One struggle any modern marketer is familiar with is the evolution of an industry. When the inevitable happens, marketers have two choices: either keep up with business as usual and hope you survive, or reevaluate your methods and better position yourself for success.
One industry that has undergone significant changes in recent years is that of the media. Rhonda Wunderlin, Vice President of Lead Services with Penton Media, Inc., the largest B2B media company in the U.S. has witnessed the evolution of the industry firsthand. In today’s exclusive Q&A, Rhonda opens up on Penton Media’s move toward offering more services in the digital realm, how her firm uses Eloqua and her motivation for attending the Eloqua Experience conference each year.
Can you provide us with a little background on Penton Media’s transition to digital and how your firm uses Eloqua’s marketing automation software?
Let’s begin with the dramatic shift that we’ve witnessed in the media industry over the last several years. Much like any other media organization in the B2B space, we’ve had to change our approach with how and where we communicate with buyers. And much of this change is attributable to a transformation of buyer behavior, especially as buyers are now further along in the purchase process before they reach out to a vendor.
While we have 17 vertical markets that we provide media coverage to, there really is no sense in publishing solely in print when the majority of our audiences are in the digital space. Therefore, we’ve made adjustments in our approach to incorporate more digital services to help our clients effectively reach the right audience.
As a response to this transition, Penton Media launched Penton Marketing Services, which provides end-to-end marketing services to help clients create programs that integrate print, social and digital.
My area of focus is with programs that effectively move leads from the top to the bottom of the funnel with the use of various digital campaigns that can include content development and lead generation tactics. And this is where Eloqua comes into play for us, as their marketing automation platform can be used across various markets, to help our clients engage with their target audience, continue the conversation and help guide those engaged contacts through the decision process.
What motivates you to attend Eloqua Experience? What do you intend to walk away with at this year’s conference?
Considering that I was an Eloqua employee for six years, going to the Experience is almost like going to a high school reunion. It’s exciting to see old colleagues and clients that I’ve known for years. Also, it’s great to see where people are now, how their careers have progressed and new ways they’re using Eloqua’s marketing automation to drive results.
I also look forward to seeing what the next best thing is at each event. This year, I’m especially curious to learn more about how industries that previously have not leveraged marketing automation are driving adoption and change within their organizations.
Any funny stories or anecdotes from previous Eloqua Experience conferences to share?
I was fortunate to attend the inaugural Markie Awards in 2007, which was a lot of fun. At that time, the event was a lot smaller, a whole lot smaller! It was held in a small room set up sort of like a cocktail lounge, and everyone stood around while Joe Payne handed out six crystal engraved awards. It was intimate, kind of like a family affair. It’s remarkable to compare then to now. Now you have a much larger event in a giant ballroom, with really tough competition, community buzz for months prior, 20 categories as compared to 6 and instead of a crystal engraved award, you get a statue and status that compares to the Emmy of marketing automation.
It’s quite fascinating to see how the conference has grown over the years which I believe speaks to the commitment Eloqua has in ensuring their clients success.