Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Print Still Proving To Be Viable Pipeline Producer for B2B Marketers

By Andrew Gaffney, Editor

Given the digital transformation taking place in media, it is understandable that most marketers are shifting a larger portion of their budgets and emphasis to interactive mediums. However, some marketers are finding print pieces can still be an effective component of an integrated demand generation campaign, particularly when Personalized URLs (PURLs) are attached to drive prospects back to the online environment.

A strong example of integrating print efforts into demand generation is NetQoS, one of the fastest growing network performance management products and service providers. In addition to a mix of white papers, web seminars, case studies, podcasts and demos, the company’s marketing team has been feeding the sales pipeline with leads generated from a custom industry magazine, as well as a stream of print postcards.

“As marketers, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking only new media, but we have found that people are still interested in viable, relevant content in print,” says Pam O’Neal Mickelson, Senior Director of Marketing Communications for NetQoS. That interest in print messaging has translated to real pipeline results, as Mickelson says the print campaigns have generated over $2 million in opportunities for the company.

NetQoS chose to launch its custom publication, Performance Edge Journal, after one of its larger partners decided to fold its magazine and left a void for educational content on networking issues. Published 2x per year, the publication serves as an image builder for the company and also drives readers back to NetQoS’ website to view demos or see special offers. “The magazine is sent with a cover letter inviting readers to visit the site for a special presentation, this allows us to see how many meetings are set as a result of the publication,” Mickelson says.

In addition to the publication, Mickelson says the company has recently begun to test direct mail pieces, utilizing the PrintMail application in the Eloqua Conversion Suite to quickly create, send and track the response to special offers. “Every single mail piece we produce links back to a microsite so we can gauge the response and then use that engagement to send that prospect some more information that moves them to the next phase of the sales funnel.”Mickelson adds that direct mail has served as a valuable sales nurturing tool to reach executives that are not responding to other lead generation vehicles, such as email or telemarketing.

The Eloqua PrintMail application allows marketers to edit text and graphics through a web-based interface. Since PrintMail is integrated with the campaign functions of the company’s Conversion Suite, it also allows marketers to add personal information from active profiles and also include fields for PURLs or other activity-driven content rules.

"Eloqua PrintMail is becoming a popular application with our customers as marketers see solid results from direct mail, especially in multi-channel campaigns,” says Thor Johnson, SVP of Marketing at Eloqua. “It’s as easy as email. With variable content and a personalized URL on every direct mail piece, we track each prospect’s response so marketers can score these leads, act on them and prioritize for sales."