Hurray! Peter O'Neill here, and it’s great to be back in my home office for a couple of weeks after some hectic weeks of travelling. During the last weeks, we’ve hosted research reviews in several cities; we met over a hundred tech channel professionals to match our 2012 research agenda against their topics of interest; there has been other client business; and we held our latest Marketing & Strategy Forum in London. This is the third year that I have been involved in our EMEA Marketing Forum, always in London. Perhaps we might want to go somewhere else in 2012 — there are already so many marketing events in that city, and I’ve noted that over half of the attendees were from outside the UK. Please let me know if you have any ideas of where to meet.

I am also waiting here at my desk with bated breath for the preliminary results of our latest Marketing Organization and Investment (MOI) survey — I cannot wait to see how things have changed since our last marketing-spend benchmarking exercise last year. Our team wrote several reports off the Q1 2011 survey (e.g., I discussed how European tech marketing is different and why) showing how tech marketing executives were spreading their resources among eight different categories. In the next quarter, in addition to updating those reports, we also hope to be able to be able to map and understand the marketing differences between small, medium, and large tech vendors.

In recent months, we’ve had a last look at the Q1 2011 MOI data and were able to make several significant calls about how top-performing vendors (those with a growth rate of 10% or more over their market segment peers) have been investing compared to the average performer. We have been using these slides in our Marketing Forum presentations as well as in our published reports.

Tim Harmon, in his report on channel engagement platforms, showed that top performers engage their channel in many more ways than just the sales process. My most recent report discovers that top performers plan and execute that tech marketing perennial — webinars — differently than their peers (see below). They use them to promote thought leadership in the awareness phase of the buyer’s journey — much more than just presenting their products: the standard webinar agenda (says this analyst who presents in about 15 tech vendor webinars a year).

 Stephen Tucker, from Saepio, wrote me to point out that webinars work in the selection phase as well. He says: “We attempt (but don't always succeed) to have two webinars in the second month of each quarter … one a client case study and the other presented by an entity or individual that reinforces our company as a good decision for the preferred vendor status.”

Thanks for the additional insight, Stephen.  Agree? Disagree? Need more details? As always, I’d love to hear from you on this and other topics.

 Always keeping you informed! Peter