Archive for the ‘Promotions’ Category

Summary: Marketing VPs and CEOs at data storage and data management firms can use these 5 techniques to generate more sales for the same budget by thinking strategically about how they allocate money.

I think it fair to say that most executives take a tactical, rather than a strategic, approach to the marketing budget. For the most part they take last year’s budget and adjust it up or down or they base it on a percentage of revenue. Then they apply the relatively small changes to their existing expenditures. Accordingly, firms set in motion a marketing program that may not provide them with any competitive advantage. And for most, that’s OK. It is good enough not to be at a competitive disadvantage.

However, it’s possible to gain a competitive advantage at budget time. By that, I mean a small sales-centric firm can “punch above its weight” and generate more sales for the same budget by thinking strategically about how it allocates money.

Strategic budgeting also makes it possible to overcome many of the B2B marketing challenges:

MarketingSherpa Marketing Research Chart:

A worthy goal is to maximize the funds that are applied to lead generation and lead management. What’s a lead? It’s not a web page visit, a click, or a rented list. A lead, according to Marketingsage’s definition is “a sales opportunity-related request with actionable contact information recorded by [you].” These actionable requests are reliably generated by paid promotions such as online advertising, trade shows and email campaigns, especially when supported by product-centric PR and highly selective participation in social media.

Another goal, for business with a resale or distribution channel, might be to increase the funds available for sales incentives directly tied to revenue. For example, paying market development funds to resellers only when they meet a set revenue objective.

Regardless of the promotion or incentive, strategic budgeting usually comes down to applying money to programs and campaigns that have a direct, or highly influential, impact on sales. So if your budget is not increasing, you are really making a decision to take funding from something or someone so you can apply the money to something or someone else that may have a greater impact on sales.

That’s why strategic budgeting is tough. Almost all marketing program and campaign will have their merits and supporters. However, the fact that it tough to do is also the reason why it’s possible for some to out perform peers with the same budget.

With that said, I’ll highlight my top 5 techniques for strategic budgeting.

Calculate What your Promotional Budget Should Be

When you have a revenue target, a lead-to-sale close rate, an average cost per lead and an average customer value you can estimate how many leads you’ll need and the required budget.

For example, if you pay the industry average of $60 for an information request type lead (e.g. white papers download), and your lead-to-sale close rate is 0.5%. You can calculate that you need 200 leads per sale and those leads will cost $12,000. If this year’s revenue target is $10-million and the average customer generates $100,000, you need 100 customers. The 20,000 leads you need for 100 customers will cost $1.2-million in promotions.

Of course, a happy customer can be expected to purchase more and the cost of incremental sales to existing customers will be far lower.

When you do this for the first time you may fund the numbers quite sobering. That’s not a bad thing because the strategic marketer will use this calculation to push back on unrealistic expectations and goals or to justify the appropriate budget for the targets set.

Adopt an Opportunity Cost Perspective

The average cost for an information request type lead (e.g. a white paper download) in the data storage industry is ~$60. As such, you’ll find it helpful to think of each $10,000 that is not spent on lead generation as 166 lost leads.  You can translate that into foregone revenue when you calculate your own close rate and expected average value of a customer – $83,000 using the above example (more if customers have a recurring value).

Thinking in terms of lost leads is very helpful when making judgment calls. For example, should you spend $60,000 to upgrade the trade show booth? Yes, if you think it will deliver a return greater than ~1000 leads – $500,000 in new revenue using the above example.

The same question can be applied to the purchase of marketing analytics tools, paid analyst relationships, promotional giveaways, internal sales meetings, custom creative, etc. If you are the CEO, you can apply this opportunity cost perspective when allocating budget to other departments, rather than to marketing.

Invest Early

If it takes an average of 3 months to convert a sales lead to a customer your fourth quarter promotions are driving next year’s revenue, not this year’s. Therefore a strategic marketer will invest almost everything early in the year to drive sales. Early sales success can be used to justify, and fund, the additional budget required to sustain the momentum later in the year.

Although the data storage and data management industry is not as seasonal as bathing suits and snow blowers, it does have some peaks and troughs that should be taken account. For example, summer months tend to be slower and government and educational customers purchase in cycles. Strategically it may make sense to execute the bulk of your lead generating promotions in the first 5 months of the year.

