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IT advertiser boosts in-house webinar efforts

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When IT security company CoreTrace introduced its Bouncer flagship product, it didn't have a database of names. “[We] cast a wide net to see who would hop in,” said JT Keating, VP-marketing at the nearly 2-year-old company. CoreTrace worked with such technology media companies as Ziff Davis and TechTarget, sending out sponsored e-mails athat offered access to webinars and white papers. As a result, its database grew from zero in Q1 to about 20,000 addresses at the end of last year.

While this was a wonderful start, CoreTrace wanted to handle more of its marketing in-house, and reduce its cost-per-lead, Keating said. So it started marketing its webinars using a Salesforce.com application.

Almost immediately, the marketing team realized something was wrong.

“Whenever we did [our own e-mail marketing and webinars], the results didn't even come close to what we were getting [with the campaigns involving media companies], where we were averaging 200 to 250 quality leads per webinar,” Keating said. “When we did it ourselves using our own database and Salesforce.com's BlastWizard for AppExchange, the highest number of leads we got was 15.”

Needing a way to nurture its new, sizable database while achieving the strong lead performance it had enjoyed in the past, CoreTrace in March turned to marketing service provider Eloqua and its SmartStart package.

SmartStart provides templates that can be used and reused without the help of an internal graphics artist. One of the first webinars CoreTrace produced using SmartStart attracted about 200 attendees. And because the webinar was created in-house using On24 technology, it saved about the company $15,000.

“It costs us between zero and $3,000,” said Annie Jacobs, CoreTrace's marketing program manager. “The more options we use, the closer we come to the $3,000. If we had gone to [Ziff Davis], we would have been hard-pressed to spend less than $15,000.”

Eloqua also provided CoreTrace with more visibility into its database via its Prospect Profiler CRM sales intelligence tool, which works in conjunction with CoreTrace's Salesforce.com CRM implementation.

“Eloqua is a closed loop,” said Jacobs. “We can send e-mails. We can track when they come to the site, if they download something, what Web pages they read, what white papers they read.” Just as important, he said, people in the sales and marketing departments can click on a lead and see how much time in the last month a prospect has spent with e-mails, and which assets they have seen. “We can see what people are interested in, what they do when they come to our site, how much time they spend on the site,” Jacobs said.

Keating said list scoring has also helped CoreTrace segment its campaigns, creating messages tailored to individual prospects. “Has someone downloaded an asset before? Well, then they might be interested in a related asset,” he said. “Plus, it's really helped us figure out which markets to play in.”

Jacobs said she spends about “nine hours a day” using Eloqua. Even so, the technology has helped save marketing and sales a “massive amount of time,” she said.

Most important, CoreTrace produced more leads in the third quarter than it did in the first and second quarters combined, Keating said, adding, “The ROI based on cost savings and lead generation is very strong.”

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