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Nicolas Athanasopoulos
Nicolas Athanasopoulos
Nicolas Athanasopoulos is head of digital strategy at OneSpin Solutions, one of the fastest-growing software vendors in the electronic design automation (EDA). Born into a generation of digital natives, Nicolas has his finger on the pulse of change when it comes to state-of-the-art marketing … More »

Technology Marketing for the Digital Age

 
April 10th, 2018 by Nicolas Athanasopoulos

Note from Bob Smith, executive director of the ESD Alliance: I’m traveling this week and turned over my EDACafe blog post to OneSpin’s Nicolas Athanasopoulos. Nicolas and Breker’s CMO Dave Kelf graciously agreed to do a Digital Market Workshop for ESD Alliance members and anyone else interested in learning best practices for inbound-driven digital marketing. We hope you will join us Thursday, April 26!

Digital transformation is a frequently used buzz-phrase for all kinds of digitization processes. While talking about the potential challenges and opportunities for this mighty “digital age,” a lot of people forget that for marketing in particular, it arrived a long time ago. Almost all target groups that you may want to address today are affected by smartphones, using online research, and probably active social media users. And, for sure, this development applies to the electronic design ecosystem.  For this reason, it’s mission critical for the marketing, sales, operations and communications groups of companies offering goods or services to the electronic design community to adopt the recent changes as fast as possible.

Back in late 2016, when OneSpin’s CEO Raik Brinkmann offered the opportunity to build up a digital strategy for OneSpin from scratch, I already had a clear impression about the products around formal verification. I knew how we could target prospects in the digital environment using search engines, social media or newsletters. However, the EDA industry was fairly new to me. Coming from 3M where I successfully established a customer-centric approach to its corporate digital marketing, I was used to technically driven marketing with strong unique selling propositions that grant you by definition a competitive advantage and low emotional engagement.

What I experienced at 3M was that traditional B2B marketing was replaced more and more by new communication channels through rapid changes in the customer’s behavior. Many of the previous one-to-one relationships with decision makers within the buying process that traditional sales formerly relied on are shifting to one-to-many relationships. Simultaneously, B2B buyers are becoming increasingly savvier with technology. In fact, 50% of B2B search queries today are made on smartphones and people tend to constantly multitask across multiple screens.[1]

I can’t speak for the last 10 years of development in technology marketing but what I observed in my first months after starting at OneSpin was similar to problems all high-tech B2B companies are facing. In the “good old days,” you could set up a solid sales force and orchestrate a machinery of cold calls to win new prospects that get later converted into long-lasting customers.

The preferred choice for getting in touch with your company significantly changed. Even if you generate prequalified leads by investing a huge budget for a conference, the chance of an answer to a follow-up call and the resulting conversion rate into a customer is almost non-existent.

Entering EDA with a fresh view to disrupt traditional marketing techniques

Probably it was by intent that OneSpin’s management hired somebody without any background in the EDA business to establish such a disruptive strategy. Right from the beginning, the overall goal was clearly defined – establish a proper funnel to automate the generation highly qualified leads. We all were convinced that this could be only achieved through the use of digital channels, properly integrating traditional marketing techniques and disrupting the ones that did not deliver the desired results in the past.

Therefore, I started an extensive audit and based the foundation of our digital marketing on an inbound-driven strategy. In contrast to push-marketing tactics, this approach relies on the intrinsic interest of the target audience and does not invade their viewports, mail inboxes or answering machines. Simple as that, all you need is solid and customer-driven content that is engaging enough that people are willing to sign up. After that initial conversion, marketing automation mechanisms kick in to further nurture the leads until they are ready to get contacted by our technical or sales staff. During the complete nurturing process, we as a company stay very much in the background and let the prospects educate themselves about our products and solutions.

The backbone of building such a sophisticated funnel, is a solid data-driven decision process that involves a variety of analytics to detect where the most engaging customer touchpoints are actually based. In our case, we had great success with an equal mix of organic traffic, social media, and paid search through AdWords campaigns to acquire new users. These have been routed to dedicated landing pages that have been optimized to drive a maximum of conversions or, in other words, qualified leads. All of this obviously required a carefully evaluated tool stack for analytics, social media, and content management.

Sharing the best practices in my upcoming workshop sponsored by the ESD Alliance

For more than one year, this inbound-driven digital marketing has been in place at OneSpin, indeed with great success. And as word spread very fast in this close-knit industry, I was introduced to Bob Smith, who heard about our new approach of doing marketing in EDA. After an initial meeting in August 2017, the idea for an industry-wide awareness workshop sponsored by the Electronic System Design (ESD) Alliance was born.

Now, on Thursday, April 26, in Milpitas, Calif., I will co-host together with Breker System’s CMO Dave Kelf a 3.5-hour workshop dedicatedly to sharing best practices for inbound-driven digital marketing in EDA. Starting at 7:30am with breakfast, the whole morning will be structured in four dedicated sessions:

  1. Intro – Tech marketing in the digital age
  2. Inbound – A strategic model for digital marketing
  3. Digital marketing – Tactics that fit for EDA
  4. Case study – Digital marketing at OneSpin

After attending this workshop, you should have an idea of how inbound lead generation works and why it’s the best fit for the new opportunities through digital marketing tactics. Moreover, we will give you sophisticated guidance on the best tools on the market to execute such strategies. In a final case study, we will unveil metrics from a real digital marketing campaign at OneSpin that took place last year and had great success.

As is usual at ESD Alliance events, seats are limited and we’re expecting a huge demand from Alliance members and from the industry in general. Full information is available at:  https://bit.ly/2pvDqlL

About Nicolas Athanasopoulos:

Nicolas Athanasopoulos is head of digital strategy at OneSpin Solutions, one of the fastest-growing software vendors in the electronic design automation (EDA). Born into a generation of digital natives, Nicolas has his finger on the pulse of change when it comes to state-of-the-art marketing technology. After cutting his teeth at leading global agency WPP Holding, where he developed digital media strategies for accounts like Barclays, Ubisoft, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Nicolas went on to curate business-to-business experience in the digital unit at 3M.

Nicolas holds a master’s degree in Media and Communication Management from Mediadesign University of Applied Science for Design and Information Technology. His thesis, “Digital Customer Centricity,” explored the theoretical integration of a customer-centric approach into 3M’s existing digital marketing strategy.

[1] Think With Google (2017): https://bit.ly/2ywOp4K

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