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Pillars of Eternity is about a month away from release, so with the game mostly finished I got the chance to sit down for one last, lengthy chat with Obsidian’s Josh Sawyer to talk expansion plans, sequel rumors, why PCs are amazing, fast/slow mode, Big Head Mode, Gothic castles, and why Might affects the damage inflicted by a pistol.
All that and more, below.
Side note: While Sawyer talked, Obsidian’s Nick Carver was playing through some optional sections of the game for us, so if you see any references to “that hero” or the like, just assume it’s Sawyer referencing whatever was on the screen at the time. Also, I have no idea what the official spelling is for some of these areas and characters. I guessed. Sue me.Setting the stage
Josh Sawyer, Obsidian (JS): One of the areas we’re showing right now is Radric’s Hold. Radric’s Hold is encountered within the first couple of hours of the game. You can tackle it immediately. You can wait and come back. There’s no level-scaling or anything so you can do it in whatever order you want.
It was important for us to have these grand-scope, very cool 2D environments. This is a Gothic Castle. One of our designers was like “Can we please just have one Gothic Castle?” so we decided to make Radric’s Hold. It is actually a dungeon. You can use some diplomacy as you go through it. You can use stealth. You can use your skills in different ways. First, though, we’re going to try and just barge our way in, which is one way you can do it.
It is a real-time with pause combat system, so at any time you can pause the game. You also have a lot of auto-pause options. A lot of players prefer to have things set up ahead of time so if a character goes down, something happens, it’ll pause right away so they can give new orders.Fast Mode and Slow Mode
JS: In a big battle like this where there are a ton of combatants you can also go into a “Slow Mode.” Slow Mode doesn’t run at half speed, it runs at 2/3 speed. It’s just enough to bring the speed down so things become a little bit easier to follow, a bit easier to manage. You don’t have to quite micro and pause so much.
Not only do you have a slow mode for combat, but you have a fast mode that’s good for exploring quickly—usually re-traversal. Exploration is a big part of the game but re-traversal is also a big part of the game that’s not necessarily super-enjoyable. Fast mode helps you book it through there.The final word on classes
JS: There are 11 different classes. This is all part of the Kickstarter campaign. They all play very differently.
We did design the game so you don’t have to have a nuclear party. You don’t need to have a fighter, a rogue, a wizard and a priest if you don’t want to. You can make gimmick parties, you can make a party that’s all paladins or all rogues and wizards. Whatever you want. It is designed so the game will be viable and completable no matter how you built your party.
This party that we have right here—all of these characters are companions except this one, which is the main. She’s a rogue. There’s a fighter. That’s Khana, a chanter or bard. That’s Durance, the guy who looks like an insane Rasputin. He’s a priest. That’s Aloth, who is a wizard. And the last one is the Grieving Mother, who is a Cipher. In this case we do have a nuclear party. The way we set up our companions is to cover a wide set of classes. If you just sort of go with inertia you will end up with a nuclear party. But even so, we didn’t want to design the game in a way where you required that.
If you don’t like these guys, you don’t have to take them. In fact, you can even make your own additional characters that are just Adventurers and add them to your party. You can also play solo if you want, although that’s incredibly hard.
You’ll notice every character [Nick] is playing has some active-use abilities. We did try to make sure that if you wanted to make a character that’s very active, even one that’s traditionally fairly passive like a fighter, you did have lots of active-use abilities.
However it can be a lot to manage six characters like that, so you can also build characters that are almost fully passive. You don’t really have to manage them a whole lot. You can plant them in a location, say “defend that” and they work pretty much fine like that.
FIghters are probably the most passive in terms of how you can build them. You can build up their defensive abilities so they lock people down when they come near, you get a lot of defensive bonuses, they regenerate damage over time, and they have a consistent progression of damage. So if you want them to stand in a location, not die, and do consistent damage? They’re great.
You can also build them to be very active though where they’re doing crowd control, they’re knocking guys away, things like that.
