The Power of Digital Advertising

The power behind digital advertising is limitless. It can increase brand awareness, nurture leads, and drive a specific audience to take a specific action. Digital ads allow brands to meet an audience where they are, providing them with a clear avenue to engage. Because advertising is rooted in consistency, repetition is the key to driving significant results.

Ability to Target Specific Audiences

An effective digital advertising strategy involves targeting a specific audience. For digital ads, audience targeting is critical to the success a campaign. Audience targeting can be built around several data points. A few of the most common types of audience targeting are rooted in demographic, psychographic, and behavioral data.

Demographic audience targeting hinges on demographic data, such as age, gender, education level, income, ethnicity, marital status, and occupation. Psychographic, or interest-based, targeting identifies ad audiences based on their interests, activities, opinions, values, personality traits, or lifestyle choices. Lastly, behavioral targeting uses data on an audience’s digitally “observed” behaviors, such as websites they’ve visited, other ads they’ve clicked on, or items they’ve purchased in the past.

Because digital advertising is targeted, an audience can benefit from the brand’s offering at the exact time they need it.

Staying Top of Mind

Brands are known by their identity and reputation. But a brand can only be known if it remains in an audience’s purview. Digital ads establish a continual presence and dialogue with an audience, keeping the brand top of mind. It’s the brand’s consistent narrative that creates a listening and brand-aware audience. This is why repetition is crucial in advertising.

Traditionally speaking, it has often been said that it takes at least seven interactions with a brand before a conversion will take place. In today’s ever-changing landscape, it could be argued that the number of interactions and exposures is significantly higher. This is exactly why repetition is the key to digital advertising. The repetition of showing ads consistently to an audience will help a brand stay relevant. When it comes time to a make a purchase, a buyer is more likely to consider a brand that has remained top of mind.

Building Brand Trust

A target audience leans on the repetition of a brand’s message to build brand trust. Digital ads can be used to show the brand’s value, product offerings, and services. Each ad can be a steppingstone toward a relationship with a target audience. Digital advertising is a foundational part of reinforcing the relationship building process. When an audience trusts that a brand will deliver, the brand has succeeded at building a relationship with an audience.

The psychology behind building brand trust is powerful. When a brand maintains a presence through digital advertising, it subconsciously signals to an audience that the brand is available, reliable, and ready anytime. It’s no wonder why buyers often choose a provider that has remained top of mind.

Measurable Results & Campaign Optimization

Unlike traditional advertising methods like billboards and magazines, every interaction with a digital ad can be measured. With digital advertising a brand can measure the effectiveness of an ad by looking at several different KPIs. Common success metrics for digital ads are impressions, clicks, click-through-rate, cost per lead, and conversions.

Based on the results, an ad campaign can then be adjusted for optimal performance. The advantage of measuring ad performance helps a brand evaluate brand awareness, prospect engagement, and lead behavior. These insights can help inform budget allocation, audience segmentation, and audience development.

To learn how digital advertising can benefit your clients, simply reach out. Informa Engage is your partner in the sales journey.

Effective Lead Generation Starts with Understanding the Buyer’s Journey

Lead generation takes many shapes and forms. In the B2B world, a lead generation strategy can include a variety of channels and tactics like email marketing, paid media, webinars, content marketing, social media, and so on. The way in which lead generation is executed directly impacts revenue. 

The Goal of Lead Generation 

Regardless of marketing channel or tactic, the end goal is the same: generate leads that drive revenue.  

But how do we effectively generate leads? To answer this question, we must first understand the buyer and the journey they are on. 

A straightforward way of understanding this is through asking questions. Who is the buyer? What are they trying to solve? Where are they looking for information? And how can we help provide a beneficial solution and effective answer to their problem? 

Answering these questions through content at each stage of their journey can unlock the key to effective lead generation. 

The Buyer’s Journey 

The B2B buyer’s journey is fueled by the desire to improve the bottom line. Therefore, it is critical to have relevant and helpful content at each stage of the buyer’s journey to facilitate the next step in the buying process. To put it simply, content is the avenue toward a decision; decision is the destination.  

To help identify what content generates leads and drives purchases, we must first look at the 3 stages of the marketing funnel: awareness, consideration, and decision. Each stage has correlating content that drives specific results. 

Stage 1: Awareness 

The first stage of the marketing funnel is awareness. At this stage, a B2B customer is conducting research and looking for answers. Content should be helpful, educational, and informative. Short-form content performs best, as this provides the audience with an appetizer of information that will lead them to their next course. The goal of awareness content is to attract and engage leads. 