The word “execute” is important here because it takes 4 to 8 weeks to prepare most promotions – longer for trade shows. Add months and quarters if you need to hire staff, plan and/or build consensus.

Think Talent

Executing lead generating promotions on time with sufficient budget is paramount to success. Your ability to do this will depend on having the right skills at the right time. Therefore, strategic marketers think about talent before they decide whether to hire employees, agencies and/or contractors.

Your choices here are critical simply because talent is likely to be your largest single expense. Typically talent expenses, including payroll, annual analyst contracts, and agencies can consume 60% to 90% of a marketing budget so productivity gains can make a huge difference if savings can be directed into sales programs and lead generating campaigns.

Whether you can redirect savings from increased productivity depends on whether your talent expenses are fixed or discretionary. Payroll is essentially a fixed costs so sales-centric productivity is key. If an employee costing $150,000 per year is spending just 20% of their time on irrelevant tasks, you are effectively forfeiting $30,000 worth of leads. Using the above example, that’s 500 leads that could drive $250,000 in revenue.

On the other hand, outsourced talent is typically discretionary so you can use the services for what you want, when you want, for as long as you want. There usually very little, if any, “busy work.”

Therefore, the strategic marketer minimizes fixed expenses by keeping the number of employees to an absolute minimum and ensuring that the vast majority of everyone’s time is spent on activities that can impact sales. Many deliberately under-staff for 3 reasons:

  • Employees, and everyone who demands their time, are forced to prioritize.
  • To get everything done, tasks will need to be outsourced. Therefore the value and cost of the task will more visible and it will get more consideration (see note on the Opportunity Cost Perspective).
  • Discretionary budget can be more easily reallocated to sales programs.

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Of course every situation is different, but based on decades of experience I’ll offer this rule of thumb:

≤60% of the talent portion of the budget should be allocated to employee payroll, bonuses and benefits and tools (including the VP of Marketing). The most productive teams have experienced product marketers with deep knowledge of the products and industry.

Their job is to manage the day-to-day tasks that cannot or should not be managed by outside agencies. These include liaising with customers, vendors, technology partners, resale partners, salespeople and engineers. This interaction allows them to:

  • Define the strategy, budgets, and timing.
  • Define the product and company positioning.
  • Tee-up press announcements and the outsourced development of sales tools (case studies, brochures, video, etc.)
  • Make decisions about product pricing, sales programs and promotional investments (lead quality, the acceptable cost per lead, tactical placements, events, etc.)

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≥40% of the talent portion of the budget should be allocated to outsourced services such as PR, creative services, media buying, event management and strategic counsel – tasks that are performed better by people with broad media relationships, independent perspectives, and specialist skills. For most firms these tasks do not fill a 40 hour week and specialist skills, contacts and tools make it difficult to hire an effective do-it-all employee. Additionally, many of these tasks need to be executed simultaneously during certain periods of the year requiring bandwidth that just not available from a highly productive internal team.

A highly productive small tech firm marketing a B2B product like storage or data management software can compete using an experienced product-centric VP of marketing, a senior marketing manager, and one full service agency (like my PR and lead generation firm, Marketingsage 🙂

Such an organization would typically:

  • Run 20-25 simultaneous adverting campaigns, including creative, landing pages and lead capture.
  • Generate 10-12 press announcements per year and brief press/analysts each time.
  • Run quarterly reseller inventive programs.
  • Attend 6 or so domestic trade shows.
  • Run 8 to 12 prospect lead nurturing email campaigns.
  • Manage the process for 4 or so interoperability certifications.
  • Author and layout 4 or so white papers.
  • Author and layout 6 or so case studies.
  • Produce 20 minutes worth of videos.
  • Maintain the web site.
  • Maintain a corporate blog.
  • Selectively participate in sales-centric social media discussions.

