“Art” vs “Science” of Media: Time to Transition to Science of Media
Advanced skill sets and knowledge, as well as streamlined processes, can be the differentiating factors between two organizations, elevating one to a competitive advantage. Decisions made by the marketing department can help widen this competitive gap. According to a recent IDC study, tech marketers are seeing a 4% budget increase this year. This poses the question, “how will this increased marketing spend drive needed sales?” The answer resides in the understanding of the science of media.
Over the past 12 months there have been several areas evolving within technology marketing. The most fundamental evolution has to do with marketers shifting their focus from the art of media to the science of media, using social media, mobile, search, data, lead gen and brand gen tools to achieve their marketing goals. Marketers are becoming more sophisticated and analytical in how they leverage technology to reach their target market. This approach has also changed communications from marketers pushing messaging at their targets, to entering into relevant conversations with the end user, thus creating and enhancing the long term relationship.
The science of media mindset has driven the need for more than just lead generation. Marketers are looking for sales enablement—a method where marketing and sales collaborate using a combination of demand generation, branding, PR and sales communication to share the right tools at the right time with prospects to grow revenue—and opportunities to combine multiple marketing facets to move prospects through the sales pipeline by knowing the appropriate message to send to them, thus increasing revenue. This transition has led to the development of several sales enablement innovations by media companies including: lead nurturing and consulting programs, content assessments that identify messaging and educational opportunities, banner ad units that drive engagement, social media programs that create interaction and conversation, which foster a strong connection between the marketing and sales organizations.
This shift in focus has also refined how technology companies’ hire marketing professionals and how marketing departments and agencies are structuring themselves. From a talent perspective, skills residing in technology, SEO, SEM, SMO, research, and analytics are now becoming key attributes. From a structural vantage point, both budget and personnel are being organized to execute on integrated programs, from online to events to print to custom projects. Teams need to understand the nuances of different media as well as the technology to execute on their plans. This means that media companies need to create innovative integrated programs to help drive sales enablement and demand generation. For example, in 2010 Avaya launched the CIO Debate program, an integrated program including a multi-media site with social media components, video interviews with CIOs, a co-branded White Paper and face-to-face executive dinners. This program included content and a point of view that interested and engaged the CIO, Computerworld and IDG’s TechNetwork audiences, exceeding visitor guarantees by 50%.
Marketers will also use this analytical approach when reviewing media brands. Individuals continuously return to, and spend quality time reading and engaging with, brands they trust. Marketers should look for research from media partners that showcase reader and visitor affinity.
By focusing on the “Science” of media, marketing professionals will to provide justification for their marketing spend as well as demonstrate ROI so that they will have the flexibility to make bold decisions to advance their brand.
Michael Friedenberg is CEO and President, IDG Enterprise.