There’s nothing I would say “Don’t play this if you’re a beginner” because when you start out you’re only managing your own, single character. I think we progress in a way where it’s pretty easy to manage. But I will say that rogues and monks tend to be, of the melee classes, much more active. And especially rogues are much more fragile, and can get screwed up very fast.On stats
JS: We really put a lot of effort into our stat spread. We’ve tweaked and tweaked and retweaked this over time. For instance, the Might score increases damage and healing for everything. You might say, “Dude, why should Might affect the damage of my pistol?” and I say, “Shut the $#&^#& up.” The point is that it’s good for any class that wants to focus on that.
Intellect increases the area of effect and duration of any ability you use. You don’t need to be a wizard or anything like that.
It’s not a perfect 1-to-1 where you can build whatever you want and there’s no trade-off, but if you want to build an idiot muscle-wizard, which is very important to me, you can. If you want to build a brilliant fighter, that’s also a very viable character. If you have an idea for a cool character we don’t want to say “No, that’s unrealistic.” We want to say “What’s a way we can support that and make it fun?”
Let’s say you wind up with six characters that have the Mechanics skill jacked up. Because you’re &%^#%ing crazy. You jack them all up. Every character can plant one trap at a time, and the Mechanics skill will increase the accuracy and the power of that trap. So if you want to make the trap-laying party? You can jack everyone’s Mechanics and go out and place all that.
If you jack everyone’s Lore skill, they can all use scrolls. If you jack everyone’s Survival skills, all potions will last longer and all food items will last longer. We tried to make sure every skill has some usefulness if you have some overlap or redundancy. It’s frustrating to build a character and then someone joins the party that has the same skillset and you’re like “Well, thanks dude. That’s useless.”On friendly fire
JS: (To Carver) Show one of Aloth’s AOEs. You can see there are two radii for that. The inner circle is completely friend-or-foe. Everyone will be hit [by the spell]. That border area? That’s a bonus from his intellect, and that area is foe-only.
So you can throw a fireball and if something falls in that outer ring, if it’s an ally they won’t be hurt. That’s a way we allow those spells to scale without, “This gets bigger but my party gets hurt more easily.”On guards
JS: Guards will call for help. They won’t run away but they will call for help. And you do have to be careful about where you choose to engage them. You can actually take on individual guards by themselves, but there are patrollers so you might have adds, and when you have those adds they might shout and pull guys from behind them. You kind of have to watch.
We tried to make sure every map did have some patrollers on it because even a few of them can really change the dynamics of how fights play out.
Read on to page two for more information on expansions, tabletop Pillars of Eternity, Big Head Mode, and more.
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Pillars of Eternity backer beta: bringing new to old school
Obsidian Entertainment, best known for its Black Isle Studios heritage and its work on hit titles like Fallout: New Vegas, Neverwinter Nights 2, and Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II, is inching closer to delivering its Kickstarter promise. It has just kicked off the backer beta testing phase for Pillars of Eternity, a game that gives a nod to Black Isle’s hit classics but at the same time introduces things that are totally new.
Pillars of Eternity is one of those high-profile Kickstarter-funded games, managing to rake in almost $4 million, a feat that was surpassed half a year later by inXile Entertainment’s Torment: Tides of Numenera, which itself was quickly dethroned by Veronica Mars. Perhaps it helped that both games drew from a rich history (inXile’s Interplay Productions, which owned Obisidian’s Black Isle) and had bigger than life names behind them, like rockstar game designer Chris Avellone (Planescape: Torment, Baldur’s Gate).
Pillars of Eternity is unabashedly old school in its clothing. The visual aesthetic, parts of the game mechanics, and the overall goal of the game are designed to stay true to the Infinity Engine games of old, used in classics Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment. That said, Obsidian isn’t simply going for nostalgia and has injecting things, not to mention a completely new world, that the old Infinity games didn’t have.
