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Peer Learning Sheds Light on Paths to Tech Engagement

By IDG Enterprise Marketing· Oct 14, 2015

Peer sharing and conversations were flowing at the fourth IDG Enterprise Engage event in Austin, TX last week. At each IDG Enterprise Engage event, top tech marketers, industry leaders and IDG Enterprise experts gather to discuss the technology landscape, learn first-hand from CIOs and dig into what strategies marketing peers are successfully executing and the challenges they are facing. We want to give a big thank you to our marketing and tech-exec panelists at the Austin event. They were all incredibly generous in sharing their perspective and insights which are recapped here.

The Tech Buyer
Adam Dennison, SVP/Publisher at IDG Enterprise kicked off the day with a presentation of highlights from the 2015 Role & Influence of the Technology Decision-Maker research, followed by John Gallant, Chief Content Officer, IDG Enterprise and his CIO panel. While their conversation was of necessity off the record to ensure comfort and candor, Joe Iannello, CIO with Capital Metro, John Mason, CIO with Hill Country Memorial Hospital and Mark Stone, CIO with Texas A&M University System overwhelmingly agreed that security is keeping them up at night, but their focuses for the coming year vary. From streamlining processes for standardization, to wifi, mobile and apps, these CIOs are adjusting for modern, digital organizations. And as far as how tech marketers should engage with them? Here again there was a clear consensus – they value peer recommendations above all else. And where do they go for these peer insights? They use their existing networks – established by geography and vertical segments – and attend industry events to reach outside those established networks. So the challenge here for marketers is to make customers into peer advocates, and insert them into the networking environments tech decision-makers are engaging in.

Peer Perspective
A lively bunch, the tech marketer panel shared some deep insights and memorable soundbites. Frances Fortanely, Director of Marketing, vCloud Air Solutions, VMware; Brandon Friesen, President of Just Media; and Jessica Taylor, CxO Experience Marketing Strategist, Dell Services quickly dispelled the notion that the buyers journey is a linear process and agreed that while the sales funnel is a great concept, it is not a clear reality. Brandon explained that his team views it more as the sales “funnel cake,” where the buying journey can start and turn in multiple different directions. Why make it easy for tech marketers? Frances relies on data to aid her decision-making and works closely with her marketing analytics team to pinpoint where tech decision-makers are in the purchase process. As digital disruption continues, there are new roles and additional players influencing the purchase process—developers, chief innovation officers, chief digital officers—joining traditional leaders, like the CIO.

As attendee questions weaved into the conversation, the theme of content came to the forefront. Jessica mentioned her focus on making sure she has content where buyers are looking for it, and shared that events are a great conversation starting point. In fact, a majority of contacts from those events choose to stay engaged with Dell. Brandon warned, and the other panelists agreed, that RAM (Random Acts of Marketing) is a very real and present danger without a clear and documented content and marketing strategy.

What are your tech marketing insights? What questions do you have? Until the next event, join the conversation at #IDGEngage.

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