2018 Guide: Content Marketing for Tech Buyers

Content Marketing for Tech Buyers: Nuances Between Attracting Product & Services Leads

By Experience-Driven Strategists, Creators and Executors

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Many companies have high expectations for their marketing. They may also want to run before they walk, without taking the necessary steps that generate consistent leads. But the most effective, lucrative marketing can’t be turned on and off. Random acts of marketing don’t fill your pipeline.

In fact, it takes six to eight touchpoints just to qualify a lead, according to Salesforce. Dr. Jeffrey Lant believes you must contact your buyers at least seven times in an 18-month period before they remember you.

Marketing that consistently harnesses multiple touchpoint opportunities keeps your sales pipeline full. It leverages content to attract your specific tech buyer throughout their journey. And that buyer journey starts well before you discover a sales lead.

There’s a substantial period when your prospects are doing their homework on topics relevant to your service or product. They’re learning and forming opinions before you can identify who they are. This is the stage in the buying process when prospects are most open to your knowledge and guidance. But many companies fail to take advantage of this opportunity.

The 5 Effects of Content Marketing

Big brands fortunate enough to lean on their name and stable of sales reps often have an advantage on smaller firms. Yet, even the biggest industry players are smart enough to share content along their prospects’ buyer journeys. By accommodating modern buyer behaviors, content marketing supports your sales efforts by:

  1. Demonstrating industry thought leadership
  2. Establishing trust and credibility with your target audience
  3. Raising brand awareness and reinforcing your values
  4. Building valuable target audience data and pipelines
  5. Validating your offering, eliminating the “hard sell”

How your unique business leverages marketing content is dependent upon your industry, audience, and offering. But there are distinct marketing differences between service and product companies. While the following tactics may be best practices for one offering versus the other, your business could benefit from any of the outlined strategies.

Marketing Your Technology Service

As a services firm, you typically endure long sales cycles, building relationships over time. Your differentiators may be your insights, customer successes, approach, and/or project methodologies. But prospects don’t consider these values until the sales process begins.

Your prospects rarely use search as their main source to find service companies. They search for content that guides their strategies or compares different solutions. Original content that answers these questions positions your brand as subject-matter experts. When the time comes to assess service providers, your company should be a natural consideration.

Using content to raise awareness

  • Blogs, guides, whitepapers, and infographics are common forms of educational content. That same information is valuable material for equally-effective speaking engagements – opportunities where your target audience and influencers are readily gathered.
  • Strategic partnerships can fast-track your lead generation. If you’re a product integrator or solution provider, you can attract prospects at your partners’ user conferences, webinars, and podcasts. Product companies benefit from a demonstration of their solution’s value, and you get exposure to a new, relevant audience.
  • Third-party publications and online resources are paid partners that can also expose your content to new prospects.

Marketing Your Technology Products

Search engine marketing has played a big role for product companies. Your audience is searching for as much information about products that can solve their problems. This is especially true of solutions that automate business processes. Whether you’re selling cloud applications or devices, you need to boost your visibility amidst the murky sea of competitors that may offer many of the same product features.

Using content to differentiate your product

  • Online demonstrations can be a powerful way to quickly compare your competitive features to similar products. The “under-the-hood” approach allows your prospects to imagine how your product would address their needs. Take it a step further by offering short trial periods, which give your prospect a better feel for your user experience.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns that promote feature comparison guides or other valued content are equally effective. Offering an unbiased look at how your industry collectively solves common problems will position you as a valuable resource. And ultimately, that trust may be the difference that wins your business.
  • Syndicating your content on third-party trade publications or sending materials to contacts of other relevant databases helps you tell your product story to an unfamiliar audience. Rather than buying or renting cold lists, you’ll benefit from the brand trust a publication or online community has already established.

Using Content to Continue Nurturing Leads

Even after your marketing content converts leads and fills your sales funnel, content continues to play an important role. Remember, prospects become customers after seven or more touches. And there’s valuable content to provide at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Providing case studies, explainer videos, or other relevant content helps you strengthen your prospect relationships and build a brand of trust and leadership.