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Fast, Good, Cheap

You’ve heard the saying: You can have it fast, good or cheap. Pick any 2. For a marketer at a small firm in the storage and data management sector the priority is clear:  Fast and good (enough). Cheap is not the strategic option, even for a cost conscious marketer. Here’s why:

Time is your enemy. The market is highly competitive so a better or less expensive product will emerge soon – maybe before you see an ROI on your current development efforts. This could leave you at a competitive disadvantage with unsold inventory, depressed margins and higher promotional costs.  Additionally, if your firm does not yet have a positive cash flow, time is burning up your available capital. Ask the CFO what’s preferable: spending an extra 20% on an agency that can execute now; or burning 3 months of expenses for the whole company while you go through a hiring or orientation process.

Obviously fast and bad will not win you customers. However, don’t let perfect become the enemy of good enough. Good enough is faster and less expensive than perfect. You’re in the B2B IT market, not the fashion market, so let your competitors waste time and money on custom art, billboards, golf sponsorships, and chotskies while you deliver what prospects want – timely information that helps them choose your product over the alternatives!

About the Author

David X. Lamont is an accomplished marketer of IT products and a partner at Marketingsage, a PR and lead generation firm that specializes in marketing data storage, data management, and enterprise software products. He can be reached by email at blog [at] marketingsage.net. Fellow marketers and IT professionals are invited to join his network on LinkedIn and to subscribe to this blog (see sidebar).

It’s very unwise to pick just one promotional strategy and exclude all others, but it happens a lot among start-ups in the IT industry. Typically, the underlying problem is money. The firm has a very limited promotional budget so they bet it all on a single promotional strategy.

More often than not, inexperienced marketers at these cash-strapped start-ups purchase a list of prospects to email and call. After all, the list is affordable, email is almost free, and the sales team can start dialing on day one. From that same perspective, online advertising is ruled out because it is obviously expensive, it takes more time, and the number of callable contacts is expected to be relatively low.

However, choosing a purchased list over online advertising is invariably a bad bet.

Let’s look at some numbers:

  • Advertising: The more expensive pay-per-lead adverts average $60 per lead. However, while the cost-per-lead (CPL) is expensive, these contacts are leads insofar as they have requested one of your resources (e.g. a white paper). Such leads result in a “warm” contact list.
  • Purchased Lists: A contact on a list costs more or less $5, depending on the criteria chosen. The cost per contact is relatively low, but they haven’t taken any action to demonstrate even a passing interest in your offering. A purchased list is a “cold” list.
  • The cost of email is almost free. It’s usually not a material factor.

A typical click-through (action) rate for cold list is 0.05%. A click might result in a white paper download, a webinar registration, request for quote, or other action that the sales team considers actionable. However, a click-through rate of 0.05% means you need to send 200,000 emails to generate 100 clicks. Those 100 clicks cost $1-million at $5 per contact (of course the cost is lower when you amortize it over many campaigns, but to make the point we’ll leave it as is.)

A low click-through (action) rate for warm list is 1.5%. It can be much higher. Again, a click might result in a white paper download, a webinar registration, request for quote, or other action that the sales team considers actionable. A click-through rate of 1.5% means you need to send 6,667 emails to generate 100 clicks. Those 100 clicks cost ~$490,000 at $60 per contact (again, the cost is lower when you amortize it over many campaigns.)

The net result: Generating a desirable action from the $60 online advertising leads costs ~50% less than generating the same action from $5 purchased contacts because the response rates are significantly higher for warm lists.

Email clicks are easy to measure, but the lesson can be logically applied to other factors. While the cost of promoting using email may be close to free, the cost of promotion using a sales team is not. Because of the significant productivity difference, cost of a sales team employed to call a cold list will be higher than the cost of a sales team calling a warm list.

You can easily test this for yourself and generate numbers for your own business. Your numbers may be higher or lower, but you will inevitably learn that a warm list is considerably more valuable than a cold one.

This analysis assumes your firm has no ethical issues with emailing people who have not subscribed for your messages. Such unsolicited emails may not be SPAM from the legal sense, but they are usually considered SPAM by the recipients. It’s certainly possible that a portion of the 99.95% of email recipients who do not respond to your unsolicited emails will in fact remember your brand and make a decision to avoid it at all costs. As a result, every campaign has the potential to diminish your brand among the carefully chosen audience you wish to sell to.