The world, the theme, and the RPG rules are completely new, as Obsidian wanted and needed to be free from the shackles of D&D (since it would also be prohibitively expensive for a Kickstarter-funded game to buy a license from Wizards of the Coast). Sure there are elves and dwarves and humans of course, but there are completely new races in here as well. Character classes aren’t completely different from your standard tropes, but there is just enough uniqueness in their approach and implementation to make them distinct from D&D classes, which makes them also interesting and memorable. Battles will employ a “Real-time with pause” (RTwP) mechanic, not because the Infinity Engine used that, but because it was what majority of the backers voiced out, which was taken into consideration by the game design team.
Pillars of Eternity is rolling out in limited beta, via Steam, to Kickstarter backers who pledged $110 or more. This version of the game really focuses on getting players to test out game mechanics, classes, and game features without divulging much of the game’s plot. So even if this leaks out to non-backers, nothing will be spoiled. The game is still set to launch late 2014. It will be an interesting game to keep an eye on, to see if Obsidian’s magic touch will put this game up there in the annals of history or if it will end up being a very niche title that was spurred purely by nostalgia..
When I saw Pillars of Eternity back in November, it was a promise. I looked at a lot of concept art, I saw some environments early in development, I watched characters walk around a mostly empty field—and even then, I saw the promise underneath in this spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate, Planescape: Torment and other Infinity Engine CRPGs of yesteryear.
“It’s changed a bit since you saw the game in November,” said Pillars of Eternity executive producer and lead programmer Adam Brennecke as I settled in for my behind-closed-doors demo at E3. And indeed it has. The concept art and placeholder interface have turned into a real game—one that’s barely discernible from its Infinity Engine predecessors. And I mean that in a good way.The starting line
Brennecke played through the opening of the game, although he skipped character creation. For the purposes of the demo we played a human, though he assured us that there are, as expected, plenty of other racial options for characters. (Six total, to be exact.)
From the very start, there’s no mistaking this for anything other than an Infinity Engine game, even though it’s not one. The game even opens with a text scroll, detailing the story set-up–the same as any classic Black Isle CRPG. I’m reminded of when I was told in November that this is a game for people who enjoy reading. Obsidian wasn’t lying. There’s a lot of text to behold here.
When the text scrawl ends—actually, when Brennecke unceremoniously skips past it—we’re in a small glade, surrounded by wagons. Our group is setting up camp for the night, and after a lengthy conversation (also skipped in the demo) we’re sent off to collect some berries.
Despite Obsidian’s claims in November that they were looking at a more skeuomorphic UI, the standard on-screen interface is surprisingly modern and muted. There’s no enormous stone/wood bar taking up a large chunk of the screen. Instead, UI elements sit across the bottom, out of the way. Most of the icons and the day/night indicator look ripped right from the Infinity Engine titles.
That’s not to say traditional skeuomorphism doesn’t appear. Perhaps more extensive menus, like the inventory screen, are hewn from rock and timber like the Infinity Engine games of old, though I didn’t see any of these in the demo.
All of this plays out through text. We neither saw someone start to fall off a cliff nor saw our character rescue them, so bring your imagination to the table when you play Pillars of Eternity. It’s a smart way to provide more random events and contextualization to the game, however, without running up against the barriers of a low-budget, Kickstarted game.
On our little excursion to find berries Brennecke also showed off the game’s new “biography” system. The old Infinity Engine games allowed you to create a character, but only within certain bounds—in Baldur’s Gate you were always Gorion’s ward in Candlekeep, and in Planescape you were always the Nameless One.
Pillars of Eternity will have somewhere between two and two thousand dragons, I’m told.
When you walk off to collect berries, another member of your group accompanies you. She starts asking you about your past, about what you did before you fell in with the group. The answers you give—whether you were a soldier or a doctor—may play into the story later on, but more importantly they give you, the player, a better idea of the character you’ve created and his or her role in the world. Your answers are taken and inscribed into your character’s biography for the rest of the game.
It actually reminded me a lot of the different backstories you could choose for your character in Dragon Age: Origins—funny, since Dragon Age was so clearly influenced by the old Infinity Engine games in its own way.
