Best Practices for Technology Marketing
What do technology companies care about when it comes to marketing? Like other businesses, they strive to build their brand and generate demand for it. But before they excel with their marketing efforts, they must rise above the noise to make their message stand out. With heavy competition, technology marketers want to differentiate their products and services from the competition successfully. Also, they need to translate technical concepts in a clear and engaging manner.
As a technology marketer, you have numerous strategies and tactics available to you to overcome these challenges. The most effective mix for your company will depend on your goals and available resources. However, every technology marketing program can build a sound foundation for these best practices.
Leverage Marketing Automation
Marketing automation refers to software that automates repetitive marketing tasks. It simplifies processes involving email marketing, CRM, lead nurturing, lead scoring, and contact management. Most importantly, marketing automation helps you generate leads.
Marketing automation can have a profound impact on your company’s performance. One study concluded marketing automation lead to a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead. Another study found businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experienced an impressive 451% increase in qualified leads.
According to Forrester Research, B2B marketers who implemented marketing automation software increased their sales pipeline by an average of 10%. Another Forrester study concluded companies that excel in lead nurturing generated 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost per lead.
A critical component in your mix, marketing automation tools allow you to:
- Increase efficiency by accomplishing more tasks in less time
- Enhance personalization of marketing communications
- Execute campaigns, tracking, and reporting seamlessly
- Improve lead management, nurturing, and engagement
- Create better alignment between marketing and sales teams
- Measure results to determine return on investment and fine-tune strategies
To succeed with marketing automation, make sure you recognize this tool is in its early stage of adoption. It is not a trend that will come and go. Technology marketers must understand the significant impact automation can have on lead generation and establish clear objectives for implementing and leveraging this tactic.
Develop a Content Marketing Program
With content marketing, you develop, execute, publish, and deliver assets to prospects. Its purpose is to create, nurture, and grow your customer base by influencing buyer behavior and motivating action. You want to create interest, establish relevance, and build relationships. The typical process for content marketing involves creating a strategy, developing the content, and leveraging the content across inbound and outbound marketing channels.
In North America, 88% of B2B marketers use content marketing, and for a good reason. Per dollar spent, content marketing produces three times more leads than paid search. In fact, CMOs at the largest technology companies ranked content marketing as their second most important initiative, only after measuring ROI.
The importance of content marketing will continue to grow. In the Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 strategy survey, 92% of marketers said their organization views content as a business asset. Also, another recent study found 47% of B2B buyers consume three to five pieces of content before they engage with a salesperson.
Content marketing helps you:
- Engage customers and influencers
- Boost brand awareness
- Establish your company as a thought leader
- Facilitate the inbound sales cycle by driving visitors to your site so you can turn them into leads and then convert them to customers.
To make a content marketing program work for your company, consider these recommendations:
- Fully understand your audience, including their needs, behaviors, concerns, and issues.
- Customize your content to address these items and deliver value, not sales pitches. Simplify your message and avoid technical jargon.
- Map your buyer’s journey and distribute applicable content at each stage.
- Create a variety of content for top, middle, and bottom of the funnel. Examples include white papers, eBooks, case studies, blogs, social media posts, infographics, and video. According to the LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community, the top three content marketing tactics include blogs (65%), social media (64%), and case studies (64%).
- Invest in professional writing and develop relevant content at least weekly.
- Leverage LinkedIn for sharing business content. In a recent survey, 84% of buyers prefer LinkedIn as the top social network for sharing business related content.
- When developing registration pages, consider that customers are most willing to share information about themselves in exchange for white papers (76%), eBooks (63%), webinars (79%), third-party analyst reports (66%), and case studies (57%). They are less willing to register for podcasts (19%), video (19%), and infographics (24%).
- Develop a mixture of created, curated, and syndicated content.
Engage with Social Media
One of the most powerful tools for engaging your prospects, social media helps you share your message, culture, and products with online users. You can stay connected and generate new leads. It allows your audience to interact with you on their terms.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 96% of technology marketers use social media content as their primary content marketing tactic. The top five social media platforms for B2B marketers include LinkedIn (94%), Twitter (87%), YouTube (74%), Google+ (62%), and SlideShare (37%).
When done correctly, social media marketing is a cost-effective strategy that can help you:
- Strengthen your brand presence
- Establish a conversation with your target audience
- Increase traffic to your websites
- Improve sales and customer service
Some important tips to remember when developing a social media program:
- Show your company’s personality, but stay on message and maintain consistency.
- Provide value to your audience with information they can use. Give your audience a reason to trust and follow you.
- Engage with storytelling and showcasing the people behind the brand.
- Determine the right platform for each message based on where your audience is active. Although LinkedIn is the most popular B2B social channel, do not ignore Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
- Analyze your data to verify which social platform and content deliver the most engaged users.
Focus on Integrated Marketing
Given the complexity of technology marketing, marketers must reach audiences through multiple media channels. Integrated marketing ensures your business presents a consistent brand image and experience across a variety of channels.
Technology companies typically experience very long sales cycles that are expected to get even longer. To increase engagement and help prospects along, you need an integrated strategy that incorporates many touch points and makes use of multiple channels. An integrated marketing approach keeps you in contact with current customers and prospects from beginning to end. Marketing automation can help with this monumental effort.
According to a study by Forrester Research, 86% of marketing professionals believe their long-term success depends on successfully integrating multiple channels under a single integrated marketing strategy. The same report found 60% of multichannel marketers experienced a 10% increase in revenue from their integrated marketing programs.
Using an integrated marketing strategy, you can:
- Create a consistent brand experience
- Maximize marketing ROI
- Extend your reach
- Generate more qualified leads
- Improve closing ratios
- Help your company stand out
To get the most from integrated marketing, you need to create a planning framework that:
- Assesses where your business is today. Analyze the competitive landscape, along with your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
- Determine where your company is going regarding sales, market share, profitability, customer acquisition, and other important objectives.
- Define the strategies, such as marketing mix, product development, and brand messaging that will become the route you take to accomplish your objectives.
- Identify the marketing tactics that will get you to your destination.
- Outline how you will implement your strategies and tactics.
- Evaluate your progress regularly and adjust course as needed.
Pushing Past the Competition
Technology marketing is a complex field. These best practices are by no means an exhaustive list. In addition to marketing automation, content marketing, social media, and integrated marketing, you can leverage a broad range of tactics, including search marketing, outbound marketing, mobile initiatives, advertising, and much more.
Most technology marketers lack the budget to staff experts in every channel. To generate the most meaningful results, you may have to outsource some projects to a marketing services firm. A marketing partner can complement your internal staff and help you deliver integrated solutions that lead to your success.
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With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.