The Nurturing of Portals

Brad O'Neill - January 25, 2010

We’re seeing a lot of TechValidate customers using us now in the context of their lead nurturing programs. The typical usage case is to leverage their TechValidate content to create targeted offers for various prospect segments within their customer base (e.g., industry verticals, geographies, usage cases)

How are they doing it? Our latest extension of capabilities, Research Portals, are providing our users a turnkey way to generate those offers, on-the-fly. As you’d expect anytime you introduce a new technology into the wild, we’ve been learning a ton in the process of working with our customers who’ve been using Portals to create customized content offers for their prospects. If you work with us, you know we’re never stingy with what we learn in the field, so here are the top three insights that are fresh from a concall that we did today with one of our customers:

  1. Target, Target, Target. We’re seeing that the more specific our TechValidate users make the offers on their research portals, the better they are performing. The more industry-specific or usage-case specific the content that is streamed to that page, the more compelling the offering to the prospective customer who visits. Seems obvious, but the positive relationship between specificity and interaction is very high. This “mirror effect” is to be expected: We all want to see people who reflect us as closely as possible when we’re making a high consideration purchase.
  2. Multiple Pages, Same Mission. Because we don’t penalize our users for making as many Portal pages as they want, the emerging best practice we’re recommending is to generate multiple pages to support a given nurturing campaign. For example, a single outbound program focused on the health care industry might utilize 3 Portal pages: One focused on health care economics, another on key usage cases, and a third on purchasing criteria. This allows several good things to happen: The sales enablement team can conduct quick penalty-free A/B testing on different pages to see which attracts more interest, but it also provides useful contextual hooks for subsequent drips (e.g., a response to an economics and ROI themed Research Portal could trigger a follow-up of a research white paper on ROI issues or a link to an insightful blog post on that topic.)
  3. Mix It Up. Multiple forms of customer evidence in combination on a single Portal page seem to be working best for our customers: Mix up statistical or quantified data sets and charts with anecdotal information. Customers spend more time on pages where there is a variance and variety of data types available to peruse. To achieve this, it means that TechValidate users should make sure to ask appropriate questions types during their project outreach phase so that rich Portal pages can be created (testimonials, charts, statistics, statements.) A really good example that is running live right now is this portal page from F5 Networks addressing the education industry. Note how they’ve picked and assembled myriad data type streams from their repository (it will all be changing in realtime as new data streams come in from customers, obviously.)

This is entirely new territory that we’re covering here with Portals and we’re just getting started. This year is going to be even more mindblowing in where we take this… We feel strongly that the Portals capability really showcases the power that content automation can bring to a marketing team when you not only have the right customer data, but can project it into the world in the right way, at the right time, to the right audience.

Brad O'Neill

Brad O'Neill is President and Co-Founder of TechValidate. He brings over 15 years of experience in both enterprise and web consumer technologies to the leadership of TechValidate.

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