round. We don’t have a September issue, there isn’t a month when vendors need to be in market or they risk it all.
I’d love to tell you that I am a world renowned expert on this subject, but the truth of the matter is, all you have to do is look at the data.
Data never lies
Looking at TechTarget’s IT Deal Alert Qualified Sales Opportunities for full year 2014, where we qualify projects based on activity on our network, we see incredible consistency with very little variation in the uncovering of projects month to month. Even in the so-called “down” months of summer and the holidays:
Furthermore, when we look at lead generation campaigns, we see a 30% churn rate month over month, meaning new leads are coming in each month to begin their research. So if you are influencing buyers with your content in March, there is a new group coming in to research in April and in May.
Always On Strategy, Always en vogue
As a result of this, the best strategy to ensure influence over a project is an Always On Strategy. Being always on ensures you’re live for the entirety of a customers buy cycle, so you need to be always on not just for net-new projects, but for projects you influenced in the beginning of the buy cycle. And you don’t want to miss out on the crucial late stages when vendor short lists are being made.
Don’t let your competitors influence projects your brand should be impacting
I often hear clients say “We have budget for Q2, but will most likely be dark in Q3.” This statement always make me cringe because going dark for a quarter really just means we are going to let our competitors influence projects for a little while and we aren’t going to do anything.
Taking those annual marketing dollars and budgeting them across the year will allow you to stay in the game, and allow your brand to impact the decisions being made all year round. We don’t have seasonality here, this isn’t fashion, this is IT and people are buying all year round. You need to be always on and always in front of buyers if you don’t want to miss out on those opportunities.
If you are interested in continuing this conversation, please feel free to leave a comment or connect with me on LinkedIn.
September Issue image source: SMU
Confirmed project data source: TechTarget