Note: If you’re short on time, please see Why I’m Going To Sponsor SI … For Executives for an abbreviated version.
I believe in an open business environment, where knowledge is shared and users are educated and informed. I choose to support independent thought leaders who can cut through marketing double-speak, veils of secrecy, and accepted myths, and who can drill to the truth of the matter. And I believe that independent blogs, not trade publications and analyst firms, are the future of knowledge dissemination on the internet.
SI is the first and only blog that is focused primarily on end user education and knowledge sharing. It is also the only major blog written by a technologist who understands what technology can (and cannot) do, and therefore it is the only blog capable of diving deep into solution offerings and not just the marketing around them. This allows the editor to understand what a solution provider can do, what they could do, and what they ought to do, and to pass that knowledge on so that buyers can make an informed decision. And it’s one of the only blogs where the author is not afraid to have an informed and independent opinion. In a space populated primarily by vendor blogs with vendor messages, it’s a breath of fresh air.
By sponsoring SI, I’m letting the world know that I believe in openness, knowledge sharing, and honesty. I’m confident in the value of my offering, so I want to help my prospective customers understand my products as well as those of my competitors. My prospective customers, who understand what they’re looking for thanks to great expository posts on SI, get a good sense of what my products and I are all about before they make the first contact. This allows us to have a meaningful dialogue from day one! And I serve my current customers by insuring the continued availability of a great resource that expands their minds, knowledge, and capabilities.
Furthermore, an investment in SI, which will be seen as a positive by my target market, helps me to build my brand for the long term. I’m familiar with the research by Bain & Co which determined that the average business life-span is now 14 years, that only 33% of the companies in the Fortune 500 will get through the next decade unscathed, and that the other 67% will either have to merge, acquire, or drastically change their business model to survive. I’m familiar with the Interbrand rankings that rank the top 100 most valuable brands. And I see the strong correlation between those companies that have survived more than 5 years in the Fortune 500 unscathed and those with a high brand value.
I understand that click-through advertising doesn’t cut it – because, as easily measurable as clicks are, clicks alone don’t have value. It’s not clicks, it’s not registrations, it’s sales and market-place recognition. Just because I paid $3 for a Google ad-word doesn’t mean that a click I get from that ad-word is going to have value. First of all, most search terms mean different things to different people, so “purchasing solution” could mean a P-card to one user and a full-fledged “e-Procurement Solution” to another. Secondly, there’s no way to know if I’m reaching my target market. Maybe it’s a senior buyer typing “sourcing” — but maybe it’s an HR recruiter who also does talent sourcing.
I also believe that advertising in on-line variants of traditional publications is insufficient. Brand value comes from brand recognition, and that comes from continual exposure. Most publications haven’t embraced the power of the new media, and still publish the bulk of their new material on a traditional monthly publication schedule. As a result, visitors to those sites tend to check them only once or twice a month, which gives them little exposure to my advertisement. Furthermore, since these sites use traditional advertising models and allow virtually unlimited ads — scattered throughout, over, and under, the page — there’s no guarantee that my ad is going to be seen at all! And even though I may get a click-through from someone in the space, it’s not necessarily someone interested in what I have to offer.
I’m selling enterprise software and services – not books and CDs. I’m not going to get a sale on a click, even if it’s from a purchasing director looking to buy a solution that does almost exactly what my solution does. I’m going to get the sale by winning the deal against all the other vendors that get invited to the table in the selection process. And the way I win this deal is (1) by getting invited to the table in the first place, which will not happen if I’m not known, and (2) by selling to a buyer who understands the value in what I’m selling, which will not happen unless the buyer has been able to educate himself or herself on what my products do and the important problems they solve.
That’s why a SI sponsorship is perfect for me! There are no ads – just a small, restricted number of sponsor logos. Even if readers don’t notice my logo every day, they’re still going to notice it regularly. This will give me brand recognition, readers will remember the intro post, they’ll know what I do, and I’ll get invited to the table. Furthermore, through regular reading of SI and referenced materials, they’ll also understand what they’re looking for and be able to see where my solution adds value. I believe I win when the customer best understands the value I offer.
Finally, I want to be a partner in moving the space forward. I want readers to know that I have sponsored SI, what it is that I do, and why my products may be worth checking out. One informational post on my product in SI is worth a dozen press releases. I’m excited about the positive marketing campaign I can spin around an SI sponsorship – and about my support of a market leading resource with similar goals in terms of open business and end user education.
And I’m getting involved at a great time. Over the past year, SI has increased in popularity over 500%. With readership beginning to increase at an even more rapid pace, it’s poised to take the space by storm.
I’m going to e-mail thedoctor <at> sourcinginnovation <dot> com right now to see about reserving my sponsorship slot!