IDG Rebrands as Foundry

IDG Communications, which acquired four data and MarTech firms over the past 18 months, rebranded as Foundry (Foundryco.com).

‘’We set out to deliver on a strategy that reinvents our business for a new era in technology marketing where data and MarTech are engineered to work seamlessly together, powered by our global ecosystem of editorial brands,” said Kumaran Ramanathan, President of the newly named Foundry.  “However, to pivot, to reinvent you sometimes have to turn away from the very things that previously defined you and the long-standing equity in our name, synonymous as one of the world’s biggest media companies ultimately limits our ambition and ability to be identified as a marketing technology powerhouse.’’

Earlier this month, IDG acquired Marketing-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform Selling Simplified.   The Denver-based vendor provides lead generation products, data services, and analytics.  It also maintains a database of 160 million B2B records “specific to tech industry purchase intent.”  The acquisition added contact and account-level AI-powered lead generation capabilities to IDG’s expanding suite of intent-based marketing technologies.  IDG is moving quickly into the B2B MarTech space, having recently acquired ABM Platform Triblio, visitor intelligence vendor KickFire, and intent platform LeadSift.

“We meet with tech companies, marketers, sellers, and agencies every day and in every market around the world,” said Jason Tenenbown, Chief Strategy Officer of Foundry.  “What we’ve found is a growing disconnect between sales pipelines and marketing funnels.  Our strategy has been to leverage our proprietary data with proprietary marketing technologies to bridge that gap, creating an outcomes-based set of products and services that satisfy the needs of our clients.”

IDG Communications was founded in 1964.  It remains a wholly-owned subsidiary of IDG which is best known for its 200+ technology publications, including CIO, ChannelWorld, Computerworld, CSO, Network World, PCWorld, and TechHive.  Its digital publications provide a stream of second-party intent data “with access to more than 200 million individuals and global behavioral insights that are authenticated, timely and, contextually relevant.”

“No one else has first-party media relationships integrated with marketing technologies to help create an ecosystem that resolves customer pain points,” added Ramanathan.  “With the rebrand of IDG as Foundry, we are establishing ourselves as a company that generates and innovates with data.  While the new brand marks the completion of a major milestone in our corporate transformation, we will not stop innovating and building upon our recent success.” In a corporate branding video, Foundry emphasized that “those operating at the intersection of media and technology will have the edge.”  Furthermore, “MarTech without data simply does not work” and “campaigns without technology are limited in their ability to provide measurable return on investment” and are “hard to scale with real-world impact.”

IDG Acquires LeadSift

Technology media company IDG Communications acquired Halifax-based intent data vendor LeadSift.  LeadSift identifies a daily digest of in-market leads, “allowing B2B marketers to craft the appropriate messaging for outreach and sales follow-up resulting in robust new business opportunities.”

Over the past eighteen months, IDG has been assembling elements of a MarTech solution, having acquired

  • Triblio – Acquired in 2020, The Triblio ABM platform supports account-based advertising, website personalization, sales activation, orchestration, and intent-based audiences.  Triblio is integrated with Marketo, Eloqua, HubSpot, LinkedIn, Salesforce, MS Dynamics, and Salesloft.  In addition, Triblio recently added a Smart Score that employs AI for account prioritization.  The Smart Score uses first and third-party intent, website activity, and CRM data “to identify what accounts should be prioritized for sales outreach.”
  • KickFire – Acquired in September, KickFire provides a cookieless, privacy-compliant visitor id service (first-party intent) that de-anonymizes website traffic at the account level and enriches it with firmographics.
  • LeadSift – LeadSift captures third-party, cookieless intent data at the account and contact level.  Each week it captures 80 million intent signals.  The LeadSift database spans 20 million companies and 30 million contacts.  Customers can create custom triggers based on keywords, job postings, and competitor names.

KickFire and LeadSift are complementary intent services. KickFire identifies in-market buyers on a company website, and LeadSift determines which companies are in-market based on B2B media search activities.

IDG also recently launched a second-party intent data service called IDG Neon that leverages B2B Media interactions with “verified data from personal interactions with technology audiences across events, conversations, and surveys.”  Intent data is gathered from the nearly 45 million global B2B technology purchasers and influencers registered across its proprietary network of digital tech publications.

Neon captures branded conversations, event attendance, roundtable participation, conversations with event sponsors, and individuals posing questions at event sessions.  This level of “deeper engagement” indicates “stronger intent.”

IDG brands include CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, Macworld, Network World, PCWorld, and Tech Hive.

“Expectations of tech marketers have never been higher as the technology landscape continues to become more competitive.  By positioning IDG at the intersection of media and MarTech, we help B2B marketers navigate the customer journey across a dynamic ecosystem by leveraging unmatched data sets.  LeadSift’s technology is further enhancing our unique intent data that drives ROI for our customers.”