Benefit: Brand recognition, attract leads, casts a wide net 

Content in this stage: Blogs, paid media, social media, news articles, explainer videos, podcasts, how-tos, press releases, SEO content, video interviews (FastChat), webinar key takeaways 

Metrics that matter: Impressions, traffic, views, comments, likes, shares, follower count, number of page views 

Stage 2: Consideration 

The second stage of the marketing funnel is consideration. During this stage, a B2B customer realizes that you offer a solution to their problem. Content should be engaging, solution-based, and focus on value propositions. Interactive content performs best, as this provides the audience with an experience that can lead to action. The goal of consideration content is to get on the prospect’s shortlist of solutions. 

Benefit: Lead generation, establishes trust, customer experience 

Content in this stage: Webinars, infographics, retargeting ads (Audience Extension), FAQs, email campaigns, newsletter, product videos, personalized videos, product guides, eBook, events, landing pages, interactive digital experiences 

Metrics that matter: Form submissions, new contacts (leads), subscribes, clicks, open rate, view-through rates, length of time on page, abandonment rate, event registration, event attendance, event survey submissions, live polling response rate, MQLs 

Stage 3: Decision 

The third stage of the marketing funnel is decision. At this stage, a B2B customer is nearing the end of their purchasing process where understanding ROI is pivotal. Content should be high-value, transactional, and competitive, providing both “sizzle” and “steak”. Data-driven content that provides proof of concept, ROI, specs, and application performs best. The goal of decision content is to provide the prospective buyer with hard facts and assurance that they are making the best decision. 

Impact: Conversion, revenue generation, competitor elimination 

Content in this stage: Case studies, demos, comparison guides, events, testimonials, specs sheets, social proofs, product videos, white papers 

Metrics that matter: Downloads, demo views, number of phone calls, number of meetings, number of RFPs, SQLs 

Effective Lead Generation & Multi-Channel Content 

Prospective customers value a consistent experience throughout their purchasing path. Therefore, it is important to consider a multi-channel content approach for finding the “sweet spot” in effective lead generation. By choosing marketing channels that help a buyer trust a brand and take an immediate action, lead generation can become more efficient and effective overall. 

Take the First Step 

Informa Engage is here to equip you and your clients with effective and measurable lead generation strategies that drive revenue. If you are looking for more ways to partner with your clients, then simply reach out. We’re here to help! 

Engaging Your Audience: Four Quick Tips for Optimizing Content Experiences

Content is at the heart of B2B marketing, but your audience is getting harder to reach. Attention has become a scarce commodity because all day people are inundated with marketing messages from a combination of methods – email, Facebook, Twitter, radio, TV, etc. Since 47% of buyers view 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep, we know the buyer’s journey is largely completed digitally.

So how do you stand out from the rest and capture the attention of your audience?

Check out these four tips:

  1. Relevant Content – the content you offer should be relevant and of importance to your audience. Your audience is looking for information that helps them solve their business problems. Awareness content items – such as blogs, tips and tricks, challenges in the market, case studies, guides, FAQs, etc. – typically perform well. And, to really know if your marketing is working, you need to understand how your prospects are engaging with your content. Clicks and form submissions don’t tell the full story. Behavioral activity – content binging – is a great indicator for which content items resonate with your audience and will help you maximize your engagement strategy.
  2. Accessible, OnDemand Content – can your audience effortlessly access the content they need when they want it? Providing content in a digital content hub where your audience can self-educate themselves allows them to choose the time and place in which they engage – leaving them to spend more time binging on your content. This in turn provides you with powerful engagement (binge) insights that help guide your marketing strategy, especially if you are considering paid channels.
  3. Soft gates and increasing the conversion – Are you struggling to increase conversion rates? Using “soft gates” allows prospects to preview an asset for several seconds before being asked to complete a form fill. This has been shown to increase conversion rates by 70%. Additionally, content engagement data allows marketers to gain visibility into whether or not leads were actually reading the soft-gated asset and could use this information to allocate future content syndication spend.
  4. Say Goodbye to Passive Content – There has been a 300% increase in content creation over the past several years. With so much content, how does your audience know which pieces are most valuable for them at each stage of the buying process? Never leave your audience’s next step to chance. Providing a content-driven journey – content in the order you wish it to be viewed – will help progress your audience faster and more accurately. Optimize your engagement strategy by developing a binge-worthy experience for your customers.


An Accelerated Path Toward Event Marketing Services (EMS)

While it is essential to understand the various forces driving this shift, it’s also critical to understand the work needed by event organizers to leverage this opportunity, so let’s look at how we’ve arrived at this point. For clarity purposes, let’s also define EMS as “sponsored digital programs in and around events.”

