Marketing in general can be a bit of a beast. Every company knows they should be doing it, but every company struggles with determining what methods work best for them.
This is true of all companies, no matter their size. Fortune 500 companies struggle with what marketing strategies work best, just as startup companies do. And the fact that the marketing landscape changes on a nearly daily basis doesn't help the situation.
Companies with especially complex solutions, such as those within the technology space, have an even harder time marketing to their customers because they need to convey the intricacies of their solution, which often requires a lot of existing knowledge in their field, to a consumer with an average attention span of 8 seconds.
So rather than tell you what marketing tactics you should do, I'll provide you with 4 marketing mistakes that most companies make, with the last one being the most commonly made mistake by tech companies, in the hopes that you can learn from what not to do.
1. Content Does Not Have Customer Top of Mind
As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, The Most Important Detail in Marketing Your Early Stage Company, knowing who your target customer is is essential to successful marketing. Know them inside & out. Know them as well as you know your own product and understand what makes them tick.
You may be rolling your eyes at this point because if you've ever read ANYTHING on marketing, you've heard this before - and you probably have a really good sense of who you are targeting already anyways. However, I want to cite this mistake because too often I find that companies lose focus or become distracted (or lazy) and start repurposing content that already existed without tweaking the messaging to relate to their target customers and their pain points.
For example, I had a technology client that I was executing a B2B marketing campaign for. In the midst of the campaign, the client came to me with their newly created whitepaper, which had loads of great new content on how their tech solution worked for the B2C market. They asked me to include this whitepaper as part of the content being promoted in the B2B campaign because they didn't want to put a separate budget behind promoting B2C content. Unfortunately, the whitepaper didn't resonate with any of the B2B targets we were reaching because it highlighted solutions to issues that weren't relevant to them.
2. Marketing Too Many Messages
Your technology product may offer a lot of different solutions, but that doesn't mean you need to tell everyone about the many wonderful things your product can do for them. Providing your customers with too much information or with too many options leads to confusion and ultimately forgetfulness.
Message your brand with extreme clarity. Keep it simple, keep it focused, keep it direct. If your product solves a variety of problems, pick the largest one and focus on that. If you want to provide info about the other benefits your product offers then list those on your website, but keep your outward facing messaging focused on one message. This will help you stand out in your customer's mind as a company that clearly solves X problem, and they will remember you when they need that problem solved.
3. Inconsistent Marketing
Consistency is key to seeing results from your marketing efforts. If you send out 3 emails in a week and then wait 5 months to follow up you probably don't (or shouldn't) expect to hear anything back. Be sure that whatever marketing tactics you decide to do, do them on a consistent basis. Make yourself a schedule and stick to it. Don't let the ball drop or it will take exponentially longer for the results to pick up again.
This is why when my clients have told me in the past that they need to cut all marketing spend, I tell them to at least keep paid search running, because going dark there can take a long time to build back up again if they had already been doing it for some time.
Same is true of your social media presence and/or your blogging efforts if you aren't doing any paid media. Keep your messaging consistent so that you stay in front of your audience on a regular basis.
4. Not Enough Content on How Your Product Integrates
While the previous 3 mistakes are fairly broad and can be committed by any company, and most are, this mistake is one that technology companies are notorious for making.
Because your products are so complex, it is likely that you'll need to produce more content than others industries in order to accurately portray what your solution does or how it varies from competitors. This means in-depth whitepapers, distilled demo videos, and lengthy slide shows.
However, one piece of content that often goes overlooked is an easy-to-access, detailed piece of content on how your product integrates into your customer's existing tech set. When the IT Professional at a target account (read my earlier article on why the IT Professional is the one with the real purchasing influence) puts together a consideration set of solutions, one of the most influential pieces of information for him/her in adding your product to their short list is how easily and efficiently your product fits in with their existing framework. In a recent media consumption report 50% of polled IT buyers stated that they downloaded content on implementation tips & tutorials when researching their latest IT purchase. If you don't have this information available for them to access, your chances of making their short list go down since they'll likely go with those solutions that they know they can implement.
Also, including a gated piece of content on your website that provides information on how your product can be integrated will help you build a set of leads that are closest to making a purchase decision.
If you are familiar with these mistakes and would like to learn what marketing tactics would work well for your company instead, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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