IDG Communications President Kumaran Ramanathan

“The buying journey for B2B technology purchases are extremely complex and involve multiple decision-makers,” said LeadSift co-founder Sreejata Chatterjee.  “Having a view into those intent signals at the contact level provides a massive competitive advantage and directs your sales team to engage with the right buyers at the right time.”

LeadSift was founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2012, focusing on “mining information from public web sources to help businesses identify and engage their customers in the buying journey.”   They were an early proponent of intent data, recognizing its value before it became a core element of ABM programs.

“It is obvious the company that has the most depth and breadth of data wins the B2B demand generation space,” wrote Das and Chatterjee to their customers.  “IDG.com being the #1 Tech Media company with troves of proprietary first-party intent-data across event attendance, engagement with editorial articles, branded conversations, and human-verified insights has a massive head start.  Imagine how scalable and actionable our intent signals will be once we integrate our 3rd-party real-time web-based intent signals with this proprietary first-party intent data stream.”

IDG, based in Boston, provides LeadSift with global reach and access to enterprise customers.  It also offers complementary intent data sets and the Triblio marketing platform for activating the intent datasets.

“3rd-party intent data is one piece (albeit a very important one) of the overall B2B marketing and demand generation puzzle,” continued Das and Chatterjee.  “But what if you could know all the information about your first-party web visitors (IDG | KickFire), cross-reference and prioritize them with 3rd-party intent signals (LeadSift + IDG proprietary first-party data), activate them seamlessly across digital channels (IDG | Triblio), and run highly targeted lead generation programs, all from one single dashboard!”

IDG sees itself at the intersection of media and MarTech.  However, it is not the only tech media vendor playing this angle. For example, TechTarget and Ziff Davis also combine B2B media assets, events (TechTarget’s are digital), multiple categories of intent data, and activation platforms.

“IDG’s goal of moving to the intersection of media and MarTech is to help B2B marketers navigate the customer journey across a dynamic ecosystem by leveraging unmatched data sets,” stated Ramanathan.  “LeadSift’s technology is further enhancing our unique intent data that drives ROI for our customers.”

Account-level intent starts at $12,000 per year. 

Last week, they launched LeadSift 360, a contact-level intent service that supports both keyword and research-based intent signals gathered from over five data sources.  LeadSift360 starts at $30,000 per year. IDG did not disclose deal terms.  LeadSift’s management and staff of fifteen will continue to operate in Halifax.

TechTarget Priority Engine Adds KickFire Visitor Intelligence

TechTarget Benefits
TechTarget Benefits

TechTarget Priority Engine has begun integrating first-party intent data with its proprietary third-party intent intelligence.  First-party intent data enhances account rankings and insights.  According to TechTarget, “Marketing and sales teams will now be able to leverage this new intelligence to get to the right accounts and prospects faster, increasing conversions and accelerating pipeline.”

Priority Engine launched three years ago with TechTarget’s firmographics and third-party intent derived from its 140 enterprise technology media sites.  The new data includes Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) matching, vendor website engagement, and customer content and advertising across the TechTarget network.

First-party website intent is available through a partnership with KickFire.

New account intelligence and tools include

  • Personalized account rankings based on first and third-party intent data
  • ICP definition and filtering
  • Enhanced qualification intelligence including buying stage, ICP match, and confirmed projects
  • Improved engagement signals such as account website visits, content downloads, and banner clicks
  • Recent activity indicators.

“TechTarget has always focused on delivering ROI,” said Michael Cotoia, CEO, TechTarget.  “These new updates now make it even easier for our customers to close deals faster by helping them find the prospects that are directly in their sweet spot.”

Other recent product enhancements include opted-in “Project Insiders” and “Confirmed Project Details” that have been validated by project insiders.

Priority Engine has been deployed at over 400 customers including Oracle, Citrix, IBM, HPE, and AWS.

Ringlead B2B DaaS

Ringlead was a pioneer in the B2B DaaS space and continues to support batch and on-demand company and contact intelligence.  They began building matching algorithms for duplicate cleansing and prevention in 2004 and joined Salesforce’s AppExchange as an early partner.  RingLead’s algorithms are used to connect third-party databases for data appends.  The firm now provides a broad set of B2B DaaS hygiene and enrichment services including data cleansing, standardization, normalization, de-duping, segmentation, routing, and appending services.  Users can upload lists to their cloud service or perform ongoing updates to enterprise software platforms.

Prior to enriching records, RingLead performs a set of validation and standardization steps which both enhance the data and improve match rates.  Names and addresses are standardized, emails are validated, and customer-specific mapping logic such as revenue bands and industry sectors are applied.

