Executing Tech Content Marketing

Marketing strategy grows out of separating your brand from those of competitors. You can't overemphasize your competitive difference. If you don't have a marketing and communications strategy based on clear, competitive differentiation, go back to square one and get that done.

I have discussed developing strategy in several earlier posts. (See: Content Is Key to Successful Tech Marketing and Creating Effective Tech PR Strategies.) Once you've clarified how you want to be perceived against your competitors, you're ready to execute tactics and create content assets in various media. Strategy first, then tactics! Otherwise, content development efforts with be all over the map and likely much less effective.

Ever since your brand launched a Website, you've been in the publishing business. Content development is merely putting your publishing efforts into gear — or, better yet, overdrive. But how well do you understand the buyers of your products and services? Your purchasing circle may include several people in an organization. What's interesting for the design engineering manager very likely isn't the same as what's top-of-mind for the purchasing manager. Depending on the product being purchased, the vice president of engineering and the CEO may be just as far apart in their perspectives.

B2B tech marketing is complex. You need to know your audience and realize one piece of content does not fit all. Yes, a business or technology overview may be a good starting point for most decision makers, but that's all it is. Separate content addressing differing perspectives is generally needed.

Let's emphasize the strategic basis of any content item, be very clear on what point you're attempting to communicate. Forget all the techno-babble and buzzwords. Tell them how they will benefit (time and money) and avoid the pain they're experiencing with your competitors' products. The focus must be on solving their problems, not how cool your product is. They don't necessarily want your product. They want to avoid the business pain that's costing them time and/or money. Focus on that.

You're the expert in how your product helps people. Share information on your product category, and advise customers with insight and fresh ideas about how they can move away from their pain. Demonstrating your category expertise builds your credibility and makes your brand attractive. This is where marketing, engineering, customer service, technical training, tech support, and sales can form powerful alliances. (We’ve discussed previously how to involve engineering team members.) All these teams can be expert sources for content that is valuable to customers. Enlist them and discover ways of connecting their expertise to your content development tactics.

Strike a balance in your content tactics between trying to sell something and offering ideas your customers can implement immediately. Your selling should be very gentle, like salt in the soup. Customers will accept some promotional content as long as they're receiving solid information. An example would be educating buyers about the criteria, specs, and key factors when planning a purchase. Sure, this may be slanted toward your product, but it should also educate customers in areas they need to consider, regardless of the brand they choose. Helping them become more knowledgeable will be valued.

Also, strike a balance in the informational depth you provide. If customers don't need to know how you make your product, don't drown them in nonessential details. However, if how your products are made is a key differentiator, let them know about that advantage. If your content tactic is running long for length's sake and not providing essential details, edit it. Very often, less is more.

Lighten up, and put some character in your content. The style, tone, and feel of your content can be part of your differentiation. An example from the consumer world is the Geico gecko — a smart-aleck spokeslizard injecting humor into the dreary topic of car insurance. {complink 2657|Intel Corp.} used Blue Man Group to make a difference in its marketing. You may not be able to afford a modern dance troupe, but putting a consistent, friendly difference into your written or spoken content can go a long way toward connecting with your audience. B2B companies don't have to sound stuffy and staid. Even IBM has become more hip.

Appropriate tactics run from social media and contributed articles to live or recorded events, newsletters, success stories, (informative) whitepapers, blogs, Webinars, pamphlets, and magazines. And don't forget videos, a cost-effective opportunity to deliver compelling informed content. A short, well planned whiteboard talk by a knowledgeable, entertaining presenter may prove to be one of the winning tools in your content inventory.

5 comments on “Executing Tech Content Marketing

  1. stochastic excursion
    June 2, 2012

    People making the purchasing decisions to buy a company's product are often not the ones who have to live with integrating that product into the business.  However the ones that have a day-to-day experience with a product are often in a position to be passionate about it, and bring it to the forefront of a buyer's attention.  Reaching out to these users seems like it would be advantageous for B2B marketing.

  2. Ford Kanzler
    June 3, 2012

    Sto – Your comment is right on topic. The actual users of a product are often the best audience segment to connect with even if they don't sign the PO or enage directly with your brand during the purchasing process. Knowing their needs and expectations and feeding that through sales to the people making the buying decisions can be powerful. Passionate advocates for a brand can help carry the day, even in the face of a business customer's entrenched buying behavior in favor of your competitors. End user advocates, if they're heard, can convert a “No” to a “Yes.” Marketing certainly needs to be aware of and sensitive to all of those who can create “pull” for the brand.

  3. Ariella
    June 4, 2012

    I do just that kind of writing for a client. The pieces are set to be informative rather than pushing the sale. Some will even offer a number of choices or grades of the same equipment to clarify the differences between them and clarify which one would best suit the customer's needs. 

  4. Ford Kanzler
    June 4, 2012

    Ariella – Yes. An edlucational, informative approach trumps promotional claims every time. Demonstrating how the products or services have helped people is a winning content strategy. Also explaining why to use a new kind of product instead of doing things the old way can drive interest and inquiries. Further, the information doesn't necessarily have to discuss a particular brand. It can reveal the generic benefits of a new product category, If the authoring company is in that category, then the percieved value accues to the content's sponsor. Yes, you may be helpong your competition to a degree but marketing benefits go to those who are communication most effectively with their audience by giving people what's needed to make more informed choices. I've seen instances where a brand even recommended its competitor for business that was not aligned with what was offered. This drives powerful audience credibility for a brand.

  5. milesroces
    October 3, 2012

    Contents are promotional write ups that promotes services and goods! It's either you put in online via the internet gateway or on paper form. It is the most effective Link Marketing tool to be known on popular search engines like yahoo and google.

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