Anne Holland

Three Unexpected Lessons on IT Marketing

August 5th, 2004

Last week I interviewed Jay Habegger, CEO Bitpipe, in a teleseminar they were doing for their clients. Jay actually used to be a CIO himself, so he had some great insights from the “other side of the fence” for marketers trying to impress CIOs…

Lesson 1. Trial demos convert best – but don’t offer them a lot

Jay says the data showing that trial demos are by far the most effective offer for leads that will convert well is extremely deceptive. The problem is, only prospects who are already educated about, and half-way sold on, your product will bite at the offer.

Which means you’re ignoring everyone else you need to get in your lead pipeline. So, only offer demos to the proven-hottest-leads, and use info offers (white papers, webinars, etc) for your broader outreach campaigns, including search.

Lesson 2. Offer a Word doc to help prospects prove ROI

Crazy to say, but in this day of cool ROI calculator tools etc, the one thing most IT pros really need to pitch your service of product to their boss is … a word doc.

Jay says glossy brochures and snazzy PDFs won’t do it. IT pros know if they show up with your prettied-up sales materials in their presentation, they’ll be laughed out of the room. (Actually he said something even harsher.)

Nobody trusts vendor materials. They do trust a memo written by their own in-house team. If you hand over a Word doc (or even an Excel file) that their team can use to cut and paste ROI info into their own presentation, you’ll have greater success.

Lesson 3. Consider paying for editorial

Jay noted that when he sees most b-to-b marketer’s budgets, everything is divvied up by “delivery mechanism” — ie. the marketing campaigns you’ll run to alert prospects to your lovely white paper, webinar, newsletter, tech specs, etc.

But, what’s going to influence the prospect is the quality of that content. So if you budget 100% of your funds to run ads to promote a paper, and then the paper is tossed together in-house as almost an afterthought, that doesn’t make sense.

As one of the judges for the annual White Paper Awards, Jay’s seen more papers than probably anyone else. And he says many are awful. I can say the same thing about many b-to-b marketer’s email newsletters myself. So, when you start budget season this fall, consider putting a slice of your budget toward writers, researchers, proofers, etc. Where to find them? Often trade magazine editors and trade association researchers moonlight for folks in the industry.

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