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Technology Solution Providers Turn Dull Data Into Captivating Imagery With Co-Branded Infographics

Posted January 30th, 2019

Content assets need to be gated in order to generate leads, but not to be valuable. A good example is an infographic, which, simply put, is the visual display of quantitative information (hardly a new concept, as the noted historian Edward Tufte has long observed), usually in the form of 1-page PDF that, in some instances, can seem to stretch on for miles. According to a benchmark study we conducted a few years back, infographics are rarely gated, but, nonetheless, are rated valuable by 92 percent of marketers given their ability to drive website traffic and create brand awareness. According to new research, infographics receive three times more likes and shares on social platforms, on average, compared to other types of content assets, driving increased traffic to a company website or landing page. Let’s face it: Infographics have the power to transform dull data into captivating imagery. As hard as we try to keep our readers on the edges of their seats, we know that reading a 40-page Smart Decision Guide or other eBook or market research report rich in information and data can require a significant amount of time and attention. Turning some of the key takeaways into an infographic streamlines the process and make a lasting impression on the target audience of technology decision makers. At Starfleet Media, we’re often busy producing co-branded infographics that leverage the latest research from Starfleet Research, our IT market research arm, on behalf of our clients. The following is a new example of a co-branded infographic, on restaurant management and POS systems.  Continue reading

Reflections and a Look Ahead

Posted December 28th, 2018

Looking back, as people tend to do this time of year, we are grateful for the opportunities we’ve had this year to expand our reach and influence for the benefit of the customers we serve as well as for our global audience of industry practitioners in need of guidance for making smart technology decisions. We are grateful for the continued loyalty of our clients, many of which have been with us since the beginning, and for the continued collaboration of our ever-expanding partner network. It was truly a banner year for Starfleet Media and Starfleet Research, our IT market research arm, with the addition of more than twenty new clients in the hospitality, retail and healthcare IT sectors, the addition of several high-profile content distribution (and other) partners and expanded relationships with others, including UBM (medical IT), HospitalityNet, 4Hoteliers, Nevistas, (hospitality IT) and Restaurant Activity Report (restaurant IT), the rollout of new types of custom research projects and content deliverables, and the official launch of two new industry publications, Hotel Technology News and Restaurant Technology News, that have fast become leading resources in their respective domains. Which isn’t to say we accomplished all that we set out to accomplish (not by a long shot) or there isn’t a lot of work ahead and room for improvement as we continue to scale our operations and expand the scope of our research coverage areas and content marketing and demand generation capabilities. On the contrary! We look forward to tackling a host of new business challenges in 2019 while finding new ways to better serve our customers.

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Making a Splash with Smart Decision Guides – Case Study: Oracle Corporation

Posted November 30th, 2018

No introductions are needed for Oracle Corporation, which ranks as the third largest software company in the world. We’re proud to count Oracle — in particular, the Oracle Hospitality and Oracle Food & Beverage divisions of the company — as a loyal client partner. Their top-notch marketing professionals excel at utilizing co-branded content assets such as Smart Decision Guides and commissioned eBooks (here is a new one) from Starfleet Research, our IT market research arm, to do what every leading technology solution provider needs to do so as to compete effectively and progressively grow their business: demonstrate thought leadership and educate target prospects (preferably, in an unbiased manner), raise brand visibility and stand out in the crowd, and fill their sales pipelines with qualified leads. The good news is that a solution provider need not have the marketing resources of a multi-billion-dollar software behemoth in order to make a big splash with their licensed version of a Smart Decision Guide. To be sure, many sponsors run marketing campaigns that include paid tactics such as email blasts and banner ads on industry trade publications. That said, some of the most effective tactics, including ones that leverage the company’s own website and social media channels, cost virtually nothing. Here are examples of how this client partner is promoting a new Smart Decision Guide that even a small solution provider can successfully emulate.