How CEOs, CFOs and VCs Might Mitigate the Underlying Budget Problem

I get it. The marketing budget of many early-round start-ups won’t support much online advertising. However, that budget crisis is usually the result of an earlier decision to invest other things. Typically, CEOs at these firms invest 90% of their sales and marketing budget in staff alone. They usually start by adding salespeople, but don’t reserve enough cash for the marketing programs necessary to feed that team.

Soloed VPs can’t address this issue because the parameters of their world have already been set by the CEO and board. The result is a failure by marketing to deliver enough high quality leads to satisfy the needs of a relatively large sales team. However, the sales team also fails because they don’t have those leads. The CEO, CFO and VCs fail because of the lost time (multiplied by the company’s cash burn rate) and the destructive interdepartmental politics spawned by the imbalance between objectives and resources.

A more prudent approach is to recognize the fact that sales and marketing are interdependent, not independent. You must invest proportionally in both. You must also recognize that marketing takes time and money and it often precedes the success of the sales team.

About the Author

David X. Lamont is an accomplished marketer of IT products and a partner at Marketingsage, a PR and lead generation firm that specializes in marketing data storage, data management, and enterprise software products. He can be reached by email at blog [at] marketingsage.net. Fellow marketers and IT professionals are invited to join his network on LinkedIn and to subscribe to this blog (see sidebar).

My firm, Marketingsage, helps data storage and data management firms market to enterprise customers. One of our lead generation services is trade show support so we see a lot of shows. We also use trade show-timed PR to launch products and to seek quality speaking engagements for our clients. Therefore, we though it might be useful to maintain a list of top trade shows for marketers of enterprise storage and data management products.

The following shows attract the same vendors year after year — a good sign that the show produces results for them. They also attract a reasonable number of like vendors. That’s important because sales lead results are often better when a firm is among a cluster of competitors rather than on its own.

The list is far from comprehensive. There are a host of vertical shows that would be of interest to platform-specific or industry-focused vendors. I’ve just listed the bigger, more well known, shows frequented by enterprise storage and data management firms.

Note: The start dates and locations listed can change from year to year.

4Q USA: October, November, December

  • Interop – Early October, New York, NY. Billed as “the most comprehensive IT conference and expo.”
  • Oracle OpenWorld (OOW) – Early October, San Francisco, CA. Billed as “most cost-effective and efficient way to stay ahead of the technology curve.”
  • Storage Networking World (SNW) Fall – Mid October, Orlando, FL. Billed as ” transforming the information infrastructure.”
  • PASS Summit – Mid October, Seattle, WA. Billed as “the premier conference for SQL Server professionals.”
  • SC Conference – Mid November, Seattle, WA. Billed as “the international conference for high performance computing, networking, storage, and analysis.”

1Q USA: January, February, March

2Q USA: April, May, June

  • FOSE – Early April, Washington, DC. Billed as “the choice for government IT education.”
  • National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) – Mid April, Las Vegas. Billed as as the show “where content comes to life.” Listed as one of the Top Trade Shows (see below) with the highest Net Buying Influence (91%) and highest Total Buying Plans (59%).
  • COLLABORATE – Late April, Las Vegas, NV. Billed as “the technology and application forum for the Oracle community.”

3Q USA: July, August, September

  • VMworld – Late August/Early September, San Francisco, NV. Billed with “Your Cloud. Own it.” Listed as one of the Top Trade Shows (see below) with the highest Net Buying Influence  (91%) and highest Total Buying Plans (55%.)

Top Trade Shows Notes for NAB and VMworld (4/12 update).

Exhibit Surveys Inc. produces an annual Trade Show Trends report and highlights are usually published in the April issue of Exhibitor Magazine. The report compares various industries so it’s limited in its coverage of any one industry, such as IT. The IT-centric events in the 2011 survey included CES (consumer electronics), NAB (broadcast technology), RSA Conference (data security), Supercomputing and VMworld (virtualization). These are all good shows, but hardly representative of all good shows frequented by IT buyers.

The Trade Show Trends report looks at many factors, but the two most useful are the Net Buying Influence and Total Buying Plans statistics.

