Why I’m Staying the Course on our Digital Advertising Program
We’re now at almost a month of really being into this thing, so I’m focused intently on 2nd Qtr. forecast and re-assessing the annual plan at the same time. In parallel the marketing team is busy pivoting from in-person events to what we can do differently for our clients on both the live interactive front and in on-demand formats. Based on what I’m seeing right now, we will certainly be making some adjustments to our mix, but one of the things I’m going to hold the line on is our advertising spend – and maybe up the percentage. Here’s my thinking on this:
We’re in a crowded, noisy market
I’ve been in enterprise tech since just after college. In more than 3 decades doing this, despite a few major dips, I can’t think of any other industry that’s been as resilient and relentlessly fascinating. That’s especially true in our own Martech/Salestech space – it’s been innovation on steroids for a bunch of years now. The only downside is that innovation and growth make it especially hard to stand out. If we don’t market effectively, we run the risk of getting drowned out by waves of competitors flush from their latest funding round. If we were to hang back for a quarter or two here or there, there’s at least 50 other companies that will try to eat our lunch. And if we miss the chance to pitch that business, we’re out of luck for a year at least – maybe for as long as the buying team remains in place!
Conditions like these are why I need to defend my ground just to keep pace. Furthermore, I need to try to capitalize on all the growth opportunities in the market. And the ultimate goal has to be to grow our share of the market as a whole. That’s not going to happen if we’re not in the consideration set more of the time. Since consideration begins by creating and maintaining awareness, I’ve got to stick with my advertising plan.
We have a disruptive story to tell
I joined TechTarget right when we started accelerating with purchase intent data. It’s kind of hard to believe that just 4 years ago, Intent was new in B2B. In 2016, while we were well known for 17 years of leadership in building tech audiences, our prospects didn’t understand the Intent topic – many of our customers didn’t know us for our data. And while I’ve spent the last 4 years helping everyone understand why Intent at the opt-in contact level matters so much, the job is nowhere near complete. Despite our terrific growth, there are literally thousands more companies who could benefit from our offerings – they just don’t yet realize it. Our products are super disruptive – they make revenue teams much more effective both tactic-by-tactic and at global scale. For clients, our Priority Engine platform is like having a fish finder for your target account list. Yet even with this secret weapon product set, my team has to work to spread the word. Advertising gives me efficient audience reach unmatched by other channels.
We need to invest smarter
We’ve been a profitable public company for a long time. That’s a tribute to great employees, great management and great clients. It means that we’ll be here able to serve our constituencies throughout the current difficulties. What it doesn’t mean – and this is tough as a CMO – is that we can spend lavishly. We have to focus on delivering maximum business value to our clients so that they will keep spending with us. After products, our biggest investments are around Customer Success. Therefore, with respect to marketing, it’s safe to say that others will outspend us on flashy, expensive actions. But we will keep making progress by working smarter. That’s why a significant part of our strategy plays out in our ABM advertising program. We make sure to avoid wasted impressions in places where our messages won’t be relevant. We’re focused intently on messaging that speaks to specific subsegments of our TAM. We’re reinforcing our sales coverage where opportunities are in play. And every day we’re working hard on testing to learn what’s going to move the needle next.
How this might apply to you
Here’s the bottom line: It’s really noisy out there right now for everybody. That said, you can be sure that the smartest marketers are still going to find ways to break through. Underneath all the fog and chatter in the air, I’m depending on the right data to know exactly who will be staying the course on the projects relevant to us. I’m working in lock step with my sales colleagues to better find and serve the companies that need us. That’s all part of what advertising helps me with. We’d be happy to share more of the details on pinpoint intent-powered advertising with you. As always you can contact us through techtarget.com.