Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tech Media Publishers looking more Like Interactive Marketing Firms Every Day

Tech Media publishers have seen an exponential shift in buyer behaviour, recognizing that the B2B buying decisions these publications support are now Internet driven, and that buyers are in control of the buying cycle like never before - seeking trusted sources of diagnosis, advice and recommendations.

As well, the Tech Media publishers have seen a dramatic shift in B2B vendors, who are looking for innovative ways to break through marketing fatigue to attract, connect and engage ever more skeptical and frugal buyers.

The age of Internet fueled buying decisions means that traditional print publications just don't meet buyer or seller needs.

In the recent BtoB magazine article, "Tech Media Evolution a Bellwether", the major technology publishers were examined to understand how quickly the shift to interactive marketing was occurring. Looking at the top three technology publishers:
  • IDG generated 43% of its revenue from print in fiscal year 2008 and 39% in fiscal year 2009. The company said that percentage has dropped even more in its current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30;
  • UBM's TechWeb, which publishes InformationWeek, indicates that print now generates only about 10% of total revenue. Five years ago, it accounted for 72%;
  • Ziff Davis Enterprise, keeper of the eWeek brand, now only derives about 10% of its revenue from print, a similar significant decline from years past where revenue exceeded 75% for print.

Looking at traditional print advertising pages, IDG calculated that technology and tele- communications industry print advertising pages peaked in 1999 at 135,000 pages, declining to just 20,000 pages last year.

To maintain revenue, these Tech Media firms have quickly morphed to develop and deliver interactive marketing services to technology vendors, including:
  • On-line strategy development
  • Building online advertising businesses. and creating advertising networks.  
  • Starting research practices
  • Inventing social media consultancies and services
  • Developing and delivering lead generation microsites and webinars, executive assessment tools, interactive white papers, ROI / TCO calculators
This shift is permanent and important, impacting sellers and buyers of technology, as well as the publishing and interactive marketing landscape.

Steve Weitzner, CEO of Ziff Davis Enterprise, explaining the drivers and shift to interactive marketing: “Advertisers used to pay us to get a message in front of our audience. That was pretty much it. Now, the one word I use a lot is "engage". It's about all the different ways you can engage the audience and the various ways you can develop leads with content.”

The Bottom-Line
Buyers and sellers have fundamentally changed, driving a substantial need for Tech Media publishers to morph into interactive marketing service providers.
To help traditional technology publishers make this shift, we have been proud to partner with several of these providers to develop and deliver interactive smart content ™ and value based interactive tools. Partnering with Alinean has allowed these Tech Media leaders to immediately offer unique tools that B2B buyers demand to help make better decisions, and sellers need to attract and capture leads and engage skeptical and frugal buyers.

One of the programs we worked on is with Ziff Davis Enterprise (ZDE), launching a suite of interactive tool services for IT vendors to drive more qualified leads, reduce sales cycles and generate more transactions. These include:
  • Smart Papers(tm) - interactive white papers that make traditional white papers more effective, more relevant and more One to One via interactive profiling and dynamic generation / delivery
  • Executive Assessment Tools - quick surveys to help customers diagnose and understand issues, benchmark to peers, and obtain intelligent improvement advice
  • ROI Calculators - quantifying how a solution will help buyers do-more-with-less, and quantifying bottom-line benefits, return on investment, and payback.
  • TCO Comparisons - quantifying the value of proposed solutions, differentiating features and costs amongst competitive options
Ziff Davis believes that the interactive smart content offerings, especially Smart Papers, are the most innovative new marketing tools launched over the past 20 years, and indicate as much in this webinar:

More information about these innovative ZDE interactive tool programs can be found at:
Information about new ZDE Smart Papers in particular can be found at:


Sources:
Tech Media Evolution a Bellwether, BtoB Magazine, Sean Callahan ,
Story posted: September 13, 2010

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