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Why is it so hard selling technology to Marketers?

Let's imagine you've developed an amazing technology and services proposition that if adopted by corporate marketing departments would transform their lives, reputation and effectiveness. Not forgetting their bottom line. So off you set to promote the merits of your new product to your core audience, confident that it meets their needs.

But despite effective promotion and a flurry of early interest, the orders aren't rolling in. You're confused. After all, this is a product that can really add value to their business. Why would anyone say 'no' to something so good?

It's not you, it's the target audience

The problem however may not be your product. According to a recent Adobe survey1, many companies suffer from a lack of digital expertise, making it hard for them to buy into products they don't completely understand. So while digital technologies - and in particular your innovation - may truly transform the fortune of a business, it may be your audience's 'digital deficit' that's putting the kibosh on sales.

The Adobe survey revealed that only a third of marketers believe their companies are highly proficient in digital marketing. In addition, 73% of European marketers believe they need to reinvent themselves to succeed in the digital world. To complicate matters, 30% of respondents said a lack of training in new skills was holding them back. The same percentage of people also said that confusion over roles and responsibilities and company resistance to trying new programmes were the main roadblocks to reinvention.

Marketers are looking to invest, but in what?

Conversely, just when you start to think companies might put the breaks on digital investment, the reverse is true. According to the survey, digital spend is expected to surge 15% this year to $138bn - an encouraging sign for anyone providing data and insight services - with respondents indicating that:   

  • 73% of marketers in the UK, Germany and France feel they need to be more data-focused to succeed
  • 70% (UK) and 68% (France) agree that capturing and applying data to inform and drive marketing activities is the new reality
  • 69% (France) and 65% (UK) agree that data informs and evolves marketing creative content 
  • 50% of marketers want to use more consumer data and behaviour to shape marketing strategies 

A huge opportunity

This budgetary growth provides technology companies with a huge opportunity to sell their technology and services, but only those prepared to invest in a strategic approach to business development will triumph. This means investing in:    

Audience Education: Given that many innovations are new and are not readily understood by a less tech-savvy audience you need to invest in a programme to help them understand the benefits and this can take time.

Being brave: To get noticed and to cut through all the marketing noise you need to stand out. So you need to present yourself in a different way and avoid the safe, tidy and corporate style which just makes you look like everyone else.

Being relevant: The second step after getting noticed is to ensure you are relevant to the needs of the target audience. To do this effectively you need to segment your audience and be as focused as economically possible. 

Being engaging: Articles, informatics, white papers, ebooks and other marketing materials need to educate, entertain or inspire. Not bore or confuse! Resist the temptation to just promote yourself or your business. Be engaging and people will follow.

Strategy: Given the huge scope of tactics available you need strategic oversight to ensure the list of chosen activities provide a return on investment.  Overall the strategy needs to focused and targeted; the more thinly you spread your budget the less effective it will be.

So with this in mind, it may be time to invest less in overt promotion and more in educating an audience that simply lacks the digital expertise to know how your product or service can help. And with a report by Russell Reynolds Associates2 indicating that only three of Britain's FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies have 'highly digital' boards, it may not just be the marketer from an SME that needs your help. It may be a big gun within a global company.

For help elevating your technology business, contact Steve at Elevate Sales on 07857 676703





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