Smart Decision Guides Get a Makeover
Posted January 4th, 2018
Starfleet Media is starting the New Year with a fresh look for our core content assets, including our ever-popular Smart Decisions Guides. These resources have undergone only minor changes in design over the past five years. Feedback on the new design treatment has been overwhelmingly positive. The new templates will be utilized starting next month with the release of The 2018 Smart Decision Guide to Hospitality Revenue Management. The landing pages for our content assets have also been redesigned. In addition, we’ve raised the bar on our co-branded eBooks, including several new hospitality-related titles publishing this month. Cutting-edge and even futuristic graphic design work on the part of our visual communications team makes our high-value content all the more compelling and engaging.
Best Practices for Leveraging the Licensed Version of a Smart Decision Guide
Posted December 14th, 2017
As we’ve often noted, as as we hear repeatedly from our clients, a large part of the value of the Smart Decision Guide program is the PDF licensed version with the underwriter’s logo only on the cover and company profile page only in the appendix. The benefits of this valuable content asset can’t be overstated. Yet not all participating solution providers take full advantage of it. Some solution providers showcase their licensed version on their homepages and in their blogs and resource libraries. They distribute copies at industry trade shows. They email it as an attachment to prospects. And they use it as the basis for any number of other content marketing activities, including email blasts and third-party syndication, resulting in dozens or hundreds of additional leads for their sales pipeline. We are always pleased to see solution providers maximizing their investments in the Smart Decision Guide program by putting their licensed versions of the content asset to good use.
90% of Starfleet Media Readers Rate Smart Decision Guides as Either “Valuable” or “Extremely Valuable”
Posted October 13th, 2017
According to our 2017 Reader Survey which this year consisted of 326 respondents, 90% of industry practitioners who downloaded one or more Smart Decision Guide titles within the past 6 months rated the resource(s) as either “valuable” or “extremely valuable” in the context of their current research and buying decision needs. The titles included topics relevant to several different industry audiences, including hoteliers, restaurant operators and medical IT decision makers. More than one-third (34%) of respondents rated the content as “extremely valuable.”
New Resources, Including Smart Decision Guides, Inform Hospitality IT Decision Makers
Posted September 15th, 2017
With the recent launch of Hotel Technology News and Restaurant Technology News, Starfleet Media continues to expand its footprint in the hospitality IT sector. Reception to the new trade publications has been very positive, with new subscriber signups exceeding expectations. Awareness has been largely driven by organic search and well as through our industry partners. Meanwhile, we have released several co-branded eBooks on hospitality technology, and The 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Property Management Systems was also released last month. The 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Restaurant Management and POS Systems is scheduled for release next month. Both Smart Decision Guides have been completely revised and expanded from previous editions to reflect the latest market trends, guest behaviors and technological innovations.
Starfleet Media Announces “Soft Launch” of New Industry-Specific Resources
Posted August 30th, 2017
Some people call them ezines or just zines. Some people call them online or digital publications. Some old timers still refer to them as magazines. In any case, we’re pleased to announce the “soft launch” of two industry-specific resources in two of our primary IT market research coverage areas: namely, hotels and restaurants. Aptly titled Hotel Technology News and Restaurant Technology News, these new resources will serve as premier sources of information and insights related to technology innovation at the world’s leading hotels and restaurants, respectively. Our reporting, research and opinion pieces will reveal how forward-thinking hoteliers and restaurateurs are upgrading their technology capabilities to improve operational performance and the quality of the guest experience, and how top solution providers are advancing the frontier on next-generation hospitality technologies. The resources, which will benefit both solution providers and industry practitioners and also serve to broaden our sphere of influence as well as our content marketing and lead generation capabilities in the hospitality sector, will officially launch next month. “Weekly Dispatch” email newsletters will be distributed to subscribers (including the many thousands already in our database) on an opt-in basis.
Starfleet Media Completes Another Custom Research Project… But We Can’t Talk About It
Posted July 19th, 2017
Today we delivered a large PowerPoint deck to a major technology solution provider in the retail industry detailing everything they wanted to know about a certain topic based on exhaustive primary (including two different surveys involving over a thousand qualified respondents) and secondary research. Unfortunately, that’s all we can tell you. And that’s the downside of doing commissioned research of a confidential and proprietary nature. Hundreds of hours of work and nobody gets to see it, except, of course, the client. We sign NDAs, typically, and we’re sworn to secrecy. This must be what it feels like to work for the CIA or the FBI. We have completed almost a dozen commissioned research projects over the past year, for companies on both the solution provider and industry practitioner sides of the fence, from venture-backed startups to multi-billion dollar publicly traded corporations, in industries that include retail, hospitality (restaurants and hotels) and healthcare IT. Some of the deliverables have been used to make company acquisition decisions (as in the case of a restaurant solution), some of the deliverables have been used to guide product development roadmaps, customer targeting and marketing strategy, and brand repositioning.
