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Dell: Framing the conversation

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Dell Inc. has partnered with TechTarget to customize a marketing platform that couples interactive content with the media company's established social network of technology buyers. The move is one of the latest developments in Dell's “The Power to Do More” corporate brand campaign, developed by Dell agency WPP's Y&R, which underscores the company's evolution from hardware provider to services partner. An embedded application, dubbed the Social Reader, accompanies Dell marketing content on TechTarget sites, allowing readers to ask and answer questions on the established IT Knowledge Exchange forum, read conversational threads and communicate with peers in real time. The tool carries the same conversation across Dell white papers and rich media ads, as well as on the TechTarget-developed microsite www.dellempowers.com. The model provides a contextual framework for audience interactions, facilitating the kind of conversation that has become a vital touch point for any technology marketing campaign, said Adam Potashnick, global media director at MediaCom, the global media planning and buying agency for Dell. “There are experts in the social [media] universe who have the power to become the most authoritative sources,” he said. “Peers and colleagues are the No. 1 resource when looking at purchasing new products.” The point-of-content placement of the social media tool helps move the conversation forward and spurs engagement, he said. Both content and conversational threads are organized topically. Dell divides its audience into healthcare IT, cloud computing and IT efficiency groups, then provides tools to foster interactions with subsegments, including spectators and critics. The microsite features white papers, video clips, case studies and the Social Reader tool. Rich media ads also pair content with social media. “We're able to communicate with all kinds of customers,” Potashnick said. “Not many advertisers speak to all of these segments at once.” The campaign, which has been live for about a month, already has produced quality metrics, he said. More than 40% of users who open the social media tool engage with the content or the community, said Andrew Briney, senior VP and group publisher-IT strategy and custom media at TechTarget. Visitors on average spend almost two minutes in the environment. Users who enter one of the media environments on average produce more than four interactions, clicking on links to case studies, viewing videos, commenting on posts or downloading white papers for example. The level of interaction is key, Briney said. “This campaign has been able to bring people who are usually spectators in and change their habits,” he said. The Dell Social Reader is the first iteration of the TechTarget Social Engage platform, a customizable tool that allows marketers to integrate the existing IT Knowledge Exchange network into their brand marketing. The convergence of social media and content provides a valuable experience, Briney said. TechTarget is also looking at adding a mobile app. Dell debuted the U.S. ‘The Power to Do More' campaign in June.
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