Sales Ops and Marketing also have control over duplicate matching logic and data consolidation rules.  Field-level rules help determine which fields are retained when records are merged or whether fields should be concatenated.  When records are enriched, admins can set fields to always be overlaid or enriched only when null.  Over 100 company and contact fields are supported.

RingLead provides enterprise software connectors for Salesforce, Eloqua, and Marketo.  Several others are in development.  For marketing automation platforms, they provide JavaScript which is dropped into lead forms and which provides company suggest logic for immediate matching.  Records are validated upon submission and immediately enriched.  Duplicate checking is also performed.

In Salesforce, duplicate logic is employed during record creation and as a batch process.  RingLead supports Account, Contact, Lead, and Custom record data enrichment and I-frame display.

When routing leads, sales operations can distribute by name, industry, geographic territory, size, or other field-based logic.  Leads are assigned to current account owners.  If a lead is new and does not match any pre-defined assignment rules, round-robin assignment is employed.

Ringlead Capture
Ringlead Capture

RingLead offers both its own master database of companies and contacts and API access to data from other B2B and B2C vendors with admin-defined waterfall rules.  Cascade selection provides a broader set of fields as well as secondary and tertiary vendors which can be called if the primary is unable to enrich a record.  Third-party records are standardized so that data is normalized and displayed consistently across all record sources.  Custom segmentation rules are also employed and duplicate prevention logic is applied across all of the vendors.  Marketing can even prospect against multiple vendors in RingLead with records de-duped and standardized.

RingLead is shifting its focus from being a data vendor to facilitating a data ecosystem.  “There is no company that should use a single data provider,” said RingLead Chief Product Officer John Kosturos.  “We are giving customers the ability to get the best data all the time.”

Data partners include

  • Company – Owler, DatabaseUSA, LexisNexis, NetWise, KickFire, and Dun & Bradstreet resellers
  • Contact – Google, Bing, FullContact, NetWise, PIPL, StatSocial, Informatica, Oceanos (TechTarget), and Clearbit
  • Technographics – HG Insights and Clearbit

A customer may have a license with a data vendor, but choose to pull the data through RingLead enrichment or prospecting.  Customers pay the data vendor for the data license and are charged only for API calls by RingLead.  Cleanse and Enrich have volume-based pricing based on the number of supported records.

Pricing begins at $2,000 per month, “far less than it would cost to hire a person to try to manage these processes manually,” said Kosturos.

While the core functionality is designed for marketing and sales operations, the DMS Capture Chrome extension (see image on right) allows sales reps to conduct real-time company and contact research from LinkedIn, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Google, or company pages.  Capture sends records to over twenty platforms including CRM and Sales Engagement vendors.  Standardized records can be sent to Salesforce as Accounts, Contacts, or Leads.  Duplicate records are flagged.  Over 75 standardized fields are available including emails, direct dials, LinkedIn hyperlinks, Twitter handles, firmographics, and technographics.  When performed against Google search results, LinkedIn lists, or Executive Pages, a list of matched contact profiles is displayed and may be uploaded selectively or in bulk.

Customers include CA Technologies, HP, Uber, Capital One, BNY Mellon, and the New York Stock Exchange.

What Is Intent Data?

Bombora Intent Data Collection Model
Bombora Intent Data Collection Model

I am beginning a monthly series entitled What Is where I provide an overview of one of the underlying sales and marketing intelligence technologies or processes being deployed at B2B firms.  I will begin with Intent Data.

Intent Data is one of the three informational elements of B2B Lead scoring (the other two are Fit and Opportunity).  Intent data consists of first, second, and third-party elements and identifies when companies are actively researching specific product categories.  First-party data is captured in your marketing automation systems and web logs.  Typical first-party intent data includes

  • Web Logs
  • Webform Submissions
  • Email Clicks
  • Downloads
  • Page Views
  • Webinar Attendance
  • Trade Show Booth Visits

In short, if somebody is viewing your website, reading your collateral, meeting with you at a tradeshow booth, or attending your webinars, then he or she is displaying purchase intent.  Of course, not everybody doing so is a potential purchaser, but a high percentage of individuals digitally interacting with your firm are somewhere in the buyer’s journey for your products and services.

“The case for intent data is clear. If only 3 percent of the potential buyers for any given product or service are in the market at any given time (while 40 percent are poised to begin and 56 percent aren’t interested), identifying and focusing on those buyers, and those close behind them, is the key to efficiency and effectiveness in revenue growth. That’s been the Holy Grail of marketing and sales for years. After all, how many times have you heard a sales rep say, ‘If I’m sitting at the table, I win more than my fair share of deals. Just get me to the table!’

