MB: What is your outlook for b-to-b IT advertising in 2006?
Sweeney: Anything to do with online lead generation will continue to be huge-Webcasts, e-newsletters, white papers. IT marketers are shifting more dollars from print and other marketing buckets to online and live events because they can measure their results in terms of leads.
MB: Some say there's too much focus on lead generation. Is there?
Sweeney: Let's face it, marketing budgets are tight, so advertisers have to make sure publishers deliver on their promises. Online lead generation programs are one way of proving that you reach the people you say you do ... If you have the right audience engaged with your brand, you have to execute. You have to manage the process constantly.
First, we make sure we show up at the top in search results. Once we get people to our site, it's our job to keep them there, to get them to interact with our content. Then we have to give them a reason to register for something-a white paper, a microsite, a Webcast. When we deliver leads that are generated organically, they really are leads, not just prospects.