The BrightTALK Journey
and why we joined forces with TechTarget
By Paul Heald, CEO, BrightTALK
As you may know, TechTarget combined forces with BrightTALK at the end of 2020. As a BrightTALK founder and CEO since 2002, I wanted to write this letter to the TechTarget community, introduce the BrightTALK story to those who don’t know a lot about us, and share my thoughts about how this powerful combination can benefit you.
You probably know the BrightTALK brand is a webinar and virtual events platform, but we are much more than that. Today, a global audience of over 10 million technology and business professionals opt-in to interact with the content hosted by BrightTALK’s 1,500+ customers on our B2B marketing platform. BrightTALK’s content marketing and demand generation strategies drive pipeline and revenue growth for our customers and professional insights and business solutions for our audience.
Nearly 20 years of building BrightTALK has taught me that success comes when our team perseveres through the improbable (and even the impossible), working with our customers and partners as we tackle the challenges we experience on the way. The most audacious goals have in the end created our success today and will continue to do so going forward.
Let me share a few of our stories to demonstrate.
First Fully Automated Webinar Platform
In BrightTALK’s early days, we set out to create a company leveraging emerging Internet video technologies to educate “bright” professional people with technical “talks.” Our first clients came from financial institutions. We found a niche market connecting asset management firms such as JP Morgan and BNY Melon with their principal customers: financial advisers. These were the early days of webinar technologies and our experiences led to a period of rapid innovation, including being the first in the market to launch a fully automated webinar platform.
Knowledge as Currency
On the back of our early success, we moved headquarters to San Francisco in 2006 to define a business that would compete with large teleconference platforms like Cisco Webex (or more recently Zoom) and marketing-focused webinar platforms such as On24. This was also a period of rapid growth for BrightTALK in the B2B technology market. Our goal was to help B2B solution providers by not only hosting their webinars and virtual events, but by providing an engaged audience hungry for professional insights and business solutions. We conceived brighttalk.com as a B2B marketplace with knowledge as the currency of exchange.
Launching any marketplace requires time and significant investment to build critical mass. Our strategy was to build professional communities in a wide range of focused IT disciplines like cloud computing, security, and artificial intelligence as well as business applications like MarTech and HRTech. In the early days, virtual events were our secret sauce: our way of attracting thousands of professionals onto the platform and thus into the marketplace.
Surprising synergies resulted from the breadth of communities we tackled. For example, enterprise IT vendors sought to reach healthcare companies or reach beyond the typical IT buyer to influence the financial decision-maker in a buying committee. As synergies grew between the communities on BrightTALK, the topics covered expanded rapidly and communities started to self-generate from overlapping technologies and industries. For example, our coverage of virtualization, cloud computing, and storage technologies led to some of the earliest big data events to hit the market.
Driving Buying Team Breadth and Engagement
Our marketplace formula continued to thrive in terms of both audience size and engagement. The number of professional communities grew and reached critical mass, scaling 50-100% every year. We learned how to target our audiences with machine learning algorithms to match professionals with the content they wanted and our customers who wanted to reach them. We launched Ada, our AI tool for recommending content on BrightTALK, and with it our ability to accurately promote content to the ideal audience.
Fast forward to the present, where BrightTALK’s commitment to continuous innovation has successfully engaged over 10 million professionals with tens of thousands of webinars each year, as well as hundreds of premium virtual events, running 24 hours a day on a global basis. Our IT buyer community is doubling every year; and our customers, now more than 1,500 strong, continue to build their interactive content presence while engaging, influencing, and generating pipeline with in-market buyers.
Our Mutual Strengths Underwrite Your Competitive Advantage
But this is not the end of our story.
In December 2020 BrightTALK joined TechTarget, the leading provider of 1st party purchase intent data. TechTarget’s unique insight into purchase intent comes from its commitment to quality content from its team of 150+ editors and registered professionals across its network of 140+ B2B websites.
TechTarget’s content depth and breadth, and its community of IT and business professionals, mirrors that of BrightTALK with one key difference: The learning style preferred by the TechTarget community leans heavily towards the written word in contrast to the video style preferred by the BrightTALK audience. Only 13% of our audiences are the same, despite the overlap in communities. This tells us that together we can reach all members of the buying committee, not just the written-word learners or visual/interactive learners. One engagement stat says it all: In 2020, IT researchers spent more than 2.8 million hours interacting with independent and vendor content on the BrightTALK platform.
As we look forward, we see many ways to catapult the BrightTALK experience to a new level. Applying TechTarget’s vast editorial experience to virtual events taking place on BrightTALK is just one example. Extending the content formats on brighttalk.com to include written materials and connecting our communities to accelerate the growth in critical mass are all enticing prospects that our teams are working on today. As we progress forward together, customers of both companies will continue to benefit from our mutual commitment to innovation and the many ways we’ll combine forces to deliver value. Together we will help you access and engage with IT buyers actively researching purchases in your market, influence all members of a company’s buying committee, understand and leverage purchase intent like no other platform, and accelerate your ability to grow your business. There are many great adventures to come!