Efficient marketing and sales teams create automated lead nurturing campaigns, strategically following up on leads who may not be ready to buy today. They evaluate trend and activity reports to gain intelligence on each lead and optimize their future follow-up.

Content is the heart of effective marketing. The question is: are you doing what it takes to achieve consistent success?

Talk to us and explore your marketing opportunities.

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Rebranding & White Paper Help Deliver Better, Clearer Message

Recently we led a rebranding initiative for Integress, a management consulting and IT services firm founded in 1998. They specialize in helping mid-sized organizations overcome challenges in collecting, sanitizing, integrating, analyzing and leveraging accurate data to make smarter business decisions.

A shift in message to lead with business outcomes for the C-suite

The company, who is armed with extremely smart IT strategists and data scientists and architects, did not have an edge on its competition because what they were doing—but just not saying—was that they are helping organizations monetize their data for increasing revenue and profit, improving operational efficiency, and realizing new revenue streams. This started to get the attention of prospects, first validated in a formal focus group of CxOs and CIOs. Their new tagline, “The Data Monetization Company.”

A plan to use an epic piece of content to overcome preconceptions

The term “data monetization” was first associated almost exclusively with selling and trading data to attract and enrich partner relationships. Recent innovations like master data management, modern BI tools, and advanced analytics, provided organizations with new ways to monetize their enterprise data as noted above. Industry analysts have started to tout the full value of data monetization, but the market is lagging in their grasp of the concept. A white paper titled, “Enabling Data Monetization: A Playbook for Handling Common Challenges,” was produced to discuss the leading challenges and offer tips to better prepare for successful projects. This educational content is helping Integress:

  • Support the sales process without a “hard sell”
  • Accommodate today’s B2B buyer behaviors
  • Demonstrate relevance and thought-leadership
  • Establish trust and credibility with sales targets
  • Repurpose the asset for demand gen/web
  • Reinforce their brand and feed its awareness engine
  • Build targeted database, audience, and pipeline
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B2B Tech: The Remote Marketing Cubicle Celebrating 15th Year

700x400_tme_linkedIn-15 Year Celeb

Crossing into 2000 many small tech firms and dot com startups hit the wall, racing fast for an IPO or acquisition. This left doubt and trust issues with many tech buyers. It took time to shed the residue, but the ones that survived refocused their companies to grow, NOT flip.

Many of these small companies were left underserved with marketing due to budget constraints—something me and my colleagues saw firsthand during our corporate days. We also saw how mergers and acquisitions spawned many business units that required high volume marketing at a pace that could not be maintained.

Enter TME’s Remote Marketing Cubicle in 2003, a unique marketing management engagement model that offers an affordable employee-like alternative to growing internal resources. We are pleased to celebrate 15 years partnering with early and next stage tech firms who sell software and web apps, hardware and devices, and professional services.

TME was founded to provide an alternative to these 5 recurring problems we had faced:

1. Traditional agencies act like bees on honey, drive-up windows

We saw how small businesses would operate in survival mode due to budget and resource limitations. As a result, they turned marketing off-and-on “as needed”, thus taking a scattershot approach. A traditional agency is happy to indulge this need without learning the client’s business and sales process or commit to results.

At TME we believe success can only be achieved through strategic thinking, planning, and action—integrated marketing is a must. We created an affordable fixed fee engagement model that enables early and next stage businesses get what they really need—a dedicated, proactive day-to-day marketing manager that brings an experienced voice to the table to generate demand and support sales. This resource is then supported by a diverse team of creative processions that execute programs and deliver results. All of this is provided for less than the salary of one employee and without the overhead.

2. Small tech business leaders were burdened with developing content

We often saw how small businesses rely on a jack-of-all-trades approach with every resource wearing many hats. Many times presidents and CEOs would find themselves having to temporarily shift focus to create a marketing asset or sales tool when they really needed to be steering the ship. Instead, TME converts leaderships’ vision and goals into strategic plans and positioning. While leadership stays focused, we work opportunistically to create content, feed marketing channels, and generate demand with measurable marketing tactics.

