ITM: Whatâ€™s your marketing priority this year? How does this relate to last year?
Brown: My role within the organization is focused on marketing campaigns and programsâ€”more on the outbound side of marketing. Our focus this year has been to extend our message to different audiences by broadening our reach for each campaign. Whatâ€™s differed this year is weâ€™ve tried to consolidate the number of campaigns, yet maximize the reach of each program before and after the event.
Weâ€™re doing more Web-based and integrated campaigns. Itâ€™s not just a webinar; itâ€™s a multitouch campaign with e-mail promotion, calling efforts and other follow-up methods. At the same time, rather than just [using] our own database, [weâ€™re] utilizing other promotion vendors, associations, analyst firms or list providers to extend the reach of each program. The other thing weâ€™ve done to extend our investment after the event [is that] weâ€™ve started doing transcriptions of events so that we can repurpose content into case studies and customer benefit bytes that our sales team can use for follow-up or the marketing team can use on Web sites, in blogs [and] in social media.
ITM: Why the change?
Brown: Some of it is the economy. Weâ€™ve realized that from a financial and resourcing perspective, we need to work smarter in these times. Rather than doing six webinars, weâ€™d rather do three or four, and squeeze all the juice out of them. [Our goals are] driving as many people to an event and extending our reach with different audiences to get bigger registration numbers. And extending the reach after [the event] by taking the content and repurposing it in a multitude of ways.
ITM: What are some of your goals?
Brown: We metric the number of inquiries and then we also follow the leads all the way to the sales funnel to how they move through sales to revenue. We donâ€™t have just one goal, but a multitude of goals. And these programs are not just for bringing in new leads but to also help move existing opportunities through the pipeline.
ITM: And how are you accomplishing this?
Brown: From a reach perspective, weâ€™ve utilized list vendors, analysts and some different vendors to promote events. In addition, weâ€™ve done a lot more follow-up; and thatâ€™s how weâ€™re trying to meet the goal of pushing things further through the pipe. In the past, we did hand-offs to sales [on the] assumption that theyâ€™re moving the leads through the sales process. But now, marketing is doing the first and second touch, and also giving [sales] the needed tools to move leads through the pipeline.
ITM: What kinds of tools?
Brown: E-mail templates, voice-mail scripts, pulling out analyst or customer quotes and customer metrics [from] webinars.
ITM: What new things are you trying? Whatâ€™s working and whatâ€™s not?
Brown: The other thing weâ€™ve done this year is target campaigns by vertical, and that has worked really well for us. The campaign message obviously resonates better with the audience. From a list and promotion perspective, it targets our audience better. Even for the vendors that we work with, we make better selections based on the verticals for the campaign.
Some list vendors donâ€™t work; itâ€™s trial by error. We send e-mail tests and see what the results are to determine where weâ€™re going to buy the remaining lists for that campaign.
The other thing weâ€™ve done is [use] different types of touches, like recorded voice-mails. Not only from a registration perspective but also as a reminder to get them to attend, and to thank them and say, â€śI hope to see you at the event.â€ť Weâ€™ve also done some telemarketing prior to and after events. Some people respond well to voice; others to e-mails; others by going to a Web site. You need to have a mix of these vehicles when youâ€™re targeting your audience.
ITM: From a marketing standpoint, how are you reacting to the recession?
Within several of our campaigns, weâ€™ve used the current economic climate in our message. Typically, when we use a message on the economy, itâ€™s for a horizontal campaign. The economy is a natural fit for [gaining peopleâ€™s attention] if you use it in a tasteful way and not a threatening way. We did an integrated campaignâ€”from the invitations, to the telemarketing, to the event, to the e-mail follow-upâ€”that touched on [the current state of the economy]. Itâ€™s just kicking off this month, so we havenâ€™t seen the results yet.