Lumension’s evolution to Web 2.0 marketing

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Marketing and content creation aren’t all that different these days, says Ed Brice, senior VP-worldwide marketing at Lumension, an endpoint security company based in Scottsdale, Ariz. The company, which counts midsize to large enterprises as customers, has significantly changed the way it markets itself to address this truism, he said.

“The first thing we have to do [as an industry] is wake up and realize our companies are no longer in control of the selling process,” Brice said. “The buyer, or the prospect or the target is in control. We used to be gatekeepers of information; we used to manage that process. Now the buyer no longer comes to us for information. They can go to a multitude of sources. … This shifts the kind of marketing you have to do. If you’re not looking at and understanding how [prospects] buy and what they buy—and what information they need at each stage—you’re at a significant disadvantage. A publisher publishes something once and thinks, ‘How can I syndicate this?’ That’s what marketers have to start doing, too.”

Already a market leader—research firm IDC has ranked Lumension the No. 1 vendor in proactive endpoint risk management for four consecutive years—the change is helping it compete with other vendors with much deeper pockets, Brice said.

To that end, Brice and his team are creating multiple content offerings as part of the company’s marketing strategy and disseminating them using Web 2.0 technologies.

“How do you build awareness? With white papers, blogs, webcasts, podcasts. We just launched an iTunes channel. We’re thinking like a publisher. How do I get my content published and how are my prospects going to consume those media,” Brice said. “I no longer have the option of putting the collateral on the Web site and letting prospects find it. I’ve got to create programs to drive people to the site—yes—but how do I bring together value-added content, tools, ROI calculators, free slices of our technology and get people to my site?”

Social media is one way the company is doing that, something that Brice said is a must-have. “If you’re a b-to-b marketer and you’re not leveraging social media tools, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage,” he said. “A lot of people are debating, ‘What’s our social media strategy and what’s the ROI?’ but when you think about it, you need to think about what you are doing in social media as a conversation. Just start using it and forget about the ROI.”

Brice said Lumension focuses on blogging, its Facebook page, a branded Twitter channel and a branded YouTube channel. All of the content it creates—video, especially—is shared between them. People are listening, he said. The company’s YouTube presence has resulted in more than 5,000 channel views over the past six months. A viral e-book it created has seen more than 4,000 downloads. For example, the company will create a new webinar or podcast and market that download via media partners and social media sites. “We use Twitter to say, ‘We are doing this.’ We post it to YouTube and iTunes so people have a familiar and easy way to consume it,” Brice said.

The strategy is helping Lumension get out front and stay out front. Customers, prospects, industry journals and even the mainstream media, including the Wall Street Journal, have started picking up the company’s blog posts via RSS feed, and calling on its executives as thought leaders.

“The major media has some of our thought leaders on direct dial,” Brice said. “Eighteen months ago I didn’t know how I could compete with the dominant brands. They just spent more money. But thinking like a publisher and using the free tools that are out there have allowed me to create my own content, syndicate my own content and step up. As long as I produce relevant, value-added content, it doesn’t matter how much the other marketers spend.”

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