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Rising above the clutter

ROI REMAINS KING

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Proving how your product or service will provide a return on investment is an important part of marketing to IT buyers because they often have to get C-level approval for large purchases, said Tami Hernandez, president of Martopia, a branding, marketing, public relations and interactive agency. “They need detailed ROI info that gives specific examples and numbers,” she said. One popular way to prove ROI is to provide prospects with ROI calculators, Jenkins said. “Calculators remain a key evaluation tool,” he said. “ROI is still king out there, particularly in this economy.” Such tools are becoming more sophisticated in that marketers will now link to a video from the calculator or enable the user to share the results with a friend. Social marketing is also a hot topic among IT marketers, though many still are not entirely comfortable with the medium, said John Mannion, exec VP-director of client relations at Doremus. “There's still a lot of reluctance among a lot of IT marketers to really engage in full-blown open community social marketing because the IT community is a pretty verbal, responsive community,” he said. “They don't hold back; they have a tendency to share every experience—good, bad or indifferent—in big open forums.” One way marketers are managing their anxiety about giving buyers a forum in which to voice their opinions is by targeting communities toward specific market segments—for example, creating a social site about IT products for small-to-midsize health care companies. “[Marketers think], "OK, that's a collection of peers that are trouble-shooting their IT solutions,' “ Mannion said. “It's not as wide, so clients are feeling less anxious about the impact of a comment sending a ripple to a community that doesn't really understand it. Also, [a targeted community] creates a more rich and helpful discussion among those people.” •
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