Over the years, we have worked with some great technology businesses that have developed innovative and at times disruptive technology solutions. The issues they faced when marketing their business/ technology were strikingly similar. These issues seemed to arise irrespective of whether the founders were undertaking the marketing themselves, or whether they on-boarded a marketing resource or outsourced to a marketing agency.
The common themes we have witnessed which underpin why technology firms struggle with marketing, particularly B2B marketing are:
- Buried in technical jargon – Technology firms usually tend to talk about their product or solution in technical language/ jargon that only people in their world understand. This technical jargon does not always resonate with their buyer and creates confusion. As a result, they don’t get any engagement with the buyer by talking in a language that the buyer does not understand.
- Focusing on functions and features – Inevitably these businesses have invested heavily in the technology solution and the development of that solution has emerged by prioritising the functions and features that they believe the market needs/desires. This ‘specification’ is translated directly into the marketing collateral because the business is so close to the technology solution. While buyers may shortlist solutions that meet their functional requirements, that is rarely enough to convert the sale, typically because the buyer doesn’t understand the value delivered, as it is not communicated at all. Watch this video to understand how focus on features and functions results in lost business opportunities.
- Selling the solution – In the marketing and sales processes, it is not uncommon for technology businesses to focus on how great the technology solution is and pushing for the sale. They fail to focus on the problems the solution addresses for the customer. This sales mentality can be seen on the website, sales/ marketing collateral and even comes in business development meetings.
- Assuming buyer needs – Technology businesses, having developed solutions for a specific need frequently fall into the trap of assuming that a defined set of prospects that fit the criteria to have that need are potential buyers. The flaw in this concept is that buyers may not realise they have this need, so offering the solution becomes pointless. Instead firms need to educate their buyers to enable them to understand the need and require a solution.
- Marketing failing to bridge the gap between technology and the buyer – This is typically a marketing resource issue. We have heard that time and again from clients about their previous marketing resources (internal or agencies). “They couldn’t get their head around our technology” or “We had to explain how it works every time we spoke about it and they would still get it wrong”. To facilitate technology sales, marketing has to bridge the gap between the technology and its potential buyers by educating and communicating the value for the buyer. This requires an ability to understand the buyer’s world and translate the technology into relevant marketing messages that resonate with the buyer.
Technology firms value marketers that really ‘get’ technology. It makes their job a lot easier and brings them more success. With the right marketing partner(s) on board, firms can avoid all these common pitfalls.
As a specialist B2B marketing agency, the ability to understand complex technologies and to translate them into compelling buyer value propositions is a real strength at Shaping Business. Get in touch to learn more about our experience and expertise in marketing for technology firms and the results we have delivered for them.