Feb 03 2014
True value of technology has to be communicated simply and effectively
Contexts relevant to the technology marketeer — audience profiles, industry segments, scenarios in which technology will be used and cost models — change continuously. Business needs, individual preferences and decision making patterns change as rapidly as the technologies themselves. The marketing cycles and product life cycles have to converge. Scorching pace of technology innovation mandates that marketing becomes the driver of product evolution. “Constant launch” means that whether it is engineering or marketing, the ‘innovate and validate’ churn is continuous.
Technology decisions that businesses make are increasingly driven by how individuals/end-users use technology. More and more consumer technology is entering into the business environment, and the adoption and value realisation of any technology is dependent on how these individuals experience technology.
Therefore, technology marketing cannot focus merely at the point where technology is bought or sold. For technology to be of real use beyond the “bling effect”, its true value has to be communicated simply, effectively, and with clear regard to how individuals make decisions, whether for their personal lives or their business lives. Technology marketing begins with this insight. It incorporates an enlightened view of marketing so that it encompasses identifying, building, communicating and realising the value of technology. Technology marketeer should be able to understand and combine the complexities of technology and the nuances of marketing to enable audience targeted communication, and adoption and value realization of technology. For a technology company, focused on innovating and developing high quality product, the evolution from instinctive approaches to an institutionalised process of technology marketing can be arduous.
In this endeavor, technology-marketing-as-a-service TMaaS) provides trustworthy support. It’s a concept that has emerged onto the fore in the last few years. At its core, TMaaS refers to the creation of a scalable, elastic engine that incorporates the complexities of technology with the distinctions of marketing. Thus allowing any aspect of the technology lifecycle to be communicated in a way that corresponds with the intended audiences’ needs.
TMaaS can be seen as a compact bundle of relevant services to power technology marketing functions. By plugging into various facets of an organisation, it ensures quick and proper enablement and execution of marketing programmes. With right structure, processes and capabilities in place,TMaaS helps meeting the outcomes relevant to the ever evolving context of business of technology as well as creators and users of technology.
For example, a leading web services company leveraged clever technology marketing tactics via TMaaS to shorten the sales conversion cycles. Using content marketing best practices, it now serves relevant, updated, and personalised pitch, allowing the sales team to engage and excite the prospective customers.
Many progressive and highly successful technology companies with general purpose technology products, tune their presentation based on the industry vertical, the audience context and so on. They use insights about their customers’ businesses, needs, and preferences and communicate how they can use the technology productively and valuably in their unique contexts. Most importantly, these insights form the basis for ongoing product innovation.
It is not, however, unusual to see chaos creeping in and incoherence setting in. Technology marketing, with all its good intent, can end up alienating the customer with multiple messages, dated product information, and irrelevant content. Even within the sales operations, it is common to see distraught sales representatives struggling to find the right information, content and templates to put together, say, a pitch or a proposal.
Technology marketeer is concerned with building awareness among the target audience, and at the same time is responsible to ensure effectiveness of various campaigns and high returns of marketing spend. The challenge here is to find the right eco-system within and beyond one’s organisation. Successful technology marketing involves deft orchestration of technology, business and creative skills. It can be frustrating when the nuances of technology or audience are under appreciated. The CMO of a leading tech company once lamented that their agency did not know the difference between a switch and a router. Inadequate or tall claims about technology efficacy in media, whether server performance, cloud, or big data, have led a few to burn their hands and most to delay their decisions. It is imperative to identify right partners who are able to provide right set of consulting, services and deliverables, be it strategy, content, delivery platform or campaign execution.
Effective technology marketing is thus dependent on deeper involvement. It is a value-first approach, enabled by bringing together dissimilar skills. It is a specialised discipline, a challenging profession, and a challenging service area. zz
(The writer is founder and CEO, of Advaiya )