Smaller tidbits: You can still rest anywhere, but the amount you can rest is governed by how many camping supplies you have. Also, there are environmental puzzles to solve. We entered a dungeon late in the demo and saw an enormous one off to the side, before Brennecke ushered us onwards, to a mysterious and massive machine of unknown purpose…
Pillars of Eternity looks gorgeous, and what little writing I could read as Brennecke flew through dialogue options seemed on par with typical Obsidian quality. I have no doubt this game will be great, provided Obsidian can avoid its typical pitfalls—bugs, terminated questlines, et cetera .
That’s a big “if,” but Pillars of Eternity is definitely looking like the CRPG I’ve waited to play for the last decade.
Note: I already saw Pillars of Eternity back in November, and a lot of the basic information about the game was covered in this enormous ten-page interview I did with Project Director Josh Sawyer. I highly recommend it if you’re curious about the game’s inner workings or have any questions.
Enterprise companies are realizing that to be successful at SEO, they shouldn’t only be heavily focused on the technical stuff or at identifying opportunities for growth to build content around.
Companies know that they need people who can communicate to executives effectively as well as with a mix of teams (technical, creative, some who know SEO and some who have no clue), all in the same room at the same time.
In addition, companies are looking for more deeper-level analytical abilities with expectations of understanding SQL, large data sets, and issues that arise from dynamically built sites such as:
Products or content coming and going.
User-generated content on a massive scale.
Throughout my years working in enterprise-level organizations, there are four critical aspects of SEO to balance in order for SEO to be successful.
These are the four pillars of SEO within an enterprise organization.1. SEO Mitigation: Error Management & Technical SEO
I use the word “mitigation” as I have found that a good percentage of an SEO manager’s time in larger organizations is spent identifying issues after a project has been launched.
For instance, having to go back to the engineering teams and request that bugs be filed to make the necessary corrections.
If only the issues had been identified before the launch, then the company could have saved time, effort, and money.
The SEO responsible for mitigation works with the engineering teams as well as project and product managers during the indoctrination of a project and remains involved.
Education is also key as those involved understand the nuances of SEO enough to either ask questions before making decisions or make the decisions themselves, saving the company the time and effort in the long term.2. SEO Analysis/Reporting: Calculating Assumptions & Reporting on Successes
Every company needs to understand how much SEO plays a part in key performance indicators like traffic and revenue.
When it comes to reporting, there are complexities to SEO that other channels don’t have.
Google does not provide referring keywords to a site from organic search like they do for paid search, which makes reporting difficult as data scientists and analytics experts need to stitch data from Google Search Console and other analytics reporting tools to complete the story.
How their SEO is performing.
Which efforts are working.
Where there might be opportunities.
An SEO who can make these calculations and report on the performance to key stakeholders is an important part of the larger SEO piece.3. SEO Project Management: Determining Growth & Managing Projects for SEO
While making corrections and reporting on the successes of the work on SEO is important, so is growth.
Identifying upward trends in searches and gaps that might be present on current or past efforts for SEO is imperative to the success of a good enterprise SEO team.
A project manager is tasked with initiatives identified on a larger scale that impact a large portion of the website, including:
Overhauling design and content on a set of pages.
Driving initiatives for an internal linking plan that affects many aspects of the site.
The project manager in SEO would focus all their time and energy getting teams to commit to delivery dates and keep it all organized throughout multiple teams.
In the end, resulting in revenue growth from SEO.4. Relationship Building: Championing SEO to Stakeholders & Other Teams
The final piece to the SEO enterprise puzzle is the ability to build and engage in relationships across the organization.
I usually recommend that the SEO team begin with the first three aforementioned, and follow through with the relationship-building team members once those are in place and the team is working well.
While the other aspects are being built out by the team, the relationship-building part can come from the SEO team’s manager or director, or instill this into each team member as they engage with others in the organization.
In some cases, one of the SEO team members might be more inclined to work with other teams than the others.
If that is the case, then this person can be tasked with engagement and education until a full-time person is needed in the role.
