Leading Edge virtual show attracts thousands

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New York—Marketers have at their disposal “an explosion of social networks,” all feeding information to purchasers, said Patrick Crane, VP-marketing and advertising with professional social network LinkedIn in his opening video keynote Tuesday at BtoB’s Leading Edge: Demand Generation in the Digital Age, the magazine’s first-ever, daylong virtual trade show.

The LinkedIn executive stressed the importance of social networks, which he said could be used to derive information about purchasing decisions and prospects.

“Thirty-eight percent of all media on the Internet is consumed on social platforms, so we, as b-to-b marketers, need to be there,” Crane said, adding that marketers must be careful before venturing into the social media waters.

“A key question to ask yourself as a b-to-b marketer is, ‘What is the intent of those networks?’ ” he said, noting that some communities are primarily for entertainment while others, including LinkedIn, have a strong professional orientation.

Nearly 5,000 people registered for BtoB’s Leading Edge daylong virtual conference Tuesday.

LinkedIn monitors what is being said about it on the Internet, a practice all marketers should adopt, Crane said.

“This enables you to respond to people who have queries or maybe are not too satisfied,” he said. “We have a social monitoring strategy that allows us to ‘jump on people’ before they become very dissatisfied and spread it across the network.”

In the day’s other video keynote address, Jere King, VP-U.S. and Canada field marketing at Cisco Systems, said, “For marketing professionals, we have never had such an exciting environment for lead generation where our customers and prospects come together in this networked world.”

King spoke about five lead generation strategies; described how the networking company uses a variety of channels, including viral online video, to drive awareness and leads; and ended by suggesting some best practices.

“With the economy being so challenging, we created a sales and marketing effort that asked customers to think of new ways to do business,” King said, showing an online video that was part of an integrated campaign to “engage the customers around how they could survive the tough economic times.” That effort, which included print ads and Web banners, resulted in more than 600,000 visitors to Cisco’s Web site. “A high percentage of them were new to Cisco,” King said.

In addition to the video keynotes, Leading Edge attendees registered for six webcasts during the day, on such topics as lead-scoring best practices, marketing automation, calls to action and offers, and lead nurturing and management. Attendees could also interact directly with one another and exhibitors via online chat.

Virtual events and webcasting company ON24, which provided the platform technology for the event, was one of several exhibitors occupying individual booths on a virtual show floor. Other exhibitors included direct marketing company Harte-Hanks; marketing and sales-enablement company Avitage; online marketing company Silverpop Systems, featuring its Engage B2B solution; marketing automation company Eloqua; marketing analytics company Experian Marketing Services; direct marketing agency Kern Organization; demand-generation agency Bulldog Solutions; e-mail marketing and lead-nurturing company Marketo; business targeting and ad network company Bizo; and demand-generation consultancy Pedowitz Group.

Leading Edge attracted 4,600 registrants. Webinar and keynote content from the event will be available on for six months after June 29.

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