TechTarget Much Better Positioned to Withstand Recession than in 2008

Technology Sales and Marketing Services vendor TechTarget ($TTGT) believes it is in a much stronger marketplace and revenue position than in 2008, the last recession not caused by a pandemic. It has shifted away from economically sensitive brand revenues to a “robust product suite, which allows us to address the evolving needs of our customers.”  As a result, brand revenues have declined from 30% of total revenue to 10% since 2009.

TechTarget is fundamentally much stronger than in 2008.  It has trebled its revenue over the past fourteen years and doubled its Adjusted EBITDA margin.  In 2009, the firm had virtually no long-term contracts; now, 42% of revenue is associated with longer-term contracts.  Other positive signs: TechTarget has grown its customer base from 1,000 to 3,200 customers and is much less reliant on legacy global customers, reducing its revenue share from 32% to 20%.  Furthermore, its largest customers have shifted from hardware to cloud and software vendors with subscription customers.  Whereas its top customers in 2009 suffered revenue downturns, its current customer base is more likely to struggle to grow revenue than to suffer declining revenue.

“The modernization of the sales and marketing organization is a strong and durable trend.  It is hard to compete in today’s IT market without a data-driven go-to-market strategy,” argued CEO Michael Cotoia on TechTarget’s Q3 earnings call earlier this month.  “As the leading provider of first-party purchase intent data in the enterprise IT market, we will continue to benefit from this trend.”

Priority Engine

Priority Engine, its subscription sales intelligence platform, grew revenues by 15% last quarter.  TechTarget will continue to invest in Priority Engine after doubling the number of engineers working on the product in 2022.

In 2023, Priority Engine will further bolster its Salesforce integration with “bi-directional data flow, campaign orchestration from within Priority Engine, additional program impact reporting, market insights to inform marketing and sales outreach, and alert-driven account and prospect intelligence for our sales users.”

Priority Engine also plans to ingest Salesforce data for analytics dashboards around ROI, open pipeline, and won/lost opportunities.   The dashboards will answer the question, “how do we set up our sales reps within our customers’ environment to make the most appropriate and relevant follow-up?”

“We also want to make sure that we are working with our customers to provide more insights across their total campaign with TechTarget, both on the sales side and on the marketing side.  So, what you’re doing with their lead generation and demand gen, their content, their branding, the visitors on their website to really bring that end-to-end view into Priority Engine to help fuel and help modernize…both sales and marketing.”

TechTarget CEO Michael Cotoia

The firm sees significant opportunity for growth in TechTarget’s sales-specific module, which is still in the early adoption phase as it was rolled out less than a year ago.

TechTarget does not break out the number of customers licensing Priority Engine or the Priority Engine sales module.  However, CFO Daniel Noreck said that the module is “growing nicely but still a small base.”

More broadly, the firm has 3,200 customers, but there are over 18,000 global technology companies with at least $50 million in annual revenue, providing plenty of market opportunity. 

“We believe most of those companies are good candidates for the Priority Engine sales module,” stated Cotoia.  “While we expect that our rollout to those customers will be slowed by macroeconomic weakness in the short term, we think the long-term opportunity is enormous.”

Content to Close

TechTarget’s fastest-growing service is Content Enablement which powers its Content to Close strategy.  In conjunction with its customers, TechTarget produced content “to fuel their marketing and sales outreach.”  The service is aligned with the growing focus on self-service research among younger purchasing and business professionals.

“Most technology companies’ current go-to-market strategy is very sales rep heavy. We believe this approach is going to need to transform in the coming years to adjust to the changing buyer dynamics.  The companies that win business will have a comprehensive content strategy to effectively influence buyers before their sales reps get involved.”

TechTarget CEO Michael Cotoia

The acquisitions of Enterprise Strategy Group (“ESG”) and BrightTALK have “uniquely positioned” TechTarget to support growing self-service requirements.  Content Enablement via these subsidiaries will continue to be an “aggressive” investment area.

TechTarget also believes it has a market advantage due to its opted-in, privacy-compliant intent data sets gathered from its B2B media websites and BrightTALK.  Cotoia argues that customer sensitivity to privacy issues and growing government regulations will offer an ongoing competitive advantage for its intent data from permission-based audiences owned and operated by TechTarget.  This advantage “will become even more apparent when Google eliminates third-party cookies.”

TechTarget will continue to look for acquisitions like BrightTALK and ESG that expand the firm’s product capabilities.  It is also interested in acquiring vertical media companies like Xtelligent Healthcare that expand the firm’s TAM into verticals that share similar attributes as Enterprise IT: significant purchase price, complex buying process, long lead times, and large buyer teams.

Healthcare Intent

TechTarget recently integrated XTelligent Healthcare intent into Priority Engine, creating a sales intelligence solution for HealthTech and Healthcare.

Priority Engine for Healthcare Highlights for Top Accounts.

Priority Engine for Healthcare supports over 400,000 opted-in healthcare contacts, including Providers, Health Systems, Payers, Pharmaceuticals, Life Sciences, Accountable Care Organizations, and Federal/State Healthcare Agencies.  TechTarget claims that 90% of the US healthcare system is covered.  Xtelligent said its audience contains “70% Business & Finance Executives and Clinicians who have critical involvement across healthcare technology purchases that are becoming increasingly complex.”

To demonstrate confidence in the company, TechTarget began a new stock buyback program to repurchase up to $200 million in common stock and convertible debt over the next two years.