For B2B tech marketers, it's crucial to understand the real value of the technology you're promoting - whether it’s a simple consumer product or a complicated enterprise service.
The real trick of technology marketing is learning a subject (one which may be completely foreign to you) quickly and efficiently. When that subject is a complex technology tool or service, you might feel lost trying to comprehend everything there is to know.
While I can’t give you a crash course in your client’s work—only they can do that successfully—I can offer 10 tips for every B2B tech marketer to help them optimize their approach.
1. Timing is Everything
As quickly as the technology industry evolves and grows, timing is everything. When researching any topic related to technology, or when sourcing a statistic or fact, it’s crucial to ensure you’re looking at the most current information available.
Always check the dates of studies and surveys. Even something published a year ago might not reflect the current reality of the industry. If a stat is pertinent to your whitepaper, blog, etc., and you can’t find the same stat for the most recent year, a good rule of thumb is to not go back more than two years or to qualify the data with a disclaimer.
2. Curate Content
Keeping tabs on the industry will help you curate the best content from thought leaders, customers and other important figures. Taking in a great deal of information from all of these sources can inspire your marketing efforts in other areas. Curating content will also provide a fuller picture of the technology industry and how it’s talked about in different channels.
First, you need to learn how to listen on social channels (primarily Twitter and LinkedIn), which content to pay attention to (influencers, competitors), and how to use it.
For example, once you’ve been promoting curated content for several months on social media, you can see which posts received the most clicks, and then develop blog posts on similar topics.
3. Create Buyer Personas
Personalization is seen as the key to unlocking prospects and creating conversions. Creating a buyer persona is the first step in targeting inbound marketing content for personalization purposes. Creating a persona involves getting to the root of who your customers are, how they behave, where they look for information and how they make purchasing decisions.
Technology might be a challenging area to create specific buyer personas for, but if you look at the types of customers who need your product or service, you’ll discover the little things that separate one persona from another.
4. Follow Big-Name Sources
As with any industry, it’s crucial to follow the news about what’s happening in technology. This provides fodder for content ideas, raises awareness of trends and informs you on competitor activity.
Just like journalists and news junkies follow The New York Times and the Associated Press for the beat of what’s happening in the world, technology marketers should follow certain publications for similar business reasons.
Beyond the online experts, such as TechCrunch, PC Magazine and CNET, you can also keep up with technology-focused sections of major publications like The Wall Street Journal, Wired and CIO. These outlets, among others, cover all aspects of technology from cloud solutions to cybersecurity to consumer goods.
5. Know the Influencers
As you invest time and energy promoting your clients across social channels, you’ll find thought leaders and influencers. Listen to what they have to say, participate in conversations they start and develop a mutual awareness. This builds trust and credibility with your customers. If all goes well, you can even invite these influencers to write a guest post, co-host a webinar, or become an advocate for your client.
6. Learn the Terms
There is nothing worse in technology marketing than not using the appropriate terminology. No one expects you to know these terms when you’re starting, but they will expect you to learn them, and how to use them as you become aware of the space and target audience.
The more exposure you have to the industry, the more naturally this terminology should come. It also helps to do your research and study the terms and so you can wrap your head around their meaning.
There might terminology specific to your client’s company, or just general terms used widely in the industry. Also, look out for acronyms or terms that may mean different things – and can be differentiated based on the industry context.
For example, a CMO in the business world (as you well know) is a Chief Marketing Officer, but in the healthcare industry it stands for Chief Medical Officer. Those involve very different qualifications and responsibilities; let’s face it - it would be embarrassing to get them mixed up. The same goes for tech terminology. Be vigilant of what you and your client are talking about.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
The best way to catch up to speed on any topic is to ask questions. Ask as many as come to mind - and more. As topics get more complicated, the questions you ask your client may help them realize how a “layman” is viewing and comprehending their products and services.
Even if a question seems obvious, simple or stupid – you should still ask it. No one should fault you for trying to grasp concepts in your own way. No matter how confused you are or how well you think you get something, keep asking questions. It only leads to more insightful content down the line.
8. Understand the Competition
This is key to any marketing strategy, but in the tech sector, understanding the competition helps differentiate your client in your mind and to your customers. Seeing what other companies offer can make your client’s features and benefits more obvious. Creating and monitoring a Twitter List that includes your competitors, or even signing up for their newsletters, are two easy ways to start.
9. Take Advantage of Existing Content
Unless a company is starting from scratch, repurposing existing content is an excellent tactic to first understanding the topics and voice of your technology client, and then replicating that with success.
Technology companies love webinars and presentations. Request access to these, get inspired and use them as a springboard to create more content. Moreover, these can often provide a more human side to the technology your client is selling, which only helps you when translating technical information to the average customer.
10. Know the Difference Value vs. Specifications
Technology depends on technical specifications in a customer’s purchasing decision. The smallest detail can be the deciding factor, so it’s vital to never underestimate the importance of this information. However, a great marketer practices the balance between using these specs and a company’s value proposition. Knowing your audience helps tailor your message with these approaches.
Now that you have some tips and tricks for marketing technology, you can enter the game.
As a B2B tech marketer, promoting products and services isn’t much different than marketing other industries, but it’s essential to be vigilant of what technology customers, whether consumers or big enterprises, look for in their content and messaging.
Originally published Apr 4, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated August 29 2017