Lead generation is undergoing a transformation at Summit Business Media under the direction of Jeff Patterson, president of Summit's Insurance Group.
Patterson was hired last October as senior VP-customer solutions to bring then-separate businesses including lead generation and custom marketing into a single group that would focus on developing integrated, multichannel marketing programs. In January, he was given added responsibility for leading the insurance media group. “The intention was to bring a market-specific focus to the transformation of our businesses from a more print-centric media company to a full integrated marketing solutions company,” he said.
“We think there is enormous opportunity to leverage Summit's assets and strengths—and also to do things that have traditionally been done in the IT space—to create totally integrated marketing solutions,” he said.
Also last October, Jeff Schottland, founder of Summit's Producers' Web lead generation business was named director of lead generation for the whole company, reporting to Patterson.
ProducersWeb is a website featuring original content and user-generated content from industry experts, sponsors and community members, but it also has a sophisticated lead-generation system and marketing automation platform fully integrated with it. The platform provides sponsors with landing pages, called “storefronts,” where they can post company information, link to blogs and articles, and promote lead-generating offers. Behind the scenes, they have dashboards to track campaigns; manage and nurture leads; post content; and run reports.
This year, the lead-generation technology from ProducersWeb is being rolled out to all the company's media portal sites. Some of ProducersWeb's community features, including a “gamification” system in which members earn points for creating content and participating in discussions, may be added to the media sites in the future.
Along with the technology, Summit's other media brands will also adopt ProducersWeb's premium business model, Schottland said. Until this year, most lead-gen on Summit's media portals was syndication of downloadable content sold on a cost-per-lead (CPL) basis. ProducersWeb, however, monetizes leads within a sponsorship model where lead generation is incorporated into various packages that also include complete marketing campaigns.
“We want to replace most of the CPL programs and grow revenue with the sponsorship model,” he said.
Summit is also beginning to sell programs that extend lead generation into live events. “We will create higher-level, higher-touch lead-generation opportunities by connecting clients with a smaller number of highly qualified people, face-to-face, in a quality environment,” Patterson said. “We will not only recruit these people [through a lead-gen process] but we also will stage and manage the event for the marketer.”
Supporting these efforts, Peter Westerman, chief audience officer, is pulling together a consolidated audience and customer database. “Individual databases continue to exist, but we have replicated that information in a centralized repository the whole company can use for marketing,” he said.
The first phase of the project focused on consolidating 2.3 million email-contact records. Records with only postal or telephone contact information are now being added.
Westerman is also implementing Marketo marketing automation to empower internal marketing units, which will be cross-marketing Summit's paid subscriptions, data products and conferences across the various brands.