The Net Buying Influence number indicate the percentage of show attendees who have the power to recommend or make final purchasing decisions. The average Net Buying Influence for High Tech shows was 84% in 2011. That’s 3 points above the overall average of 81%.

The Total Buying Plans number represents the percentage of attendees whom plan to buy within 12 months of a show. High Tech shows rate better than most in this category with an average of 46% in 2011, just below the overall average of 47%.

About the Author

David X. Lamont is an accomplished marketer of IT products and a partner at Marketingsage, a PR and lead generation firm that specializes in marketing data storage, data management, and enterprise software products. He can be reached by email at blog [at] marketingsage.net. Fellow marketers and IT professionals are invited to join his network on LinkedIn and to subscribe to this blog (see sidebar).

So what does a big advertising budget look like? Here’s what Microsoft, IBM, HP, Apple, Intuit, Cisco, Intel and Dell spent in 2010 according to the B2B Magazine Top Advertiser list (published November 2011).

Microsoft was the third largest advertiser after AT&T and Verizon. They spent almost $250 million in 2010, up 30% from 2009.

IBM was 6th. They invested more than all the other tech firm in business publications and consumer magazines.

HP was 7th and Apple was 8th on the top 50 list. Of the tech firms on the list, Dell spent the least, ranking 28th overall.

What can smaller firms selling data storage and management products learn from this? Nothing! The top advertisers are public firms with extensive product lines that are sold globally.

About the Author

David X. Lamont is an accomplished marketer of IT products and a partner at Marketingsage, a PR and lead generation firm that specializes in marketing data storage, data management, and enterprise software products. He can be reached by email at blog [at] marketingsage.net. Fellow marketers and IT professionals are invited to join his network on LinkedIn and to subscribe to this blog (see sidebar).

The good people ay Sys-Con Events invited me to the Cloud Computing Conference & Expo.  The event was held November 7 through 10, 2011 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Northern California—one of my favorite venues. I was there on days 2 and 4 of this 4 day event.

Reportedly there were over 7,000 attendees that included CIOs, CTOs, directors of infrastructure, VPs of technology, IT directors and managers, network and storage managers, network engineers, enterprise architects, and communications and networking specialists.

As usual, I viewed the  event through the eyes of a marketer responsible for data storage and data management products. My firm, Marketingsage, helps clients generate sales leads, build brands, launch new products, and establish new sales channels so trade shows are important, especially for lead generation.

There were 4 days worth of speaking sessions, mostly presented by vendors. The general sessions that I attended all seemed to have large audiences, although the huge room was not full. There were also 7 special interest tracks with one  dedicated to those interested in Cloud Storage Virtualization APIs. Another was dedicated to Cloud Architecture, Security and Performance.

Session: How to Build a SaaS With Twitter-like Throughput

Session: How to Build a SaaS With Twitter-like Throughput

The Cloud Expo

The expo was small enough to ensure that every attendee could see every booth over the course of 4 days. There were about 100 exhibitors including VMware, McAfee, Oracle, and IBM.  The vast majority of booths were small 8′ or 10′ popups and they were packed pretty tightly. So on day 2 the aisles were crowded.

Day 2: Gale holds the crowd (in the aisle) with their presentation

However, by day 4 the aisles were really empty and the exhibitors were not busy at all. The crowds at the general presentations also thinned substantially, suggesting that the event may be enhanced by cutting it from 4 days to 3 days.

Day 4 (morning): SolidFire’s booth

Is Cloud Expo a Good Show for Marketing Storage products?

Is Cloud Expo a good show for marketing storage products? The answer depends on what type of storage product you are marketing. This show has 3 types of storage vendor: (1) hosted storage, (2) storage related software and (3) storage hardware.

The audience  favored those selling hosted storage/servers and storage management/monitoring software. Hosting firms included Amazon Web Services, Rackspace Hosting, SoftLayer, GoGrid, Virtustream, FireHost, and Zadara Storage, and PhoenixNAP to name but a few. Storage/data management/monitoring vendors included Abiquo, StorageCraft, Amplidata, MicroStrategy and Nimsoft, again to name but a few.