Progressive marketers within the event ecosystem began to drive this trend. Those folks looked past boundaries—real and imaginary— and thought, “how can I leverage ‘digital’ to enhance my event presence?” and vice versa, “how can I amplify my event investment beyond the actual event itself?” The leveraging of video at the show to capture content (demo, executive presentations, etc.) and then cascading it out digitally to a broader audience during or after the event or following targeted attendees around the web with ads are just two examples. Exhibitors building a landing page to highlight their show activities and then driving prospective attendees to that page ahead of the event is another. There has been a slow but steady rise in this type of activity through the years, but it hasn’t been widespread, nor has it been industrialized by the organizers.

Then came a global pandemic. Business-as-usual came to a screeching halt and forced an overnight migration from physical events to digital events and forced those within the event ecosystem (the organizers and the sponsors/exhibitors) to dive far deeper into the digital world than they have previously been comfortable with. Within about 16 months, we witnessed an entire industry receive a crash course in “digital.” It has been inspiring, and it has been painful. But in the end, it has raised digital IQs and digital confidence tenfold.

Newly learned behaviors, coupled with a forever changed viewpoint around the interrelationship between events and digital, will be the byproduct that sparks the accelerated rise of event marketing services moving forward. Event sponsors have now learned alternative ways to reach their desired audiences. They have tasted digital metrics and a more direct ROI measurement. Having seen this play out before, we can safely conclude their digital activities will not suddenly snap back to nil when live events come back in force. They are in digital motion.

Likewise, event organizers have realized the monetization opportunities that digital can bring to their businesses—via standalone virtual events, hybrid models, or digital activities in/around physical events. Together these variables will change the conversation between event sellers and event buyers. The discussion will go well beyond the event itself and include digital marketing activities surrounding the event.

Lastly, the platforms that have historically focused on webinars, virtual trade shows, or event registration have been racing to develop their capabilities to meet the new rising need to connect audiences in various formats with rich functionality and a mix of live and on-demand capabilities. Add in a host of new entrants, along with a pile of investment dollars, and we’re on the cusp of the next generation of event tech platforms.

Combining the forces above with the reality that it will likely be several years before physical events return to pre-pandemic levels, it is clear that “digital” will now play a significant growth role for event organizers.
So, what are the variables at play that need to be properly managed by organizers?

There are several:

  • Productization and Packaging. The ability to craft smart digital products and packages that provide value for event customers, worthwhile profitability for the organizer, and logical connective tissue to the event itself.
  • Sales Management. Sales teams need training and motivation to incorporate digital selling into their daily approach. A few offerings that are compelling, easy to articulate, and easy to understand would be the logical kick-off point.
  • Execution Ability. Ensuring that the execution capability and a delivery process exists within a clearly defined execution team is critical to avoid downstream post-sale challenges.
  • Data Access and Governance. Determining how best to leverage an event brand’s database to promote the event itself to attendees and leverage the same database to drive sponsored digital event marketing services programs. Striking the right balance to ensure these efforts aren’t in conflict is critical, as is assuring that the teams involved, if separate, create a good working rhythm together.
  • Platforms. Choosing optimal platform/s for the specific use-case coupled with having the proper skillsets to manage will be imperative to tie it all together.

The EMS opportunity is significant. The shift is in motion, and stakeholders are starting to organize around it. We saw an event pure-play acquire a marketing services company. We’re seeing the biggest players in the event ecosystem weaving “digital” into their positioning. It’s no longer a matter of “if” but “how fast” event marketing services grows. There will be an advantage to those who see it with clear eyes and begin managing to it. The question now is who will be out front as a leader versus who will lag behind and get pulled along by their competition and customers.

Using Market Research to Fuel Your Content Marketing Assets

As B2B marketers become increasingly savvy with the use of content marketing, it becomes even more important to create content assets that stand out from a very crowded landscape. Using primary research to develop proprietary, original data to fuel your content pieces is an excellent way to do just that.  A single survey can fuel a variety of content marketing assets, whether the goal is thought leadership/brand building, lead generation, or both.

Top-5 Research-Based Content Assets:

  1. White Papers: Survey results provide an excellent foundation for whitepaper content, providing key talking points for the analyst to build upon in creating a particularly compelling report. Add qualitative interviews to provide additional context and flavor. Surrounded by a robust marketing plan, this valuable proprietary information can be gated for lead generation.
  1. Webinars: Repurpose survey results and elevate your position as an industry expert through thought leadership. Leverage your content further in a webinar lead touch program, providing an opportunity to engage the webinar registrants and continue the conversation. Breathe new life into the webinar content by creating an engaging, interactive experience with webinar key takeaways, highlighting main themes from the event.
  1. FastChats: Increase thought leadership by discussing the results of your research in an online interview. Drive additional traffic to the interview by adding an in-article video snippet to run alongside brand editorial.
  1. Infographics: Visualize key data from your research program and promote across a variety of channels to build your brand: partner websites, owned media, direct mail, social media, etc.

