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September 06, 2006

The New Direct Marketing - Structured Online Sales Pitching

An IT research revolution is upon us and it's a burden to both buyer and seller. IT buyers are seeking a more structured research process. And IT sellers must quickly adapt their online strategies [i.e. 'sales pitches'] to accelerate their selling cycles.

IT management is increasingly overworked, under staffed and under resourced. As buyers, they face, [1] the pressure to vet each purchase decision, [2] an increasingly unstructured network of information sources, and [3] a sense of information overload. The Web has provided a wonderful tool to facilitate research during the IT buying process. But, a senior IT executive at a Fortune 50 company recently summed up his new research challenge, "The Internet has opened up an enormous set of information options, but I don't run a research group, I run an IT group. The abundance of research is paralyzing our decision-making process."

Sellers are likewise challenged. Tom Rousseau, my Ziff Davis colleague who spends his days as marketing and media counsel to some of the world's most successful technology firms, sums up the current dilemma facing IT sellers, "We are a nation founded by lawyers - so we require evidence and data before making a buying decision. But we are also a nation of 'clickers' that seek instant gratification. Today's marketing solutions must appeal to both constituencies."

Today I announced a watershed marketing program that I call Branded Landing Zones. The program powers a new online direct marketing strategy that is designed to serve the most complex enterprise technology sales processes - where a comprehensive educational and information exchange is required by both buyer and seller to facilitate the transaction.

I have much more to share with you about Branded Landing Zones, structured sales pitching online and about the future of direct marketing as its being re-shaped by the Internet. So please stay tuned to my blog. Until then - Scot Brinker's September 5 article - Stuck in Traffic? Search Mode vs. Pitch Mode in Web Marketing - is prerequisite reading.


Building Credibility, Boosting Leads with White Papers

White papers that provide clear, concise and accurate information about enterprise technology products and services are tops in the leading sources of information that technology decision makers use to make purchases. When written well, white papers provide important benefits in educating your prospects and building a business case for your solutions. When disseminated to the right people, they are valuable tools to generate highly qualified [and educated] prospects. In addition, white papers provide real business benefits by reinforcing your company’s credibility and demonstrating your role as a thought leader within your market segment.

White papers serve to build mindshare for your brand and your product. To make a positive impact, white papers must be up-to-date, relevant and compelling. Avoid an overly wordy and academic writing style for your white paper. Instead of using industry lingo, select language that all readers will understand. Also, review your competitor's white papers before writing yours - so the position you choose gives you a competitive advantage.

Writing the white paper is only the first step. Getting key prospects to read it after its written is critical to meeting your business communication objectives.

There are several easy ways to disseminate your white papers to the right audience:

• E-Newsletters – Promote your white papers in your own e-newsletter or buy sponsorships in media that allow you to reach your target market

• Directories - Syndicate your white papers to technology directories and white paper libraries where you will find a robust network of highly respected web sites that are trafficked by technology buyers

• Lead Generation Programs – Subscribe to lead generation programs that allow you to use your white papers as the ‘trojan horse’ to qualify your prospects who are interested to learn about your solutions.

• Press Releases - Issue a press release about each white paper.

• SEO/SEM – Post the white paper to you web site and use the key words from your white papers to promote them through your SEM.