More emails, blog posts, PowerPoint presentations, videos, datasheets… Wow, the list goes on and on. Technology and software companies create a LOT of content.
In my corporate marketing days, I often worked with our overseas marketing teams on product launches and marketing campaigns. The most complex part, in my opinion, wasn’t really content creation - it was implementing processes that were easy for everyone to understand and follow.
I love a good research report. For marketers, it’s the closest we come to having a crystal ball that gives us relatively concrete answers about nebulous subjects like buyer behavior. One of the areas where I see many of my clients have long conversations with their colleagues is their websites. Should we put our address in the footer? Should social media sharing buttons be located near every case study link? Will long contact forms turn our buyers off?
Are software developers now the key to selling your high-tech product? According to this article, the selling process has shifted and developers are now a key constituency.
What do you do with your leads that aren’t yet ready to buy? If the answer is let them languish in your database, learn how to turn them into sales-ready leads with an email lead nurturing campaign.
I’m often asked this question by marketers who embrace the idea of content marketing, but a persistent voice in the back of their head is whispering“Do I need to create this much stuff for ALL our buyers?”
There's lots of information about content marketing out there, but it's a bit harder to find resources that directly apply to or are helpful to technology marketers. Since marketing technology is relatively unique, I've created a list called "Best Content Marketing Resources for Technology Marketers" on List.ly.
Please read it, share your opinions on the resources, and add your own favorites to the list so it continues to evolve into a useful resource.
I get some variation of this question every time I do a presentation or webinar, so I know many folks struggle with it. Whether you’re marketing a data center, insurance industry, or mortgage titles - every business, no matter how seemingly mundane, has something to say that its buyers want to hear.
If you’ve read my blog, you likely know I am a HUGE advocate of regularly interviewing customers or prospects. Here is a real-life example of the outstanding benefits companies can reap if they regularly converse with their customers.
Wouldn’t it be great to pull out a crystal ball and know exactly what your prospective technology buyers DON’T want in your marketing content?
UBM TechWeb recently published an interesting report on what technology buyers want from their vendors’ content. As you might image, it didn’t involve requests for more product datasheets.
Rather they want fact-based, best practices-oriented content that helps them make purchasing decisions. Although this research is focused on the technology industry, the results can be applied to most any complex, B2B purchasing cycle.
(To see the what buyers don't want in your content, visit my post: "Technology Buyers' Biggest Marketing Turn-offs.")
Vitamixes are those super-duper high speed blenders that liquefy just about anything you put in them – like entire oranges, apples, spinach, and even other solid objects that aren’t edible. And, amazingly, there’s a content marketing lesson to be learned when it comes to using the Vitamix for making smoothies.
When our Vitamix first arrived, we shoved aside the recipe book that came with it and started making smoothies just like the demonstration guy at Costco. We threw in whole fruit that wasn’t peeled or seeded, greens, juice – anything that sounded good. The result? Some of the worst smoothies ever. And the Vitamix, the super-duper-blend-anything machine, just sat there and roared while it vainly tried to blend up our mess.
According to Market2Lead, the sales cycle is nearly 25% shorter for nurtured leads.
Lead nurturing is a great method for staying in front of prospects that aren’t yet ready to buy from you. Most of us are aware that some percentage of the names in our database might have a cursory interest in our services, but due to timing, just aren’t in the market yet for a solution. However, if you implement a lead nurturing campaign, you can stay top-of-mind with these prospects so when they ARE ready to buy, they’ll think of you first.
When it comes to content – planning it, creating it, using it – Product Marketing’s role is often unclear. In many organizations, the role of content creator and planner is the Marketing Communications team. They handle outbound marketing execution, and hence, take the lead in content creation and distribution.
But given that Product Marketing is often a key business owner for a particular product or service, and probably cares a good deal about how their product is being marketed to buyers, it makes sense to include Product Marketing in content marketing efforts.
Plus product marketers have the buyer knowledge to create really good content. No one else in Marketing likely knows as much about their buyers as the product marketers.
It will Transform Your Team into Your Company’s Most Valuable Asset
Adele Revella is the queen of buyer personas. I was fortunate, early in my career, to attend Adele’s “Effective Product Marketing” class. It’s where I first heard of buyer personas and their positive effect on your organization, your revenue, and your professional reputation.
Design Your Product Datasheet for Skimming and Scanning
Product datasheets are one of those checklist items in the technology industry; your buyers expect you to have them (or, at the very least, your sales team does.) But the nagging questions are: Does anyone really read them? And, more importantly, what can we do to make them more readable?
In my opinion, technology buyers WILL read a datasheet if it’s written and laid out well. The key is understanding the majority of buyers will first scan it to pick up the main points, and, if they deem it useful or interesting, they’ll skim the other content. If it passes the skimming and scanning test, some buyers will read the datasheet in detail. So, it’s important to write good copy that gets to the point quickly and to use a very readable layout.
I often preach about the importance of deeply understanding your buyers in order to create engaging, useful content. One extremely valuable channel for intimate buyer understanding is your sales team. They’re on the front lines all day long talking to buyers, and they have great insights on what resonates and what doesn’t.
And Why MSU’ing is the Pits
Now, yes, I did attend Michigan State University, but MSU’ing is not about college. It’s about Making Stuff Up (that term is courtesy of Pragmatic Marketing) and it’s a rotten thing to experience if you’re in technology marketing.
If you’ve been a marketer for any length of time, you know that MSU’ing is not fun. It can cause the average marketing manager to sweat bullets.
Becoming an Expert on Your Buyers
The information overload in our digital world is staggering. As a marketer in the technology industry, you’ve got to ask yourself “Does anyone read this stuff I’m producing?” After all, technology is a competitive industry, and your competitors are hitting your buyers as hard as you are.
No wonder technology prospects are jaded, aren’t taking your sales teams’ phone calls, and just want to be left alone until they are ready to reach out to you. But how do you align your marketing with that desire?
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Find the right technology copywriter with this free checklist.