  2. Explainer Videos: Craft a unique video breaking down your research into digestible content. Increase awareness by adding a 30-second in-article video across the brand site to increase exposure and/or leverage video at your industry events.

We also know that third-party involvement increases the credibility of your content assets.  Informa Engage can help create a robust marketing plan that integrates the elements above to give your clients the awareness and/or sales leads they’re looking for.

The Value of Upper Funnel Lead Marketing

Tech marketers have an exacting remit to deliver high-quality, deep-pocketed marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) into their sales pipelines. The constant pressure to deliver is tied to immediate ROI expectation that equates marketing spend directly to the number of leads brought in and then calculates the monetary value of that lead based on presumed lifetime sales into that company.

This is a valid approach that is not likely to change. However, it should not deny the brand awareness needed to prepare high-quality prospects to be receptive to lead gen marketing and nurture campaigns.

The level of effort needed just to turn the head of a high-quality prospect is boosted by brand marketing to a broad group of potential customers.

Benefits of top-of-funnel brand marketing promotions:

  • Messaging to upper-funnel contacts builds brand and product awareness. It lays the groundwork for lead gen engagement when that person/company is ready to make a purchase decision.
  • Proper brand-focused messaging creates recognition and builds a positive reputation.
  • Companies can try out messaging tactics before committing to lengthy content messaging.
  • Content engagement shows pre-purchase interest or research activity of a company well before they raise their hand with a form submission.
  • A team will likely weigh in on a purchase decision, so content and messaging that influences the broader team can positively influence those who will never become an explicit lead but will impact the company’s decision.
  • Executive-level decision makers rarely download whitepapers or sit through webinars, but they are certainly part of a company’s buying decision. You can continue to reinforce brand identity and reputation up and down your prospect’s buying team through top-of-funnel promotions reaching company contacts that are not in your sales pipelines.

Top-of-funnel does mean scattershot.  Brand messaging still benefits from targeting the right prospective customer base – just as broadly as possible.  Top-of-funnel tactics include web advertising on content sites relevant to your prospect pool.

Audience extension can be used to replay advertising promotions to targeted segments across various news and interest sites across the web. And as any freshman marketing major can tell you – repetition is key!

Account-based marketing (ABM) tactics can be employed to speak to that broader buying team from companies already in your sales pipeline.  When one or two key contacts are being nurtured down the sales and marketing funnel, targeted ABM top-of-funnel marketing bolsters brand identity and reputation to that broader, influencer group within your target company.

Keep in mind that the persons within an organization making the brand or top-of-funnel promotional plan may not be the same persons driving leads into the sales CRM.  You need to determine this and coordinate your sales messaging and comms accordingly.

Tech marketers support their lead gen and lead nurture campaigns through a strong foundation of brand and product awareness among prospective contacts.  Top-of-funnel promotions drive that awareness. They can also deliver access to kay contacts across a prospect company while nurturing efforts driving few key prospects toward a sale.

Sales Success Starts with A Winning Pre-Sales Strategy

A strong marketing services business requires a well-oiled pre-sales process to ensure all stakeholders have the necessary information to deliver a successful program. No organization will be effective in selling marketing services without good communication between the sales and delivery teams. And as a sales lead at Informa, you’ll play a key role in this process.

The more information you gather during the pre-sales stage, the better equipped your Informa Engage delivery experts will be able to help you with scoping, timelines, deliverables, KPI’s, and all the important variables needed to execute your deal. This information can be beneficial for sellers because it creates a feedback loop that will help you understand how to best position or price a product when developing a proposal that best addresses your customer’s challenge. It also serves to establish mutually agreed-upon expectations with your client, so all sides are clear on what’s been purchased, what it entails, and how a successful ROI will be defined.

Ultimately, a strong pre-sales process when selling marketing services programs creates a culture of collaboration that will lead to higher revenue, client satisfaction, and increased renewals.

Informa Engage Best Practices for the Pre-Sales Process

As a sales leader, when you identify and communicate the following details to your delivery counterparts during the pre-sales process, you’ll ensure your campaign is set up for a smooth delivery transition and successful sales outcome. Here are five questions that you should strive to identify for every program before closing the deal.

  1. WHO is the target audience your client wants to reach? 
    1. Example: job titles, industry, location, etc. 
  1. WHAT is the client’s objective for the program? 
    1. Example: are they looking to capture leads, drive awareness, increase content engagement, boost traffic, etc.
  1. HOW will the client measure the program to determine success?
    1. Example: What are the metrics or specific KPI’s we need to be aware of to execute the program?
  1. WHEN does the client want the final product delivered? 
    1. Example: Does the client’s desired launch date align with the timeframe needed to develop and/or market the program?
  1. WHERE will the client’s program live and be promoted?
    1. Example: Does the client want Informa to host and promote the content to our audience, or will the content live on the client’s site?