The goal is to build relationships in engineering, creative, legal, and public relations, among others.
SEO touches every aspect of the organization and will, at some point, require support from one or more of these teams.
Having a good solid relationship with the members of those teams will get buy-in for SEO initiatives faster with more efficiency, ultimately leading to the overall growth of SEO and the company at large.
In 2023, I met with REI and got to understand how they structure their SEO. The team at REI had openings for several positions on different teams within the organization.
The interesting part about these positions is that rather than placing SEO in marketing with the paid search, social media, and email teams, these positions were as program managers.
The roles are defined by the core strengths every enterprise SEO should have. These include:
Communicating effectively across channels and teams.
Evangelizing SEO through education and documentation.
Working with teams to prioritize SEO initiatives.
Reporting for SEO to key stakeholders and identifying opportunities.
Managing vendors (tools, agencies, consultants, etc).
Staying up-to-date with the latest SEO trends.
In a sense, these roles were covering the four pillars in one role as an individual contributor.
As the person in the role becomes successful, teams would then be built out to support each strength.
In the end, this will develop a strong team and presence for SEO that would drive the success of the business.
It seems that some companies have SEO roles and teams that are moving away from marketing and splitting up to subject matter expert (SME) roles, or individual contributor (IC) roles sitting on engineering, content/creative, reporting, and marketing then coming together to communicate from time to time.
Lastly, being able to report revenue, prioritize projects, and communicate that up through the chain.
This is all such a big shift in recent years of how corporate is structuring and visualizing for SEO which is beneficial for the company and the industry as a whole.
Featured Image Credit: Paulo Bobita
WASHINGTON — Though he knows it’s a slow ship to turn, Vivek Kundra is adamant that the federal government will shift its IT infrastructure to the cloud-based model that has been transforming the private-sector enterprise for much of the past decade.
Addressing the subject Wednesday morning here at the Brookings Institution, the country’s first federal CIO voiced a mixture of bewilderment at the government’s failure to keep up with the private sector in cloud computing and resolve to close the gap.
“What I would submit to you is that part of the reason is because we’re focused on building datacenter after datacenter, procuring server after server, and we need to fundamentally shift our strategy on how we focus on technology across the federal government,” Kundra said.
Kundra’s speech came on the same day that the administration hit a milestone in its open government initiative. The Office of Management and Budget had set today as the deadline for all the federal agencies to publish their plans for making data sets publicly available on the Web in a machine-readable format and offering greater transparency into their operations.
But Kundra’s talk today was focused on the substantial cost savings that can be gained by eliminating the staggering inefficiencies in the federal computing model, where he said server utilization rates are as low as 7 percent, a situation he called “unacceptable.”
“We need to find a fundamentally different strategy as we think about bending this curve as far as datacenter utilization is concerned,” he said.
Estimates of the cost savings to be had by migrating to a cloud model vary widely, particularly in the federal government, where much of the material locked in datacenters relates to national security or contains personal information about citizens that wouldn’t work in a Salesforce-style cloud environment.
Nevertheless, Kundra was emphatic that the fiscal benefits of cloud computing for non-sensitive data are substantial. The Brookings Institution today released a study estimating that agencies stand to save between 25 percent to 50 percent of their IT budgets by phasing out private, in-house file servers and moving to the cloud.
As it begins its move toward the cloud, the government is actively courting the private sector to participate in the standards-setting process that will establish certification requirements for security, data portability and interoperability.
“Security is clearly the biggest barrier,” Kundra said. “Data portability is another barrier because we don’t want to lock the federal government into one vendor.”
On May 20, the National Institute of Standards and Technology is planning a cloud summit, offering vendors in the private sector a seat at the table as it begins work on setting cloud standards, which Kundra said is a critical step toward achieving the structural efficiencies he envisions, rather than simply “Webifying our current infrastructure.”
“What this moves us away from is every vendor having to go out there and certify from agency to agency, bureau by bureau, which is going to drive up the costs, and frankly doesn’t necessarily move us to a posture that creates better security,” he said.