That’s the promise of intent data. And practice shows it’s more than just a theory. Fifty-percent increase in close rates and an 82 percent reduction in sell-cycle have been attained.”

Buying Guide: From the Black Box to Revenue Metrics – Translating Buzz into Results,” IntentData.io.

Unfortunately, intent data is often anonymous.  Unless the individual submits a web form, you are most likely limited to an IP address.  As B2B visitors are usually accessing your platform from a corporate IP address, it is possible to tie the IP address to the company and at least associate the activity with a company.  Companies such as DemandBase, Bombora, KickFire, Clearbit, IntentData.io, Zoominfo, and Dun & Bradstreet offer Visitor Intelligence services to map IP addresses to companies.  Along with the company name, they enrich the visitor intelligence with firmographics such as location, size, and industry. Some vendors include technographics as well.

Real-time visitor intelligence can assist with the user experience. By providing immediate firmographics, websites can be immediately customized based upon size, location, or industry.

As visitor intelligence is beginning to feed chatbots, it is possible to prioritize customer support and sales queries. As bots become more intelligent, they will digest the firmographics and customize the conversation. Likewise, ABM customers and prospects can be given priority over non-targeted prospects. If these teams are verticalized, chats can be routed to specialized teams.

External third-party intent data is provided by vendors such as Bombora, The Big Willow, and True Influence.  External intent data is gathered from B2B Media websites that evaluate topics of interest across their network and determine which topics are of interest to companies.  Interest is gauged by articles viewed, white papers downloaded, searches performed, case studies read, etc.  Generally, each company is baselined by topic with interest determined with respect to the baseline.  A surge of interest takes place when short-term interest in a topic is well above the baseline for the company.  Intent data is generally delivered as a numeric score by topic with companies licensing the topics of interest.  As intent is determined at the corporate level, it works best in lead scoring. One limitation of third-party data is you don’t know which individuals are researching specific topics.

TechTarget Priority Engine provides technology specific second-party intent at the individual level along with contact information, buying stage (early or late based upon content viewed and downloaded), and key influencers (companies of interest).  TechTarget is focused on Technology topics across its 140 media sites.  TechTarget is considered second-party intelligence because it owns the content directly and contacts have opted in.  It also offers first-party intent data through KickFire

G2.com (FKA G2Crowd) is another well-known source of second-party intent data. G2.com is a technology review site, so site traffic is highly associated with company and product research.


Additional Resources:

Openprise Expanded Data Marketplace

Data Orchestration vendor Openprise expanded its Data Marketplace with the addition of seven new vendors: Dun & Bradstreet, Oceanos, DiscoverOrg, KickFire, Acxiom, Cognism and People Data Labs.  The Openprise Data Marketplace is a third-party data mart which assists with “onboarding, ingesting and normalizing data” into major platforms such as Salesforce, Marketo, Eloqua, Microsoft Dynamics 365.

“Our customers benefit from having access to accurate and complete B2B marketing data – from verified account and contact data to organization charts to intent signals and buying scoops,” said Katie Bullard, DiscoverOrg Chief Growth Officer.  “The depth of our data gives sales and marketers a 360-degree view of target accounts and contacts, and our integrations ensure that data is always fresh, complete and up-to-date.”

“Openprise users can now incorporate Oceanos‘ contact hygiene and provisioning solutions directly within their automated processes to improve their demand generation and Account-Based Marketing initiatives,” said Oceanos’ CEO Brian P. Hession.  “Our API wraps five leading hygiene vendors into a single solution, further amplifying the benefits marketers realize.”

Openprise Content Partner Network
Openprise Content Partner Network

Openprise assists with cleaning and normalizing customer data, assesses match rates, recommends new data providers, coordinates data processing, and unifies data across systems.

John Donlon, Senior Director of Marketing Operations Strategies at SiriusDecisions, called acquiring and standardizing high quality prospect data as “one of the biggest challenges marketers face” and “critical” to implementing the SiriusDecisions Demand Unit Waterfall.  “Any technology that can facilitate that will give organizations a huge leg up not just in understanding their target audience, but in driving meaningful interactions throughout the buyer’s journey.”

Openprise claims that no single data vendor can provide superior data than their platform.  They also warned that a multiple vendor strategy is often ineffective due to industry content white labeling, resulting in little incremental value.  “With our Multi-Vendor Enrichment Strategy Service, our customers know quantitatively how each incremental vendor’s data will improve their database and they have the processes in place to easily integrate new data in a way that conforms with their existing data policies.”

The Openprise platform supports data onboarding, data cleansing and enrichment, data unification across systems, and data delivery.

Other members of the marketplace include ZoomInfo, InsideView, Salesgenie (Infogroup), Orb Intelligence and Synthio.