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Starfleet Leads the Pack with Co-branded eBooks in the Hospitality Sector

Posted August 17th, 2018

It was a busy summer at Starfleet Media and Starfleet Research, our IT market research arm, in terms of content production and demand generation of co-branded eBooks, with more than a dozen new titles recently (or soon to be) released in partnership with some of the world’s leading technology solution providers. Hospitality IT has long been one of our industry focus areas. It’s no surprise, then, that more than half of the new eBook titles (some of the covers are shown below) explore various aspects of technology-enabled business improvement for hotels and resorts. We are proud to lead the pack of market research firms (and all others) in the production and distribution of commissioned eBooks for this dynamic industry sector. Starfleet Research brings an unmatched “cloak of credibility” in the eyes of hotel operators that invariably results in more leads and higher quality leads. And our market presence in this sector continues to grow with the success of Hotel Technology News, which is fast becoming a leading industry resource. The fact that all of the solution providers previously partnered with us on other co-branded eBooks speaks to the value of these resources for use in content marketing and lead generation activities and the overwhelming demand we continue to receive for new commissioned eBooks.

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Starfleet’s B2B Content Assets Speak Your Language

Posted June 19th, 2018

Given that most of our client partners have a global presence, many of them with offices scattered across various parts of the world, including Europe and Asia, it’s no surprise that we’re often asked to translate our content assets into foreign languages for localized content marketing and lead generation campaigns. We’re happy to comply and are humbled by the fact that, increasingly, our content assets on technology-enabled business improvement in industry sectors that include hospitality, retail and healthcare are becoming recognized as authoritative resources even in non-English speaking markets.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Take the Survey and Learn How B2B Companies Have Evolved their Content Marketing Capabilities

Posted December 11th, 2016

We’re going  all out for the next edition of our benchmark report on B2B content marketing and lead generation, expanding the scope of the survey questions and nearly doubling the sample size of the qualified participants. To liven things up, we’re also revamping the design and populating the pages with an animated cast of characters.

Set to publish in April, The 2017 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation will offer fresh insights into how B2B companies have evolved their content marketing and lead generation capabilities over the previous year. It will also uncover their plans for the future, including specific business outcomes they aim to achieve in terms of key performance metrics. Click here to take the survey that serves as the basis for the research.

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Gated Content: A Stern Warning from a Medieval Guard

Posted September 17th, 2016

At Starfleet Media, we’re generally in the business of licensing high-value content assets, including Smart Decision Guides, co-branded eBooks and Benchmark Reports from Starfleet Research (our IT market research arm), to other B2B companies, and not the other way around. But when we came across a recent post from Tom Fishburne, a “career marketer and cartoonist,” that highlighted some of our market research on content marketing and lead generation along with his cartoon depicting an encounter between a modern-day decision maker and a medieval guard, we decided that it was our turn to acquire licensing rights to a content asset.

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Seven Tactics for Leveraging the Licensed Version of a Smart Decision Guide

Posted June 23rd, 2016

A large part of the value of the Smart Decision Guide program is the guaranteed-number-of-qualified-leads component. Because the leads are typically generated through inbound marketing tactics and carefully scrubbed (based on buying intention info and other target prospect criteria), they tend to have much higher-than-average conversion rates. Another large part of the value of the program is the licensed version of the Smart Decision Guide, 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.

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More Solution Providers Are Licensing Benchmark Reports (Including Ones from Starfleet Research)

Posted May 26th, 2016

It’s no secret that benchmark reports published by leading IT market research firms like Starfleet Research may be the most effective type of content asset a technology solution provider can put to work in their incessant quest to demonstrate thought leadership, raise brand visibility and generate qualified leads. According to preliminary research findings captured for The 2016 Benchmark Report on B2B Content Marketing and Lead Generation, benchmark report content licensing for lead generation purposes increased by 15 percent over the past 12 months.

Fact-based reports from research firms that are experts in their fields can provide a “cloak of credibility” that cannot be obtained from vendor-produced and -branded content assets, which prospects often perceive as little more than marketing collateral masquerading as thought leadership. For many solution providers, the decision of whether or not to license a report may depend on: 1.) whether the report profiles their company and solution in a favorable light; and/or 2.) whether the report aligns sufficiently well with their key go-to-market messages, platform capabilities and how they wish to educate the marketplace.

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