Storage infrastructure/hardware vendors did not flock to this event even though many tout their products for virtualized and cloud environments. I saw prominent solid state disk (SSD) vendor Fusion-io on an early exhibitor list, but they were not there.  Storage infrastructure exhibitors included solid state disk vendors SolidFire and LSI. Oracle also had a hard disk array on display. There were a few other hardware exhibitors that had storage components, but I wouldn’t classify them as storage infrastructure vendors.

LSI would win my prize for best storage infrastructure demo

Oracle displays bare metal

Morphlabs mCloud uses Dell servers, Arista Network switches and Nexenta’s storage manager. Each blade has its own 3.5 inch HDDs.

I asked several exhibitors whether they were happy with the Cloud Expo event. All said there were happy and would likely attend again next year. That’s a ringing endorsement, but I’m going to discount it a bit for the hardware infrastructure vendors by noting some factors important to me as a sales-centric marketer whose budget would be on the line.

The endorsers were not salespeople or MarCom people. They were product manager types so their expectations may be different to mine. Most were local to the area so they did not have to leave home to participate. Several commented about a high ratio of vendors to customers visiting their booth. And one commented that most visitors were not really storage infrastructure decision makers. However they were valued as potential influencers of such decisions.

So is Cloud Expo a good show for marketing storage products? Yes, if your target decision makers are focused on the cloud or virtualization application layer. I’m not ready to make a case for storage hardware vendors.

About the Author

David X. Lamont is an accomplished marketer of IT products and a partner at Marketingsage, a PR and lead generation firm that specializes in marketing data storage, data management, and enterprise software products. He can be reached by email at blog [at] marketingsage.net. Fellow marketers and IT professionals are invited to join his network on LinkedIn and to subscribe to this blog (see sidebar).

I go to Oracle OpenWorld (OOW) in San Francisco every year because my PR and lead gen. firm, Marketingsage, helps data storage and data management firms market to the large enterprises that use Oracle.  Wednesday Oct. 5 was my day to visit the 2011 expo and this post takes a marketer’s look at the exhibits of some of the most innovative firms who were showing off their high performance storage hardware at the show.

This was the last day of the expo so you might expect it to be somewhat quiet. In my opinion is was far too quiet at any booth that was not front and center in the main hall or giving way a car, iPad, iPhone 5 4S. While that may be bad for exhibitors, it was good me because I got to see most of the high performance storage players. Besides the big guys like Oracle, EMC, HP and Dell, there were more start-up firms this year. Most of them paid big bucks for big booths.

I’ll give the award for biggest-bang-for-the-buck to our friends at GridIron Systems. They did not have a booth. They used a high traffic station in the highly visible Intel booth to show off their TurboCharger caching appliance. This device fit right in with Oracle’s “Big Data” theme because it accelerates (in real-time) the “hot data” that’s in-demand. Users do not have to put their Oracle database, or even the tables, onto expensive solid state disk (SSD) to get SSD performance. That makes the GridIron hardware somewhat special in the value-for-money department. I know all that because Marketingsage just started helping GridIron with its PR 🙂

Start-up, Pure Storage had a big bright booth and lots of people wearing their distinctive shirts. They also scored a visible spot in the Samsung booth. Their solid state disk is special because it uses real-time deduplication and compression to reduce the amount of data that’s actually stored on more expensive SSD. Therefore, they claim the cost of their system (when available) will be lower than purchasing hard disk drive-based systems for the same volume of data.

Fusion-io had the most visually impressive information walls backed by a mini data center. They also had some pro-active salespeople willing to grab passersby. I can respect that. Fusion was touting “a tier on a PCIe card” and they are getting some impressive Flash capacities on relatively small cards. The other vendors went out of their way to point out that this PCIe-based storage is not shareable.

STEC had a front row booth in the corner of the main hall. They had a small theater where they did a good job introducing their rather large Kronos PCIe card. They subsequently gave out t-shirts to those who filled in their sales lead survey. Customers can use a single STEC Flash drive to replace a hard drive in a server or they can array them for rack mounted enterprise environments.