Kundra spoke with a certain urgency about the need to move to the cloud, in part due to the rapid proliferation of data that federal agencies are creating and storing. Over the past decade, the number of federal datacenters has increased from 493 to 1,200, and hardware, software and file servers account for more than a quarter of the federal IT budget, according to the Brookings report.
At the same time he is a realist, acknowledging that the hulking federal IT apparatus is not the sort of thing that can be immediately reformed courtesy of an executive order or congressional mandate.
“This shift to cloud computing is not going to happen overnight,” Kundra said. “This is a decade-long journey.”
Kenneth Corbin is an associate editor at chúng tôi the news service of chúng tôi the network for technology professionals.
Tech Marketer Talks: Driving More Revenue with Full-Funnel Marketing – Cisco Sandra Nangeroni
Senior Director, Marketing & Sales Enablement
Share This Post Can you tell us a little about Cisco?
Cisco is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. Today, networks are an essential part of business, education, government, and home communications. Cisco hardware, software, and service offerings are used to create the Internet solutions that make these networks possible, giving individuals, companies, and countries easy access to information anywhere, at any time. In addition, Cisco has pioneered the use of the Internet in its own business practice and offers consulting services based on its experience to help other organizations around the world.How do you think the vendor-buyer relationship has changed?
Customers are more empowered than ever. It’s not the relationship we used to see where they had a preferred vendor, picked up the phone, called and started to plan a project. Today, 67% of the buyer’s journey is digital. Before they even speak to a vendor on their shortlist, they’ve already done a peer validation through social media, looked at white papers, and visited TechTarget sites to research their needs. They’re guiding themselves through the process and are far less reliant on vendors dictating the journey for them.How has Cisco’s marketing adapted to the changes in IT buying behavior?
Given the new buying paradigm, our marketing has had to adapt. At Cisco, we’re trying to evolve to a customer-driven approach by providing relevant Cisco content that will enable decisions in places where the customers are spending most of their time, and then guide them through that journey. When talking about this approach, you will hear us say “low touch is the new high touch.” This means we want to use low touch channels to create a very personalized, experience for our customers that feels high touch. We’re in the early stages of this evolution and as a big company that will take time. Our marketing mix still relies on outbound heavily, but we are constantly evolving towards a digital, customer-centric approach.How has Cisco become more data-driven and how is it utilizing data intelligence into its strategy?
We have 13 million unique visitors per month at chúng tôi and really need to boil that down to try and understand who’s actionable for sales, who’s researching, and at what point we should engage our sales team versus having marketing continue to nurture them. We look at the holistic data footprint of someone and determine what we should do next. Cisco is heavily invested in response creation, but the other half is response management. Once you have engagement, it’s about deciding what to do digitally to continue that journey in a way that provides a good experience for the customer, and ultimately, an actionable lead for sales.How do you translate all of the data for sales consumption and usage?
We have multiple product lines and multiple people at Cisco doing marketing. Lots of people want to own the conversation with a customer. As an example, “IT Manager” is a broad title and one almost every marketer at Cisco wants to reach. Just because this person is an IT Manager, it doesn’t mean they’re going to be interested in servers versus security versus switches. Historically, we haven’t had the ability to personalize that conversation, so we have tried to talk to every IT Manager about every solution that Cisco sells. Having greater access to digital data, we can now personalize that conversation based off of what a customer has expressed interest in. If an IT Manager is looking at Security content on chúng tôi we can keep the message relevant and continue the dialog around Security. We have the ability to listen to what our customers are telling us, interpret it and then act upon it quickly. So instead of just looking at demographics and firmographics to guide the dialog, we want to understand what the customer is actually expressing an interest in and focus there.
One of the most important things for us as revenue marketers is that you can have all of this data and information at your disposal, but the real value is in what you’re able to pass to sales that is actionable and helps them identify, expand or accelerate opportunities. If we can’t do that, then I feel we aren’t doing our jobs effectively.What things are you trying to do differently in your marketing today to better understand what your customers are interested in?
