Informa Takes Stake in OEM Partner Totem

UK-based events and intelligence company Informa announced a pair of transactions. The bigger of the two, its acquisition of B2B content syndication vendor NetLine, was covered in my blog earlier this week.

Informa also announced that it has taken a stake in UK event tech company Totem, an existing partner of its Informa Connect division.  In April, the firms launched ConnectMe, a bespoke licensing of Totem’s platform to support Informa’s virtual and hybrid events.

“With the launch of ConnectMe with Totem, Informa is preparing itself for the next stage in the events experience, one in which we can seamlessly curate and blend the physical and virtual, ensuring the two are complementary, not competitive. 

ConnectMe will ensure that we can cater for varying levels of audience readiness to re-enter physical spaces by ensuring that neither physical nor virtual audiences feel they are excluded from a truly optimal experience.  In 2021 and beyond, that is the service we aim to achieve, and ConnectMe will help us to do it.”

Informa Connect CMO Isobel Peck in April

Informa Connect hosts in-person and virtual events and training, online communities, digital content, and marketing services for the Finance, Biotech/Pharma, and other specialist markets.

“Totem has been an important partner over the last 18 months, and we’re pleased to be deepening this relationship,” said Informa Connect CEO Andrew Mullins.  “We want to keep enhancing our in-person events, adding smart features, technologies, and apps that give our customers an even better experience.  With Totem, we have a partner that is equally committed to outstanding experiences and bringing new innovation to events.”

Wrapping digital intelligence around trade shows is a logical extension of the digitization of sales and marketing. Live events came to a halt in 2020 and are still reeling, but in 2022 we should begin to see them re-emerge. Events should be hybrid, with digital content sharing from the event floor to virtual attendees.

Event attendees also should improve data capture. Loading a trade show scanned file from the exhibition floor has always been subject to delays, with reps following up a week later (if at all) to determine whether there was interest. Calendaring service Chili Piper recently announced Chili Events for setting up trade show meetings prior to an event and follow-up meetings with reps directly from the floor. It is a matter of striking while the iron is hot.

Informa did not disclose the pricing for either deal or the extent of its investment in Totem.

Informa Acquires NetLine

Informa, a UK-based intelligence and events company, acquired B2B content syndication vendor NetLine Corporation, adding audience development, buyer-level intent, and B2B digital demand generation capabilities.  The firm also announced that it had taken a stake in Totem, its OEM partner for ConnectMe, a virtual and hybrid event solution.

NetLine will join Informa Tech, “one of the world’s largest providers of intelligence, industry forums, and marketing services to the tech industry.”  Informa Tech supports over 250 global events, 40 media publications (e.g., Information Week, ITPro Today, Network Computing), newsletters, research (Ovum, IHS Markit | Technology, Heavy Reading, and Tractica), and training.

NetLine’s B2B content syndication lead generation network reaches more than 125 million unique visitors per month and processes more than 700,000 leads monthly.

Back in July, NetLine rolled out Lead Management Platform, a SaaS solution for capturing B2B leads and amplifying marketing content.  The Lead Management Platform, initially developed for tier 1 B2B media companies, supports centralized lead capture, qualification, routing, and analytics tied to amplification campaign capabilities.  The Lead Management Platform requires no coding, allowing marketers to quickly test and rollout white-labeled gated content.

“The platform is entirely focused on helping marketers more efficiently translate their gated content experiences into more efficient outcomes,” explained NetLine’s Chief Strategy Officer David Fortino to GZ Consulting in July.  “If and/or when the Marketer has the need to increase lead volume beyond what their own channels can support, they can simply convert their inbound oriented campaign already built within the interface, add a budget, and tap into NetLine’s audience for on-demand scale.  No IOs, no negotiations, no phone calls.  Simple on-demand access to [the] largest B2B lead generation platform on the web.”

NetLine immediately matches visitors against its 52 million global B2B contact database (60% US) via cookies or email addresses.  In addition, lead forms are both customizable and dynamic, allowing companies to specify which information is to be captured and dynamically removing fields in its form display.

NetLine claims that over 70% of its audiences are immediately recognized so that there is zero or limited typing required.  Most users will be required to enter only five to seven fields, a significant reduction in data entry versus traditional and non-predictive forms.  And because data entry is reduced, abandonment rates are lower, generating a higher return on marketing spend.

The lead forms are content-form agnostic.  A common format can be deployed against all content, including webinars and virtual experiences, resulting in a standard data capture format for all content categories.  Forms are also customizable, supporting both basic themes and white-labeled user experiences that match corporate templates.

When a form is submitted, NetLine auto-generates confirmation emails and shares data with enterprise software platforms, including Salesforce, HubSpot, Eloqua, Marketo, and ON24. In addition, dynamic filtering removes leads that are poor candidates from being distributed to downstream systems.  As a result, the content is fulfilled, but low-quality leads are not passed downstream.

The Lead Management Platform lets marketers amplify content to targeted audiences with an open auction CPL pricing.  Marketers “simply convert native campaign, add budget, and gain immediate access to the largest volume of content-generated B2B buyer-level data on the web, where more than 700,000 first-party leads are generated across more than 300 industries each month.”

Amplification is targeted, with ads displayed based upon geography, company size, function, and level.  Marketers may also upload company names or domains for targeted ABM campaigns.

CPL pricing begins around $4 per lead, subject to a monthly budget.

“Before today, B2B Marketers needed at least a handful of technologies to run their lead gen programs: software to capture, enrich, scrub, filter, fulfill, report within their own sites and an entirely different suite of vendors to amplify their content beyond the reach of their inbound forms,” said Fortino in July.  “Now, B2B Marketers can do it all with one simple self-service interface. Whether they want to centralize lead capture or create a hub for qualification, routing, analytics, and companion content amplification campaigns, the platform does it all, allowing B2B Marketers to reduce their costs while simultaneously becoming more efficient in the process.”

A free version supports up to five campaigns and 100 leads per month with dynamic forms, integrations, and reporting.  The Standard version, priced at $49 per month, supports 50 campaigns, 500 leads per month, and custom colors and styles.  For enterprise marketers, the Pro edition, priced at $199 per month, supports unlimited campaigns and leads, fully customizable branding, and one custom domain with unlimited sub-domains.

Both monthly and annual pricing are available, with annual pricing discounted by 20%.


Continue to Part II covering the Totem investment.