Violin Memory also stumped for a big front row booth. Interestingly they only used half of the booth for meeting attendees. The other half was hidden and off-limits. Violin prefers to call its SAN-attached SSDs “memory arrays” and they see them as primary storage to be used in an “all silicon data center” without hard disk drives. Meanwhile, Quantum was at the back of the same hall proving that tape is still an important part of today’s data centers. I was impressed  by Quantum’s high performance StorNext system. It’s used to quickly ingest and provide shared access to REALLY BIG files, like satellite and geology images, and manages all of the storage complexity of  managing and archiving to hard disk or tape.

Our friends at TMS exhibited their SSDs at OOW years before some of the other SSD firms even existed. They had their usual spot in the middle of the main hall. And as usual, you could be standing next to the booth and not notice it. However, Oracle users seek them out. TMS had a small theater where their genuine Oracle Guru talked to Oracle users and developers about how to accelerate Oracle. TMS does not confuse OOW with SNW (Storage Networking World) and their no frill SSDs are always fast.

I went all the way across the road to see Kaminario in the lower traffic West hall. They had a small 10×10 pop-up booth, but they were getting their share of visitors. They probably deserve the runner-up prize for the biggest-bang-for-the-buck booth among SSD vendors. Kaminaro’s SAN-attached SSD lets customers choose DRAM and/or Fision-io’s Flash memory.

Nimbus Data Systems was at the show as well, but their small booth looked like a parking space. It was 80% sports car, 20% SSD. No, you could not win the car. I was laughingly told by another vendor you could win the privilege of sitting in it for a while.

We would have liked to seen WhipTail, SolidFire, Nimble Storage  and some of the other serious vendors of high performance enterprise storage systems. Alas, they were not at this particular show.

Other SSD Posts

If you like to read about the marketing of SSDs you can join the mail list for this blog (top left sidebar). You’ll get an email when a new post comes on line. Here are some recent SSD related posts:

Storage start-ups: What CEOs, VPs and VCs should know about the honeymoon period

A Strategic Marketing View of Flash Memory Products

About the Author

David X. Lamont is an accomplished marketer of IT products and a partner at Marketingsage, a PR and lead generation firm that specializes in marketing data storage, data management and enterprise software products. He can be reached by email at blog [at] marketingsage.net. Fellow marketers and IT professionals are invited to join his network on LinkedIn and to subscribe to this blog (see sidebar).

How much did exhibitors spend on average in 2010 per face-to-face meeting at their exhibit? $276 according to Exhibit Surveys Inc. data reported in April 2011 by Exhibitor Magazine.

How much did they spend per attendee who entered their exhibit? $189, according to the same source.

The survey covered many different types of events, however those numbers are consistent with averages you might expect at IT centric shows.

There were some “High Tech” specific numbers reported:

  • Traffic density in 2010 was relatively high at 3.1 attendees per square foot of exhibit space. The average was 2.2.
  • The time spent visiting High Tech exhibits was also above average at 9.4 hours and 2.6 days per show.

My PR and lead generation firm, Marketingsage, offers Event Marketing, Trade Show, and Seminar Support Services because such events have always been an important promotional method for marketers of storage products. And although the cost-per-lead (CPL) is higher than for online advertising campaigns the value received is different.

A CEIR study once estimated that 78% of attendees are interested in products and up to 60% are part of a buying team visiting the show. Additionally, CEIR estimated that the average number of calls required to close a trade show lead was 1.6. This compared favorably with an average 3.7 calls to close a field sales lead. That’s why salespeople like trade shows (in their territory).

How do virtual trade shows stack up to the real events for marketers of storage?

In my experience, virtual shows have not stacked up in terms of the quality of the leads. However, the CPL is much lower, especially when you account for travel costs. I found the CPL was more in line with online advertising. But the campaign setup time and effort was significantly greater. I may change my mind on this at some point, but after my initial experience with virtual shows I concluded that there was too much work involved for the marketeers compared to the result gained by the salespeople. Additionally, I felt I could have gotten leads of similar quality with easier to manage advertising campaigns.

About the Author

David X. Lamont is an accomplished marketer of IT products and a partner at Marketingsage, a PR and lead generation firm that specializes in marketing data storage, data management and enterprise software products. He can be reached by email at blog [at] marketingsage.net. Fellow marketers and IT professionals are invited to join his network on LinkedIn and to subscribe to this blog (see sidebar).