Welcome to my blog series, "Behind the Marketing," which is inspired by the classic VH1 series, "Behind the Music," but with a B2B marketing twist. Each month, I spotlight a cool, eye-catching and thought-provoking campaign or project — and the marketers behind them.
This week, I had the chance to speak with John Steinert, CMO at TechTarget, to learn more about the company’s “Activity Matters” campaign, a long-term campaign designed to educate buyers through editorial content and web experiences delivered via a multichannel approach (think social media, email, display ads and video). But then, the pandemic hit, so things got even more interesting. Read on to get the scoop!
Sal LoSauro: What was the inspiration behind the campaign?
John Steinert: We needed to better educate the market on how and why behavioral data is so special —why prospect activity really matters for better revenue performance in Marketing, ABM and Sales.
TechTarget has long been a leading global internet publisher recognized for its laser focus on editorial that supports buying decisions in the enterprise technology category. But when we launched our intent data platform Priority Engine in 2015, on the business side, we needed to accomplish two new things at once:
- We needed to help educate the market specifically on what this behavioral data set is all about;
- We needed to clearly differentiate how what we offer delivers value to tech vendor marketing and sales practitioners; and
- We needed to bring real purchase intent to life for marketing and sales teams.
The challenge was that this certainly wasn’t an established market. And while our platform could be viewed simply as a new extension of existing data-driven marketing, in key respects, it represents an entirely new conception of how powerful data can be for B2B go-to-markets. It’s that last part that makes everything harder.
The inspiration for many of the elements of the campaign, and especially for our new web experience, comes from two directions. One is the exciting use of data visualizations we’re seeing today in everything from TED Talks to The New York Times. The other is what’s actually in the data itself — the clarity, precision and directly actionable usefulness.
In extremely visual and dynamic ways, we’re now able to show buyer activity at the opt-in prospect level as it changes. We can show the structure of the buying team and how its members flow in and out of engagement. We can show sellers exactly what buyers are reading, where that locates them in their buyer’s journey and much, much more.
SL: How long did it take to kick off from start to finish?
JS: It’s been more than nine months of continuous development and implementation so far. In January of this year, we launched the initial phases, including a wide variety of assets across both physical and digital channels. In August, we rolled out the full digital experience in the U.S. The campaign is built to run and evolve for many months because it provides a terrific foundation for visually illustrating very specific use cases.
SL: Did you use multiple assets to support the theme? Which ones were the most successful?
JS: We wanted to create a multichannel approach that would help customers really experience why and how “Activity Matters” to the performance of their revenue engines. We opened with display advertising, social media, email, video, blogs, third-party placements, a variety of event materials and substantial sales enablement.
Across the ensuing nine months, we planned a drumbeat to crescendo with the next big update of our Priority Engine platform. But during that time, the pandemic arrived and we all quickly found ourselves in a new reality requiring acceleration towards extreme digital centricity. That’s a key reason we’ve now built a centerpiece element into the campaign we call our Activity Matters web experience. This piece alone required us to evolve both the storytelling and the analytics skills within our creative team.
SL: What came out of the campaign? (ROI, pipeline, conversions, etc.)
JS: All in all, this integrated campaign delivers hundreds of engagements every month with prospects and customers alike. It delivers dozens of net-new opportunities and is extremely popular with our sales teams who use it both to open doors with accounts who are just learning about intent data and to spread the word within our customers’ organizations about intent data’s many use cases.
SL: How did you get involved in marketing?
JS: I got my start as a marketer writing copy at an agency for biotech and high-tech accounts. Eventually I worked my way up to run both tech account, digital production and agency operations. Then I moved to SAP on the client side as Global V.P. of Demand Generation. I’ve been focused exclusively on enterprise tech ever since.
SL: Favorite band you’d love to see a “Behind The Music” special about?
JS: If I were to have a chance to go “Behind The Music,” as of recently, it wouldn’t be the music anymore. I’d really like to go behind the scenes to learn how Beyoncé’s latest videos were made. The art direction and videography are incredible.
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