Tag Archives: b2b tech

Where is the Yelp for B2B Tech? Gartner Chimes In…

We now live in a world where four billion people – more than half the global population – are connected to the internet, and one of the most intriguing outcomes of this widespread connectivity has been the advent of crowdsourcing. Since you’re one of those four billion people, you’re probably familiar with crowdsourcing, the practice of enlisting the services of a large number of people (typically via the internet) to achieve a common goal. In fact, if you’ve ever contributed to a Wikipedia article or published a Yelp review – or even just answered a question on Quora – you’ve participated in crowdsourcing. It’s a powerful form of collaboration that relies on the “wisdom of the crowd.”

As with most technology advancements, crowdsourcing made its most immediate impact with consumer-facing services (Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.), which helped everyday people decide where to spend their money on products and services they regularly use. And there is now an increasing appetite in the business sector to draw on the wisdom of the crowd for the same effect. Why? The foundational technologies that help a B2B company run – such as servers and storage appliances – can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars each, so making the wrong purchase can be costly. This is also true of services in which B2B companies make significant investments, including ongoing subscriptions with leading analyst firms (Gartner, IDC, Forrester, etc.) – which can cost upwards of $60,000 each.

If it’s clear that businesses seek a crowdsourced resource for the comparison of B2B products and services, even for complex, high-cost purchase decisions, what are their options? In parts two and three of this blog post series, we’ll examine the most popular options that are currently available, as well as the lesser-known sites that are emerging. In this post, we’ll take a look at the site that has generated the most amount of buzz in this relatively nascent space (and this buzz isn’t surprising, based on the site’s namesake): Gartner Peer Insights.

Launched in 2015, Gartner Peer Insights, whose tagline is “Choose IT Solutions with Confidence,” presents itself as a site featuring “reviews from your enterprise peers – verified by Gartner.” Its goal is to offer detailed perspectives for every phase of the IT lifecycle, from evaluation and implementation to service and support. That’s ambitious, but one of the biggest advantages Gartner Peer Insights has is something that all crowdsourced projects aim to leverage: tons of contributors. If the true value of crowdsourcing lies in the collective wisdom of the crowd, doesn’t it stand to reason that for accuracy’s sake, you want as large of a crowd as possible? If so, Gartner Peer Insights has that box checked, boasting more than 85,000 reviews of enterprise software across almost 300 product categories.

In addition to volume, the other main advantage Gartner Peer Insights has over competing sites is the trust and credibility associated with the Gartner brand. You’d be hard-pressed to find an IT professional who doesn’t pay attention to where their organization stacks up in its respective Gartner Magic Quadrant. In fact, Gartner is almost too influential: there’s a reason that, when a startup is looking to get its marketing strategy off the ground, one of the first questions it tends to ask is “does a Gartner subscription make sense for us?” Whether it does make sense is a question for another blog post – so watch this space for that…

While the cynic might claim that Gartner Peer Insights is simply a “feeder service” whose real aim is to turn its users into paying Gartner customers – and/or that the crowd are all carefully picked positive customers put forward by its client base – the site is without question one of the best options currently out there for crowdsourced evaluations of B2B tech products and services. In our next blog post in this series, we’ll examine some of the other most popular comparison sites currently available, so you can better understand what each has to offer to maximize your organization’s product and service investments. Until then, may the wisdom of the crowd be your guide!

By Drew Smith

Looking for more B2B marketing content? Check in with us here again soon. If you are looking for more great content from our team, make sure to peruse our other blogs here and sign up to our newsletter to get content straight to your email as soon as it’s posted!

ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES: B2B Tech Shows Us the Future, Now

Sometimes Jumping In At The Deep End Makes You Love Swimming

My first day at 10Fold was a whirlwind of acronyms, complicated jargon, and general confusion. I heard the term edge computing for the first time ever, I sat in on a meeting where at least fifty percent of the words made no sense, and I learned that the cloud is far less fluffy than I assumed. I vividly remember thinking, “what have I gotten myself into?”

I grew up with the technological revolution; if Google were a person, it would have been in my grade in school. I scarcely remember a world before CDs were the norm, and can hardly believe that people used to go everywhere without a cell phone (because they hadn’t been invented yet) and were not only functional but content with being unreachable. Technological paradigm shifts were as much a part of my childhood as Harry Potter or making mud pies, and for that reason, the next one has always been an exciting prospect for me. Dramatic change was not only a possibility but a probability.

We are advancing more rapidly than at any other point in human history. When you consider this reality, the possibilities are endless. Click To Tweet

Having grown up in this world of tech, I went into this summer feeling as though I knew all there was to know about it. I knew what the cloud was, I knew that robots existed and that they were useful sometimes, and I knew that computers can communicate with each other. Turns out, despite technology having been there every step of the way for me, there was A LOT I had to learn.

Instead of choosing to be discouraged by everything I needed to learn, I began immersing myself in the less-publicized side of technology. Now, two months into my internship, I am more fascinated by deep, complex tech concepts than ever. I find it incredibly exciting that the future innovations that we will someday come to rely on have their foundations within the kinds of clients that 10Fold works with.

