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BizReport : Ecommerce : September 14, 2018

How one business went from media to data brand

Transitioning a business is hard, even if the transition is from B2B to B2C commerce. TechTarget made the leap from media company to data, and continues to thrive. Here's how they are adapting their business into a digital leader.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: How did the process begin from transitioning TechTarget from a media company to a data company begin?

Mike Cotoia, CEO, TechTarget: This was not an overnight or "flip of the switch" transition, but rather a continuous build on the foundation of our business. At the core of our business we are the largest Enterprise B2B Tech Publisher in the world and our heavy and continuous investment in publishing relevant content across more than 10,000 technology-specific segments has essentially always made us a data company. When you invest in publishing the right purpose-built content you attract a very active and engaged audience while they are researching upcoming enterprise technology solutions. The audience self-selects themselves into our ecosystem (and it is the largest ecosystem in the market with close to 20 million registered members across 140+ enterprise technology focused sites) and we are able to capture all of their purchase-intent insights and behavior which we segment by topical interest, geographic region, and which stage of the buying cycle they are currently navigating. Knowing what our members are focused on allows us to provide a better experience for them by serving up relevant content to help them in their decision process. We then work with our clients by providing them access to real, observed purchase intent data insights so they can prioritize their content marketing and sales efforts and ultimately drive measurable pipeline for their respective organizations. It creates a win for our members, our clients, and for TechTarget and that is a Trifecta I will take anytime.

Kristina: How do you fuel TechTarget's continued success?

Mike: In principle, the answer's very simple. We find, hire and nurture eager, high-potential people across a number of critical roles, from editorial, to product, to sales and marketing. We try to empower them to take on as much challenge as they can, and then we enable them with a pragmatic focus - that if we do this now, we will deliver additional appreciable value to one or more of our key constituencies in the visible future. The strategic part is about who we choose. The tactical piece is about how we focus. And the operational piece is about getting better and better at scaling the whole thing out.

From our clients' perspective, they don't view us as simply a lead or data provider. People throw around the word partnership too freely but I would say we take a company-wide approach to work very closely with our clients. We understand their jobs aren't easy and they are transforming themselves every day into becoming better data-driven marketing and sales organizations. On the surface that sounds pretty straight forward, but we don't sell a solution and then simply let our clients "figure it out." We invest heavily in client support to help assist them in leveraging our suite of Purchase Intent marketing and sales products in order to put them in the best position to succeed. Our team at TechTarget clearly understands that if our clients succeed, everything else will fall into place.

Kristina: Are there any new product announcements/updates TechTarget is working on?

Mike: We typically have two major releases of our foundational Priority Engine real purchase intent platform annually. And we update our other products and services on regular cycles as well. There are three key areas we're especially focused on right now. First is around enabling marketing at both the executional and the strategic levels to improve both their delivery and their strategy. Second is around enabling sales to realize greater productivity and yield. And last, connecting the two, through the combination of our products and our customer success practice, we're helping clients accelerate the combined performance of marketing and sales - call it "M&S ROI" if you will -- using real purchase intent as the critical fuel.

Overall, we continually try to make it as make it as easy as possible for our clients to see results right in Priority Engine so they know exactly how their marketing and sales efforts are paying off against pipeline goals, ABM strategies, nurture effectiveness, etc.

Kristina: Where do you see the focus of the company in the next 5 years?

Mike: We don't see the enterprise tech industry slowing down any time soon, so that's still going to be our core focus from a market perspective. In fact, I think we are in a strong cycle of improved IT spending which is wonderful for our clients. Also, our clients are still in the very early stages of transitioning themselves into data-driven marketing and sales organizations. And if you ask many enterprise B2B technology marketers what type of data they are craving, their overwhelming response is purchase-intent insight data. We have a front row view of where the upcoming projects are happening across the globe because of the purchase-intent data we own through our content and audience investments.

As mentioned earlier, our clients have a tough enough job as it is layering a lot of complexities within their MarTech stack to improve process and strategy. Our purchase intent insight fits directly with core marketing automation, CRM and other platforms they have installed so that they can leverage it seamlessly in everyday workflows for their teams.

The technologies we use to better serve our members and our clients are evolving quickly - things like AI and other improvements for our infrastructure stack - and that's really exciting because not only does it help us deliver more value to our customers, it frees us up a bit to investigate all sorts of adjacent opportunities, be they category related, process oriented and so on. Right now, we believe that, from a MarTech stack perspective, our vendor-agnostic, client maturity-agnostic strategy is the right one. Likewise we believe our primarily direct-to-client delivery model makes the most sense in terms of ensuring maximum value realization. Naturally we are always looking at smart systems plays, partnerships and acquisitions - but it is always with an eye to delivering better to our clients, be they the world's largest enterprise tech companies or new disruptors.

Tags: advertising, advertising data, ecommerce, ecommerce data, internet marketing, TechTarget

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