The Long-Tail Model: Reaching Enterprise Tech Buyers By Email

Of all of the possible B2B targets, few are harder to reach than enterprise technology sellers. It’s an industry that becomes more specialized by the day. So how do you reach them?

By providing tailored editorial content, watching what they consume, and emailing them with appropriate messages. That’s the business of TechTarget, a public company that hit $110 million in revenue last year —  a 5% increase over the prior year. However, $49 million of this total was dedicated to data solutions — a 58% hike year-over-year.

To get a handle on this market, MediaPost spoke with TechTarget's John Steinert.

MediaPost: Please explain your business model. 

John Steinert:  We started in 1999 as a long-tail media company, basically selling internet advertising. But we have pivoted — we repositioned the company as a data and marketing services company. Marketers and salespeople have a big challenge of finding the right people to target. Everyone has limited funds. TechTarget provides 18 million registered users with key information to make decisions about enterprise technology. 



MP:  What are the main challenges in this market?

Steinert:  The industry keeps getting more specialized — there are new categories within the super-category. So there are lots of very narrow, highly specialized segments. This makes it different from standard broadcast media models. We have a long-tail model that serves the information needs of very specific segments. 

MP:  What kind of data do you offer?

Steinert:  Purchase intent data. There are two methodologies to purchase intent. One is broad and shallow — you look over the internet to find data that is publicly available, and link that firmographic data with behaviors that could indicate a purchase in the tech space. Maybe they hired somebody with special expertise, or are looking to hire with expertise — it could mean they're going to ramp up in that area. Or say they need administrators. That means they either just bought Salesforce or are looking to buy it or to add on to Salesforce. 

MP:  That sounds like it might work.

Steinert:  Instead of scraping a few incidental pieces of information and using it with demographic data, we’re able to watch a buyer’s journey in action. We create 75,000 pieces of original content a year, and the vendors create content too. People use this editorial in two ways — to keep themselves educated, and to make buying decisions. We focus intently on the entire decision process, from continuous learning to making a transaction. The editorial is built to support the buyer’s journey.

MP: What form does this data take?

Steinert: Marketing folks use data in large batches, and sales folks use it in small batches. We send data to clients through the system every week. It’s not like a compiled list business. You might have a list of 1,000 companies. Salespeople are only interested in those assigned to them — maybe 100 or even ten companies.

MP:  Can you use this data to cross-sell?

Steinert:  It’s a little like the consumer model: When you see purchases of diapers after 7 p.m. at night at the supermarket, the No. 1 thing that goes with them is a six-pack of beer. In technology, you might see a cross-sell opportunity for related technology. If they are involved in internet telephony, they may also be interested in a storage solution.

MP: Do you have specific data products? 

Steinert:  We have a product for marketing or salespeople or telephone-based salespeople: Priority Engine. It’s available through a portal. It allows tech vendors to reach target audiences based on the insights available created by studying the behavior of our readers.

The second kind of data is an enhancement on that — they use data to identify deals in action: We research the deal before it happens, to identify what is going to happen and all the purchase drivers involved in it. That’s sold on a report basis. The third output is syndicated research — we look at a specific market segment and analyze the trajectory of the market.

MP: Where does email come in?

Steinert:  With email, there are two types of clients. Some clients buy the data and execute email to engage with the active buyers on their own. If they want help doing that, if they’re not comfortable with the performance of their internal technology stack, we will execute for them — email campaigns, advertising, and everything in between.

MP:  What about GDPR?

Steinert:  All our data is permission-based.



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