In the past we have tried to take a one-size-fits-all approach with a very diverse set of customers and a diverse set of products.
That doesn’t meet the needs or expectations of today’s buyers. Sales acceleration is a good example of this because we’re taking patterns of behavior on chúng tôi not just an individual event. It’s not just someone attended a webcast or someone downloaded a white paper. It’s what types of pages they’ve been spending time on and how deep into the content they’ve gone. Knowing that helps us to establish a baseline level of engagement. We’re not going to flag the “serial downloaders” to sales because we know that they frequently download Cisco content, but not to enable purchase decisions. We’re trying to take all of these different interactions and put them into a business rules engine to help prioritize where sales needs to engage vs. where marketing should continue to nurture. Once we identify the need for sales engagement, we try and organize that data so that it’s relevant, meaningful, and actionable for our sellersIs there a key driver that helps determine what qualifies for retargeting or continuous marketing?
If we have a 60-70% confidence that a purchase is nearing, then we’ll pass that directly to a sales rep. If we have less than a 60% confidence, then marketing will nurture them using our automation platforms and digital channels like display retargeting and search retargeting.How does content marketing fit into the data-driven marketing that you’re doing?
Everything we do is content-driven – our goal as marketers is to provide the right content, to the right buyer, at the right time. Before we had access to behavior data, the core metric we could optimize content on was a registration. Because this was the primary success metric, everyone wanted to put a registration page in front of everything, which created a really bad user experience.
When registration is the only metric you align around, you end up doing your marketing and content a disservice. We need to use the data we’re collecting to inform and dictate the type of content that needs to be built and then inform how we think it will best be consumed. In other words, if content isn’t resonating and we’re getting 99.9% bounce rates, that tells us it’s not as valuable and we need to rethink it.What metrics do you have in place to track and measure ROI? How do these metrics help in understanding if the investments you’re making are successful? How do you work with TechTarget to strategize and put together a plan that ensures that you’re in the right place at the right time?
We rely heavily on content publishers and technology partners like TechTarget. We get 13 million visitors a month to chúng tôi but if only 12% of B2B buying research happens on a vendor’s website that means the other 88% is happening somewhere else, and we want to be where that is. When you look at partners like TechTarget who have such huge subscriber bases and publish such relevant content, it’s a no-brainer for us to partner with them.
Producing enough content to keep customers engaged is a big challenge and just one of the many reasons we work with TechTarget. Their experts are constantly keeping things relevant and engaging for customers. If our buyers are going to places where content is continuously fresh, we need to be there and part of the dialogue.
TechTarget is able to provide us with data that helps us make Cisco content more relevant and effective –whether it’s for chúng tôi or TechTarget or somewhere else. In the end the partnership, makes all of our programs more successful.How has using IT Deal Alert fit into your overall marketing strategy?
We needed to think outside the box of simply buying names, nurturing them and trying to qualify them to pass those over to sales. Another part of the TechTarget value proposition is their IT Deal Alertâ„¢ Service that directly impacts our sales efforts. IT Deal Alert is based off data from technology segments across their many highly-targeted website properties. It identifies IT buyers who are actively researching on TechTarget sites with real purchase intent. TechTarget wraps all that useful data up in easy-to-use reports that are immediately actionable for our sales teams and channel partners.As you work with different media companies or data solution providers, what is most important?
Full funnel marketing is important to our strategy, and is where we’ve been extremely successful in working with TechTarget. We have a wide variety of audiences we’re trying to reach with a wide variety of messages. The ability to be targeted in our communications in places where IT buyers already are is extremely important.What has your experience been working with TechTarget?
TechTarget helps us to build a strategy that spans from Awareness to Demand Generation and from content marketing to sales-ready IT Deal Alerts. Being able to invest in these areas with TechTarget helps us to drive a cohesive, full-funnel plan, which is something that’s pretty unique to TechTarget.
content marketing, demand generation, inbound marketing, IT deal generation, marketing intelligence, TechTarget
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