Marketers geared to the technology sector, perhaps more than other verticals, need to be plugged into the “next great thing,” both from a technology and marketing standpoint. While it's a challenge, it tends to be an exciting one, said Theresa Matonti, senior director-global marketing operations at computer networking company Juniper Networks.
“From a technology standpoint, Juniper can be viewed as a challenger brand, against the category leader Cisco Systems,” Matonti said. “So, in our case, we need to capture the target audience's interest and attention, and drive those conversations.”
Juniper Networks has recently established a relationship with Harte-Hanks Inc., whose market intelligence division monitors installed technology and spending plans. Juniper also is working with Harte-Hanks' in-house direct marketing agency Mason Zimbler, Austin, Texas.
Matonti said she is intrigued by new features rolled out by Harte-Hanks that promise enhanced technology marketing intelligence and the ability to turn that intelligence into revenue.
First, Harte-Hanks added eight new Purchase Level Scores to its flagship product, the Ci Technology Database, identifying and ranking prospect companies based on their likelihood to purchase such products as cloud computing, computers, asset management software and storage.
Harte-Hanks accomplishes this by interviewing 7,500 tech buyers a month; the company has completed about 200,000 interviews, which provide details on planned purchases in 37 technology goods and services areas.
“The scores are based on a tremendous sample size of survey data that, when analyzed, forecasts not just what, but when a company is most likely to buy,” said Tino Kokkinos, managing director at Harte-Hanks Market Intelligence.
Second, like many other database marketing companies, Harte-Hanks is being more proactive in assisting marketers with services. This month, the company launched a new service, dubbed the Demand Curve, that focuses on four key marketing areas: data management, content development, social media and funnel management.
“It's an entry point for b-to-b organizations working with us,” said David Hatch, senior VP-strategy and solutions at Harte-Hanks. “It's the springboard, looking at all the b-to-b marketing capabilities.”
Interestingly for a company intent on exploring the digital cutting-edge of marketing, Harte-Hanks focuses on the call center as a core of the marketing function. As an inherent function of marketing's involvement in the revenue-production process, Hatch said, “The call center's purpose and objectives have changed. Marketers are getting deeper and deeper into the sales funnel.”
Hatch agreed that Harte-Hanks' Demand Curve service is moving the company toward full-fledged agency status.
“It's about insight engagements, to understand where the gaps are relative to your peers and how to fill those gaps,” he said. “But our approach is always rooted in the data.”
For its part, Juniper Networks is attempting to leverage the traction gained from its “The New Network Is Here” campaign that won top honors in BtoB's Best honors last year. That campaign was developed by John McNeil Studio, Berkeley, Calif., and compared Juniper's Junos network operating system, which runs across routing, switching and security platforms, with its competitors, most prominently Cisco.
“We're eager to introduce McNeil with Mason Zimbler, to work hand in hand,” said Matonti. “Mason Zimbler will be taking the creative work and content assets from NcNeil and applying them to different campaigns.”
Matonti said Harte-Hanks' marketing products and services will be blended with its marketing automation processes, courtesy of Eloqua, to further Juniper's funnel efforts.
“It's all about the technology to drive conversations,” Matonti said. “In the past, people would talk about the sales funnel or the marketing waterfall. But now, we're interested in what's happening outside the funnel, before prospects are coming in. That's where the whole social arena and networking comes into place.”