3. Sales and marketing teams operated on separate islands

Time and again we saw how marketing was used for isolated immediate sales needs—create a brochure for one, specific meeting, setup an event, send out a press release, etc. At TME we preach sales and marketing alignment—the teams must work in concert to be effective. We also insist that content has a purpose and that purpose should be demand generation. We align with sales by clarifying where are roles start, overlap, and end. With an explicit sense of our respective and shared roles in the sales process, we can be more efficient and successful.

4. Subject matter experts were untapped goldmines of valuable insights

Understandably, SMEs most often spend their days head’s down working on the task at hand, dedicated to the smallest technical detail. Whether or not they realize it, in doing so, they are generating the exact nuggets that marketing needs to access to feed marketing channels with relevant, timely content. Without the right process in place becomes time-consuming or even impossible to unearth that value. We have created and refined a collaborative approach that enables us to extract SME gold without burdening their limited time.

5. Many big thinkers, not enough know-how to execute marketing

We saw too many meetings and no results because resources are haphazardly kicking the can down the hallway rather than taking proactive accountability for next steps. At TME we can translate business vision and mission into a concrete, strategic plan. We come to the office every day knowing exactly what we are working on and where we are headed. And because we bring an external perspective, we help clients get out of their own way with focused, measurable programs delivered by TME’s experienced marketing professionals.

If any of these barriers sound familiar, Talk to Us.

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B2B Tech Myth #4: SME’s Should Remain Head’s Down in Development Mode at all Times

Your subject matter experts (SMEs) are a veritable goldmine of untapped resources that marketing should leverage. Understandably, SMEs most often spend their days head’s down working on the task at hand, dedicated to the smallest technical detail—especially those focused to innovate technology such as software and web apps, hardware and devices, and professional services. Whether or not they realize it, in doing so, they are generating the exact nuggets that marketing needs to access to feed marketing channels with relevant, timely content. Without the right process in place becomes time-consuming or even impossible to unearth that value. We have created and refined a collaborative approach that enables us to extract SME gold without burdening their limited time.

TME’s Remote Marketing Cubicle was founded in 2003 to provide an alternative to recurring problems like this—something me and my colleagues saw firsthand during our corporate days.

If these barriers sound familiar, Talk to Us.

B2B Tech Myth #1: “Drive-up Window” Style Marketing Creates Demand

B2B Tech Myth #2: Small Business CEOs Should Devote Time to Creating Marketing Content

B2B Tech Myth #3: It’s OK for Sales and Marketing to Operate on Separate Islands

B2B Tech Myth #4: SME’s Should Remain Head’s Down in Development Mode at all Times

B2B Tech Myth #5: Big Marketing Thoughts Inevitably Lead to Action

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B2B Tech Myth #3: It’s OK for Sales and Marketing to Operate on Separate Islands

Time and again we see how marketing is used for isolated immediate sales needs—create a brochure for one, specific meeting, setup an event, send out a press release, etc. This is transactional marketing—a tactical drive up window per say.

Offering one-off sales support flexibility is good, but marketing should focus 70-80% of its time on deploying proactive, integrated tactics that attract new prospects at the top of the sales funnel captured in a CRM, then help motivate those prospects along the B2B buyer journey from a MQL to a SQL ready for hand-off to Sales. (Make sure everyone is using the same lead management terminology!) Alignment is critical for the growth of the company.

We also insist that content has a purpose and that purpose should be demand generation. We align with sales by clarifying where are roles start, overlap, and end. With an explicit sense of our respective and shared roles in the sales process, we can be more efficient and successful.

TME’s Remote Marketing Cubicle was founded in 2003 to provide an alternative to recurring problems like this—something me and my colleagues saw firsthand during our corporate days.

If these barriers sound familiar, Talk to Us.

B2B Tech Myth #1: “Drive-up Window” Style Marketing Creates Demand

B2B Tech Myth #2: Small Business CEOs Should Devote Time to Creating Marketing Content

B2B Tech Myth #3: It’s OK for Sales and Marketing to Operate on Separate Islands

B2B Tech Myth #4: SME’s Should Remain Head’s Down in Development Mode at all Times

B2B Tech Myth #5: Big Marketing Thoughts Inevitably Lead to Action

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