Imagine a future in which every drop of water used in agriculture is accounted for, and leaks are a thing of the past; where a smart hospital not only knows that you’re sick before you do, but how to cure you; where cars can talk to each other to not only prevent collisions but also minimize or even eliminate traffic. All of these things sound futuristic, and they are, but the coolest part about living today is that by using concepts such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things, they will all likely be possible in our lifetimes.

We are advancing more rapidly than at any other point in human history. When you consider this reality, the possibilities are endless. If someone had told my parents on the day I was born that, by the time I was in college, you could buy a pocket-sized device that can access the entirety of human knowledge, or store billions of gigabytes in the cloud, they probably would have looked at you funny. Today, not only are these technologies real, but we use them every day, and anyone can upload to the cloud; because virtually everyone has some form of internet-accessible cell phone.

Who’s to say that Back to the Future was wrong about what’s to come?

10Fold, in the multi-office format we exist in today, would have been impossible to operate only a short time ago. It’s very likely that your job would have been too. The ritualized, technology-reliant tasks we do every day would be unbelievable and fascinating to someone even only fifty years ago.

The initial pain of wading through a dictionary of terms I was totally unfamiliar with has ultimately been extremely worth it. Now, I don’t only feel more educated on the future of tech, but genuinely excited for what’s to come.

Yes, change can be scary. However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t simultaneously incredibly exciting. Based on how far we have come in my lifetime alone, I am certain that in another twenty years, even more now-inconceivable technology will have become everyday and life-changing. There’s no reason for the exponential growth of advancement to slow, let alone stop. If you can dream it, you can do it.

By Chelsey Crowne  

3 Ways to Maximize Your Tradeshow Spend

Brands can spend big money on trade shows between attending and sponsoring. Depending on the show, it can be as little as $5K or up to $250K, and that money is typically spent coordinating travel, accommodations, the booth (don’t forget the $1K Wi-Fi, too!) and giveaways. No doubt, trade shows are a great opportunity for building relationships with prospects, learning from industry leaders, checking out competitors and building brand visibility. But, you haven’t even arrived yet, and already, the pressure is on to get a return on your investment. So how do you avoid a boondoggle and make the most of your trade show spend?

Brands can spend big money on trade shows between attending and sponsoring. Leverage that value! Click To Tweet

Advance Prep—Leverage Your PR Team
After you’ve booked your show, it’s time to dive into preparations and build a tailored game plan. Leveraging your PR team is critical, especially if you’re launching a product or service at the show or nominating for the event’s award program. Many brands will leverage a leading industry event for a launch to capitalize on captive media covering industry news and trends coming out of a show. Your PR team will help you lead in press release development, messaging and launch coordination.

Many shows also promote themselves through an official event app or social media handles, which you can harness to your brand’s advantage. If your trade show offers an app, leverage it to engage with attendees before they even hit the show floor. If the event has a social presence, utilize it. You can begin engaging in the run up to the event through official event hashtags, and notifying your followers of your presence, demos, special giveaways, booth location, meeting times and other show news.

Also, awards programs connected to the event are another great way to increase visibility among attendees who may get to vote for best in show, or are privy to additional visibility and product/service messaging by finalists and winners—which could be yours, if you nominate!

Speak up—Thinking About Thought Leadership
If you didn’t submit during the show’s open call for speakers months ago, be sure to pursue thought leadership opportunities that are offered as part of sponsorship packages. Typically, this varies depending on sponsorship level –it could include panel participation or a headlining stage spot. This is an opportunity that you don’t want to leave on the table! Stage presence by executives is critical for every brand, as it gives an opportunity to display leadership on an issue, trend or problem and give actionable expert insight. Your brand can further amplify this tactic by inviting a customer or partner for a joint speaking opportunity, which audiences love as they get to hear real-world case studies and learn best practices.

Should your executive command the podium at the event, be sure to capture it with video footage, if the show organizers allow. This recording can be used for social media postings and other various post-event marketing and communications initiatives, such as on your company’s blog or YouTube channel. If it involves a customer co-speaker, it could be repurposed into a customer video case study, too.

Be Social—Media Meet and Greets
Beyond customer prospects, media and analysts also attend trade shows—and they want to hear from you. Leverage your PR team to pitch and secure briefings for attending executives. In-person briefings are great ways to build and or strengthen relationships, and one-on-one face time is important. Do not be discouraged when media want to keep their show schedules “loose,” which can happen at larger shows. While media and analysts may try to control their show schedules, don’t be deterred by those who prefer more “organic” meetings not dictated by a clock. Be ready to greet them at your booth when they stop by unscheduled. Walk the halls and seek them out for conversation. Approach them at the press luncheon or opening night happy hour. And don’t forget other social promotions of your brand at the show. Posts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn prior to and during the show can drive booth traffic, brand visibility and attendees to an industry panel that your CEO is participating in.

