It started with Minaz Adenwala, Marketing Manager – Gartner (and a TradeBriefs Software subscriber), thinking about ways to attract new audiences to Gartner’s events in India. There are 2 role based summits in Mumbai and a Symposium/ITxpo conference in Goa that Gartner conducts in India every year. “The TradeBriefs Software audience seemed like a good fit, so we started with a partnership where we offered them branding at our event in return for promotional e-mailers to their audience,” says Minaz. “However, we soon realized that a deeper relationship was in order, to really take advantage of the audience engagement that TradeBriefs has.”
The result was a native advertising campaign within TradeBriefs newsletters. Readers were segmented to include CEOs, CIOs and the next level of reports.They were further segmented into 2 groups – top of the funnel and bottom of the funnel.
Top of the funnel
The top of the funnel folks were those who had heard of Gartner but had never really engaged with the brand. The way to get them into the Gartner funnel was by providing them access to exclusive content that added value to their job roles. The objective was educating them about Gartner. Once they saw value in the content, they were more likely to respond to offers to attend Gartner events (fyi – The annual Goa conference is priced at at Rs 73,650 plus taxes). Below is a screenshot of the content included in the newsletter followed by the lead capture form, most of which gets pre-populated since readers have submitted their profile information to TradeBriefs before.
Bottom of the funnel
The bottom of the funnel folks are already convinced about the brand, but needed more information about the specific event, pricing, etc. Here the approach was to gather their inputs on specific areas in IT (BI, ERP, Cloud, etc) that were of interest to them and create a custom agenda from the event and send it to them. Note that there are 9 parallel tracks going on at the Gartner annual conference at any given point in time, so it’s physically impossible to attend all sessions. Readers appreciate the customization and are more likely to actually attend once they see the specific value to them. This was enabled through native advertising again, but with a more direct approach. Below is a screenshot of the content in the newsletter followed by the custom lead capture form, which captured the reader’s preferences.
In either case, Gartner sales team members were told to educate these prospects about Gartner events, the speakers, the analysts and the whole package, through a series of emails, followed by phone calls to the more likely prospects. The native advertising within the daily email newsletters delivered several hundred leads, mostly CIOs and direct reports. We’ve analyzed why this campaign worked vs some other approaches and here are our conclusions.
- Native advertising is less intrusive than direct email marketing, which although more effective in the short term, cannot be used too frequently. Native advertising on the other hand can be used daily, since the ad content is interspersed with news and jobs content that the reader finds direct value in.
- Targeting and context are important. Native advertising content cannot be too removed from the rest of the content as the reader is in a certain frame of mind and is reading your publication with a certain purpose. For TradeBriefs, it’s typically B2B advertising that works well.
- Understanding of the funnel is important. Like with any form of advertising, some readers will be exposed to the brand being advertised for the first time, others would be closer to making a purchase decision. As long as marketers understand how to handle these different types of leads, it’s fine. Top of the funnel folks need more education and hand-holding. Bottom of the funnel folks need specifics and perhaps an offer to convert quickly. So, don’t waste time educating bottom of the funnel folks or giving offers to top of the funnel folks.