Interview with CMO , TechTarget – John Steinert


“The real value of ABM is in its potential for increasing revenue productivity from a set of named accounts.”

1. Tell us about your role in TechTarget?
As TechTarget’s CMO, I lead Corporate Marketing where our focus is on growing the reputation of the company overall and on growing demand for our products and services. To accomplish this, we work in close collaboration with teams in top management, in Product, Sales, Publishing, Customer Success, HR and more.

2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
I had no exposure to marketing in university until near the end of my four years. A presentation by a couple of guys from Young & Rubicam opened my eyes to at least a perspective on the world of Madison Avenue. My first job, unpaid, was as a junior copywriter split 50/50 B2C/B2B. After my MBA, I began focusing on strategy, sales and operational management almost exclusively serving IBM for nearly a decade. That’s where I got more deeply involved with tech in general and with martech.

3. How do you think technology is changing the Marketing Sector?
It’s huge. It’s wonderful. When I started out, it was super hard for most companies to take products to market. The internet and new tools have made getting to market much, much easier. And yet there are some essential fundamentals that remain core for success: You need to know and serve your audience. And you need to get better and better over time. The big difference today is that, because so much is easier, there’s an incredible amount of competition. You really have to work at getting better every single day.

4. How has Account Based Marketing decreased workload of Sales Professionals?

The real value of ABM is in its potential for increasing revenue productivity from a set of named accounts.

Even with a named account list, no organization has the resource to cover off on all the activities it would like to do. A well-thought out ABM program and infrastructure helps Sales prioritize its actions by surfacing, pinpointing and explaining demand present within the companies on the account list. To be more efficient, Sales needs to reduce its efforts where no active demand is present. To be more effective, Sales needs to know exactly who’s beginning a buyer’s journey and precisely what issues are top of mind for them. Real purchase intent data delivers on both these fronts, which is why we see more than 80% of our clients applying it to ABM use cases.

5. How do your targeted advertising solutions help in Brand Consideration?
Our advertising solutions are different from others in two specific ways. First is that we are able to target specific individuals who are exhibiting buying behaviors. This has two effects: the first is that we can point your advertising at the right people at the right time, to maximize impact. Second is that you can minimize spend on those impressions that will have little effect. Our second difference is that we can synchronize our advertising with other outreach to those same people on our clients’ behalf. In this way, we get 2-3X performance improvements over industry averages so that ROI yields go way up.

6. How according to you, increased use of marketing intelligence has revolutionized marketing functions?
Digital transformation is all about the combination of reducing the friction in interactions due to bad process, lack of accurate, timely information and more. No one really wants to waste a customer’s time, provide bad service or ask the same question twice. The more relevant information we know about a customer, the better we can serve them. It’s relevance that’s the key. In B2B, a lot of the techniques that can make sense in the mega-audience B2C world really aren’t very useful at all at the tactic level. While demographics, firmographics and technographics provide an important foundation, its relevant prospect behavior that really catalyzes marketing and sales actions, and from there, can deliver stair-step ROI improvement. Relevant behavior is behavior that is a) indicative of a buyer’s journey and b) connectable to specific needs and solution requirements. This is what separates “data” from “intelligence” – it’s the information value available in the data. Then from there, it’s how we can help your marketers and sellers learn to use that intelligence more effectively.

7. How introduction of AI in Marketing has helped in easing the functions of Marketing?
AI offers promise in a lot of areas. At present, the beauty of AI is that it can help us do things that we can’t otherwise afford to do very well. This can really help in discovering and harnessing information within first-party systems. For example, we use it to help deliver the most relevant content to our members based on their search and consumption patterns. Likewise, AI is good at offloading less sensitive tasks in the presence of higher priorities, like email follow-ups that humans have trouble getting to. Right now there aren’t a lot of data sources that can make an AI really smart. Our clients are finding that the richness in our real purchase intent stands out as optimum fuel.

8. What advice would you like to give to the Martech StartUps?
Simplify: make our lives easier. Integrate: work with what we have and with the data we need. ABM: connect individuals to each other and to accounts; and serve marketing and sales as a continuum.

9. What is the Digital innovation in Marketing according to you that will mark 2019?
While digital transformation may have systems at its core, the innovations that matter most always seem to be what people end up doing differently. In 2019, more and companies will start to perform better because they will be changing their marketing and selling behaviors based on data v. outmoded and insensitive indirect measures.

10. How do you prepare for an AI Centric world?
The better you can solve real customer needs, the better.

11. What are the major developments you are planning, in recent time?
We’re all-in on helping our customers get more and more value out of the intelligence we provide. From the moment they sign on with us, we want our customers to get a benefit. And we want that value to grow in repeatability and scale over time. So that means more integrations, more use cases, more specificity for different job roles – on the one hand more function and capabilities under the covers and on the other, a simplification of the user interface to guide the specific best next actions.

12. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
One of the greatest things about TechTarget is how much it retains its start-up energy even after 20 years of success. We’re a company of doers who don’t wait around for permission. That means that as much as my team supports me, I’m really looking more to how I can support them in delivering value to customers and the business. My job is to find the resource to do what they’ve determined we need to do. I help with prioritization, inspiration and communication to keep things moving as fast as we possibly can. I work to help us overcome challenges and recover from mistakes that inevitably crop up when you’re learning and innovating.

13. Which is the Movie that inspires you the most?
When I’m alone, I like to listen to podcasts and watch “making of” documentaries. I’m thinking you’re more interested in dramatic films here, so in the same vein, I’d have to say “Bohemian Rhapsody”. While there was obviously a lot of sugar-coating and mainstreaming going on there, what inspired me is the inventiveness, attention to craft, and coalescing of the team that was/is Queen.

14. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
Number 1 is The New York Times. I read Opinions twice a day. SFDC. McKinsey. Kindle is big. And podcasts – This American Life, Radiolab, 99% Invisible, New Yorker Radio Hour are my go tos.

As CMO at TechTarget, he is responsible for brainstorming how TechTarget’s marketing can help customers reach their business objectives. He is a passionate beliver for the fact that the information needs of IT professionals and the communications efforts of solution providers, can be delivered continuously improving productivity to both sides of the industry ecosystem: buyer/users and maker/sellers alike. Right now, when used for everything from strategy development, to customer lifecycle marketing, to sales and support optimization, TechTarget’s purchase intent insight and marketing.

TechTarget is the global leader in purchase intent-driven marketing and sales services that deliver business impact for enterprise technology companies. By creating abundant, high-quality editorial content across more than 140 highly targeted technology-specific websites, TechTarget attracts and nurtures communities of technology buyers researching their companies’ information technology needs. By understanding these buyers’ content consumption behaviors, TechTarget creates the purchase intent insights that fuel efficient and effective marketing and sales activities for clients around the world.
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