As you’re making your list of what you want to accomplish at the show, it can quickly grow beyond the important tactics outlined above. And that’s OK—trade shows offer the unique combo of out-of-the-office learning, networking and socializing. It’s critical to be prepared to maximize these opportunities and stick to a comprehensive strategy.

As the trade show winds down, it’s important to not let the momentum wane. There can still be just as much to do post-event as there is pre-event. Your brand may want to consider issuing a post-event multi-media press release or a blog that shares insights and takeaways from the event. And don’t forget the post-mortem—a tactic that communications teams like to hold post-event to capture and address resulting action items and key learnings, which can be applied for the next show—as soon as your feet recover!

By Alison Flood

Looking for more great insights? Subscribe to our blog feed here!

Securing a Speaking Slot: Five Things You Should Know

All clients want their 15 minutes in the spotlight. Often it comes in the form of an article or a press interview, but it can also come in the form of speaking engagements. However, it’s is often up to us PR practitioners to make that on-stage opportunity happen. While it’s not always easy, it is possible to see regular success in a speaking program. Here are five points to keep top of mind for your event speaking strategy.

Know the audience
There are countless events, covering even more topics. Meaning there is a lot of noise in the events market. As you’re digging into specific events, do your due diligence in understanding who the event targets. One of the worst things you can do for a client is put a CEO on stage at an event where the audience is nowhere near their core customer base. You then have a client that invested a lot of time, and often money, into a presentation that has no benefit for their business.

Understanding how your client best shares their story is key to knowing how to position them in the nomination process. Click To Tweet

Ask yourself these questions when deciding on which conferences to present at:
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Are potential customers attending?
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Does the audience include appropriate decision makers?
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Is there an opportunity to meet with relevant media and analysts at the show?

Also, make sure the topic you’re nominating will resonate with the event audience. Clients can even use their customers as a focus group for this, by asking what pain points they’d like to see covered for specific topics.

Know your presenter’s strengths
Understanding how your client best shares their story is key to knowing how to position them in the nomination process. This will help you to categorize their presentation appropriately. If the presenter does not easily speak to a large room, a round table or breakout session would be a better option for them. Keeping personality traits in mind will make sure your presenter is comfortable in the environment they’re presenting in.

And, although it should go without saying (but we’ll say it anyway), make sure the presenter’s title and the opportunity and topic are appropriately aligned. For instance, you wouldn’t want to put a CMO on a panel discussing engineering best practices, nor would you want to put an engineer in a keynote session discussing business impact, or in general pitch a CEO on a round-table with a number of mid-level executives.

Know what topics the event is looking to include
As you’re in the planning stages of the nomination, try calling the organizers to get a copy of the preliminary agenda. Additionally, while you’re on the phone with them, find out what topics and industry trends the event is focusing on and if nothing seems like a perfect fit, test to see how open they are to additional ideas. This will help you craft a targeted nomination, as well as potentially gain your client access to an event they really hope to address. You might even pique their interest during the call and secure a speaking slot right then and there. (Trust me. It’s possible.)

Also, use this opportunity to learn their recommendations to make your nomination stand out. They might suggest including a video of a previous presentation or a ranking of the proposed speaker’s social and industry influence. In recent years, we’ve seen videos become a bigger part of speaking submissions and have assisted a number of clients with developing videos and producing submissions through our award-winning Pro-Motion Studios.

As well, keep in mind that event organizers are looking for impactful, educational content. So, leave the sales pitch at home, and speak to industry-wide topics that are vendor neutral.

Know the deadlines
It seems pretty obvious, but deadlines are the one thing that determines whether or not your nomination will even be considered. Conferences have extremely long lead times on speaker nominations, and the larger the event, the longer the lead time. Just as an example, SXSW in Austin, TX, closes nomination in July for the Interactive conference that takes place the following March. That’s a full nine months in advance. Strata New York closes their call for speakers six months in advance, as does RSA.

However, if your nomination does not get chosen, stay in touch with the event content organizers. A speaker might drop out at the last minute, leaving a hole in the agenda that will need to be filled quickly, and they’ll look to speakers and nominators that have been engaged with them throughout the nomination process.

Additionally, keep your client’s internal calendar in mind and work with them to prioritize nomination deadlines with their own user and customer conferences and internal board meetings.

Know that sponsorship is still an option
While we’d all like to position our clients for free, that’s not the only way for clients to get their message out. Sponsored panels and sessions at key events are still an excellent way to position clients and enable them to communicate directly with their target audience as well as network with fellow peers and presenters.

For a sponsored presentation, make sure to take full advantage of the included benefits. Some of these benefits could include:
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 A featured blog post on the event site
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Synopsis inclusion in the conference newsletter
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Executive feature at the event.

With the right person presenting on the topic that resonates with the event audience, 15-minutes in the spotlight can turn into countless sales leads and industry influence. We’ve used these five points to secure presentations for our clients time and time again and now you can, too.

By Kathleen See