TechValidate: Marketing Content that Writes Itself

What single hurdle keeps B2B marketers from achieving the best possible results from inbound marketing, social media, and lead nurturing? It’s content. (Or rather, it’s LACK of content.) Without a consistent stream of compelling, original, relevant information to offer, landing pages fail to convert visitors to leads, blogs wither, and lead nurturing programs are a fraction of what they could be if only they had the right content to power them.

In circumstances like these, I am occasionally guilty of telling clients that “content doesn’t write itself,” but it appears I may be mistaken. TechValidate is an intriguing Bay Area start-up, co-founded by some of the same folks who brought you StumbleUpon, whose aim in part is to provide B2B marketers a constantly renewing stream of relevant, research-based content without those marketers having to write so much as a word of copy. (Think of it as “Marketing Content Automation.”) I had occasion to meet with the company’s principals recently, and came away excited about the potential their service offers for turbo-charging our clients’ online marketing and lead nurturing initiatives.

TechValidate is a Web-based service that automates the collection and presentation of customer evidence for use in marketing and sales. In essence, the service enables your customers to provide both qualitative feedback and quantifiable data (based on metrics relevant to your market or category or brand objectives), whilst preserving customer anonymity. It then verifies that data and automatically generates case studies, charts, statistical information, and customer anecdotes, all segmented by vertical or other category, that a client can use as sales tools or marketing assets.

techvalidate quantum case studySay you market a security solution that protects ecommerce Websites from outside attack. How many of your customers are willing to go on record about the results they’ve achieved with your product? Answer: not many. (They may as well as rent a billboard that reads: “Hackers: Bring it On.”) TechValidate’s Web survey-based methodology neatly skirts these issues, collects and categorizes the customer data, and presents it ready for publication and distribution in a variety of marketing- or sales-ready formats. (For example, to the right is a sample case study generated by TechValidate for Quantum.)

Do you work with customers in industries (e.g., financial services) notoriously protective about their internal operations? Do customers’ legal departments tie up references or customer case studies for weeks, if not months? Need to quickly and forcefully respond to a competitor’s claim with third party-validated data to back it up? Tired of paying thousands to third party experts to report exactly what your customers would say if only they were allowed to? TechValidate can help.

Imagine if you could segment every track in your lead nurturing program by key industry. Even the most savvy tech marketers don’t, not because they don’t know it’s the right thing to do, but because they don’t have the unique content to offer prospects in all those different markets. Not a problem. TechValidate reports one client who, after just one “send” to their customer base, instantly generated more than 50 case studies, all segmented by vertical.

TechValidate charges on an annual subscription basis, with no limit to the number of customers surveyed, or number of assets created. If you walk away from their service at the end of the contract, the assets are yours to keep permanently. Otherwise, those assets continue to refresh and renew over time, giving you current, compelling, credible content to help your demand generation, installed base marketing, public relations, social media, search marketing, and lead nurturing initiatives attain their full potential.

5 thoughts on “TechValidate: Marketing Content that Writes Itself

  1. Ardath Albee

    This is an interesting concept, but I’m not clear that this is “compelling” content. Basically, it’s a list of feeds and speeds and some statistics without much context.

    This said, I think the service could contribute the background around which “compelling” content is developed.

    The problem I see is that there’s no way for a prospect to equate this information to their situation. There’s no “how,” no real world situation that helps a prospect visualize themselves accomplishing the outcomes stated below. And, without that supporting information, those benefits look a bit too good to believe because an 80% improvement means nothing without a benchmark to compare it to, for example.

    But it’s an interesting idea that could streamline the content creation process, reducing the time and effort it takes to do so.

  2. Howard Sewell

    Hi Ardath,

    I agree with you that this type of content is in no way equivalent to a more extensive white paper or research report. (In fairness to TechValidate, the sample content included in the post is not the only format they offer.)

    However, I also believe quite strongly that there is absolutely a role for this type of content in demand generation and lead nurturing. Not every offer, after all, has to be the complete story, or the one piece of information a prospect would need in order to decide whether or not to invest in a particular solution. Additionally, this kind of real-world customer data is extremely hard to come by, for the reasons stated in the post. Granted, I write this without having much experience to date with the TechValidate content, but for me, the applications that jump most quickly to mind are:

    * enabling vertical segmentation in lead nurturing tracks
    * enabling more effective vertical campaigns in general
    * “beefing up” demand generation offers by complementing white papers, Webinars, and other self-authored content with real-world, third party data
    * providing the foundation for other, more informational content (for example, taking the data and wrapping it in analysis and commentary to create a white paper)

    Does this mean you’ll never have to write a piece of marketing content again? No, not by a long stretch. But to your last point, for some companies it could help streamline the content creation process considerably, and more importantly, increase the effectiveness of demand generation and lead nurturing initiatives.

    Howard

  3. Ardath Albee

    Hi Howard,

    Thanks for your response. I agree with your points, my basic concern was that people not think that this is the “answer” to content development. I think it could be a great way to augment related content – per your examples.

    I also agree that the information is hard to get and time intensive to collect, and even more so to use, given some customer’s approval process. Using unnamed customers not only helps to solve that problem, but contribute great intelligence that will help marketers become even more relevant in their communications with prospects.

    Ardath

  4. Brad O'Neill

    Hi Ardath,

    I appreciate the candor of your comment. I totally understand that in just seeing a standalone short-form case study with no other context, the real impact of what we have here might create a bit of a question mark… “That’s nice, but so what?”

    First, I do want to reiterate what that Howard is correct: our goal at TechValidate is not to replace the creation of ALL marketing content, but only to bring the direct experiences of real customers into the vendor’s outbound activities in an efficient and scalable manner. The tech vendors who use us commonly report that we unearth targeted customer data that they would never have discovered on their own and therefore wouldn’t have been able to use to educate their new prospects.

    The example Howard has in his post is an intentionally short-format document. Many of our customers use these successfully in the context of a portfolio of similarly targeted assets to demonstrate quick “proof points” for industry-specific specific questions that their prospective customers often ask (e.g., “do you have any other small health care companies like us using your product?”)

    Please note that the app generates many, many more kinds of data and deliverables — including statistics, charts, and testimonials — all of which are auto-generated and can be provided to the public. For example, here is a link to an actual live page that one of our customers, 3PAR, currently has running as the offer in a nurturing campaign: http://www.techvalidate.com/site/product-research/3par-utility-storage

    In addition, our assets often reside in widgets on vendor websites, sales presentations, outbound emails, partner sites, or get linked to off of social media applications.

    All of that said, I’m the first to admit that we’re not for everybody. If a company does not have real pains around the time and costs associated with generating sufficient depth or quantities of marketing assets to support their sales or demand generation activities, we’re simply not a good fit.

    Brad O’Neill
    CEO, TechValidate Software

  5. Ardath Albee

    Hi Brad,

    Thanks for taking the time to respond to my comment. I appreciate it. I also appreciate the example link you posted. That puts some context around the possibilities.

    I also don’t know one company that can say they’re not challenged to create compelling content continuously.

    I can see how the information TechValidate generates would be extremely useful as additional components to both marketing and sales activities, especially given the different formats possible.

    Ardath

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