Capturing Purchase Intention: The “If”s and “When”s of B2B Lead Gen
Posted June 23rd, 2017
The dictionary definition of intention is: “An act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.” In the context of B2B lead generation, we talk about intention in terms of whether – and when – a decision maker or influencer plans to purchase a specific type of technology solution. Granted, it’s hard to read people’s minds. The best we can do is ask them about their role and responsibility in the decision-making process and also their plans for making the decision as far as timeframe. In the next 6 months? In the next 6-12 months? We do this in the last field of the lead capture form they are required to complete in exchange for gaining access to the desired content asset — e.g., a Smart Decision Guide. Do people answer honestly? In our experience, the answer, in most cases, is a resounding “yes.”
Content Marketing Assets: Bits and Atoms
Posted May 20th, 2017
The Starfleet team is heads down developing new commissioned eBooks on a range of topics, from next-generation electronic health records to advanced retail management technologies. Many of these content assets will be used for distribution at upcoming industry conferences. Solution providers will ship hard copies for use as handouts at their exhibitor booths. One such conference is HITEC, the world’s largest hospitality technology event, which takes place next month in Toronto. While we won’t be physically attending this year, our market research will have a physical presence. That’s because seven of our clients, including some of the largest solution providers in the hotels and resorts technology space, have commissioned new content assets in support of their marketing and sales activities at the conference. In this age of digital content assets, web-based content distribution and online lead generation, printed materials displayed in racks or stacked on tables in vendor exhibition halls continue to play an important role in helping companies raise brand visibility, demonstrate thought leadership and generate qualified leads. Indeed, when it comes to B2B content marketing, print is still alive and well.
Content Marketing Tactics: Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery
Posted April 2nd, 2017
Sometimes, as they say, the pioneers are the ones with arrows in the back. Astute B2B marketers recognize that improving the outcomes of their content marketing campaigns means learning from others – preferably, from other companies operating in the same competitive arena. Marketers need to understand what works and what doesn’t in terms of tactics, tools, channels and content assets.
It only makes sense, therefore, to closely observe and emulate the practices of top-performing companies. In fact, according to preliminary research for The 2017 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation, which publishes next month, 72% of B2B content marketers indicate that they spend time benchmarking best practices in content marketing and lead generation. This helps them mitigate failure and replicate success stories in the context of their own content marketing activities.
Fewer Than One-Third of B2B Companies Use Social Data to Improve Content Marketing
Posted March 2nd, 2017
According to preliminary research findings for The 2017 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation, 0nly 30% of survey respondents report that their companies use social data (monitoring online conversation in social networks) to try to improve content marketing activities — e.g., by identifying more relevant topics and/or audiences. And only 24% say that their social listening efforts have been “somewhat successful” or “very successful.” More than half (56%) indicate that social data is not currently being used at their companies for content marketing purposes.
With New Benchmark Reports, Starfleet Media Broadens Its Scope
Posted February 15th, 2017
By consistently delivering high quality content and qualified leads through our Smart Decision Guide titles, Starfleet Media has earned a reputation as the leading provider of content marketing programs for leading solution providers in selected niche markets. These markets have been vertical in nature – namely, hospitality, retail and healthcare. But with the publication this month of The 2017 Benchmark Report on Application Performance Management, along with several other recent benchmark report titles, we’re continuing to expand our research coverage to include topics that are horizontal, or cross-industry. Without exception, these topics speak to emerging business trends and rapidly-evolving technology capabilities that are of paramount importance. Application Performance Management, which is pertinent to every application development and operations team as well as every database system administrator charged with maintaining the uptime of both internal and external IT systems in their organizations, regardless of industry, is a perfect example.
New Smart Decision Guide Added to 2017 Hospitality Sector Lineup
Posted January 6th, 2017
Starfleet Research, our IT market research arm, has announced the expansion of its series of Smart Decision Guides for decision makers in the hospitality sector with the upcoming release of a new title, on best practices in hotel guest experience management. The existing library of Smart Decision Guides for the hospitality sector focuses on such topics as hotel property management systems, hospitality revenue management and restaurant management and POS systems. These popular titles are revised and updated on an annual basis. The 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Guest Experience Management will publish next month, with underwriting support from the following industry leaders: Agilysys, ALICE, Amadeus, Infor and Sabre Hospitality.