Ten years ago technology companies began to feel the power of the Internet. This new media allowed technology companies to expose their technology solutions to new markets and audiences in a manner that could not be matched on an ROI basis.
Corporate websites were built, banner advertising and email campaign became staples in every marketing plan. Marketers at technology companies had new tools to push out their messages at incredibly low cost to reach volumes of potential buyers. Coupled with traditional marketing tools like print and direct mail, integrated marketing done right could generate the exposure and impressions that leveled the playing field with most competitors.
But that has all changed as of now.
Blogs, SEO, SEM, user driven content and other on-line communities has provided technology buyers all of the access necessary to drive their decision making processes and behaviors. Now they can start the conversations and seek answers to their questions on their own terms and time lines.
So how does a marketer of technology effectively influence buying decisions? Here are three ways:
Educate the tech buyers
These technology buyers are using the internet to learn more and become more knowledgeable about the technology solutions and products in the marketplace prior to even contacting a provider. They seek more detailed information with case studies and proof points of the technology they are looking to purchase.
Tech marketers need to ensure their information is relevant to the tech buyer needs by understanding what they are looking for and even how they want to read it. Maybe they want to view the technology in action. You can create a video demonstration of the technology, or provide screens shots even comparison charts to demonstrate the competitive differences. If you can provide information that allows these buyers to receive answers to their questions, you can move them closer to purchase . Don’t hard sell them
Buyers look for third party input
The internet not only allows the buyers to view your information, but they can seek opinions from other websites and on-line communities regarding your technology solutions effectiveness. This is credibility activity can actually happen before they even contact you.
Tech marketers need to identify the influential sites in their segments that buyers tend to review and have a plan to participate. Sponsorship, banner ads, even answering blog entries on these site can elevate your presence and build your credibility. Keep the information objective and again do not hard sell them.
Buyers have more information early in the process
The volume of on-line information only increases the level of understanding your buyers will have early in the process. Buyers follow their own time lines and can hold off on contacting you until they are comfortable with their information gathering. More than likely they have scoped out the market, checked the competition and understand the technology solutions that will fit their needs…before they contact you.
When the buyers do contact you, they are more prepared. Your sales force needs to understand their level of education and what information they know upfront to ensure you can address the concerns and amplify your differences.
As tech marketer, your marketing activities need to incorporate on on-line activities beyond your website. Social media activities can ensure you are present as the tech buyers behavior has changed to upfront exploration.