Whitepaper 1.0: B2B Marketing for High-Tech Solutions – Part One
“Inherent Issues with High-Tech Marketing and Overcoming Barriers with B2B Marketing.”
The intention of most emerging technologies is to make processes simpler, however, with such technical solutions, the simplicity aspect can get lost in technical jargon. Companies need a clear marketing strategy that demonstrates the benefits of their technology concisely, with a clear USP to stand out in such a saturated market. The USP can relate back to Moore’s niche concept, where a company must focus in order to succeed. With technology companies the specifications of products can have a huge impact upon a buyer’s decisions, so it is important to provide them with key architecture information, without overloading them with excessive detail.
Keeping up to date
The technology sector is one of the fastest evolving sectors with new innovations being designed every day and the topic of conversation is always changing. When companies are considering their content marketing strategy it’s important to always research trends within their sectors. It’s also imperative that firms use up-to-date information and statistics in studies and reports, as data can quickly become irrelevant is such fast-paced markets. Staying ahead of the game means writing innovative pieces to prove authority in their market.
Marketing may not be high on the agenda for a technology start-up since the lion’s share of their time is spent innovating and developing products. Alongside this, many of these companies may not necessarily have the relevant marketing expertise in house to achieve their desired goals. This lack of attention to marketing activities leads to inconsistency and irregular content output. Which from the outside world, can be seen as a lack of effort and does not present a subject matter expert. This is not ideal for a start-up when building authority is a major concern. There needs to be consistency both in output and in messaging. Establishing a key message to convey or an issue they are aiming to solve should be at the heart of the strategy. Sticking to this clear message helps to build brand credibility and gain customer trust.
As each one of these emerging technologies are still new concepts to many businesses, there is still a lot of apprehension around integrating technology and numerous barriers preventing businesses moving forward with implementation.
The diagram here demonstrates the most significant barriers limiting the adoption of IoT.
Cisco estimated that by the end of 2019, IoT devices will have generated more than 500 zettabytes per year in data. So, it is understandable that the main concern from the customer base would be security of this information and the potential of hackers gaining access to a connected device.
Like any other internet-enabled device, IoT devices do have the potential to be hacked and need to be properly secured with the most up to date cybersecurity. Major risks facing business networks include but are not limited to; access to sensitive data, sabotage and botnets. But the risk lies in the company’s own cyber security measures as opposed to that built into a single device.
Combatting the security barrier needs to be done using an educational-marketing stance. Using cloud-based storage for operation-critical data for example is far safer than storing information on an on-premises server.
But to really hammer this point home, marketers at high-tech firms need to continuously beat their security drum and seed confidence throughout the entirety of their comms.
The second barrier; integration, is a common pain point across many sectors. Customers, especially those in more archaic industries, have been known to take the view that new technology is a hassle that will involve timely and costly integration. Contrary to this opinion, many new technologies have plug and play set-up allowing them to be integrated into legacy systems with minimum downtime.
As well as more educational materials, as in the point above, a shrewd tech start-up marketer may consider campaign collaboration with more established tech companies. Not only does linking with existing tech giants engender trust (particularly those with a less than forward thinking predisposition). The more companies you get onboard with your campaign (be it onsite copy, PR events etc.) the better you’re able to drive your agenda around the ease of integration and the interoperable nature of your solution.
Return on investment is a tough nut to crack. The initial conversations around the implementation of a new technology will always be around upfront capex and the time it takes to see the benefit and as a start-up, any calculation on ROI can be at best suspect in the eyes of a potential client, at worst unrealistic and unfounded.
The ROI battle needs to be fought on all flanks, in both sales and marketing and in any other company literature including any investment decks. Your numbers really do need to stack up and with an unproven solution, market research is really your only friend.
Once you do have a case study, no matter how small, wave that banner as much as possible through your marketing with PR, stylised onsite downloadable PDF’s and social media content and as many conference speaking opportunities you can find the time for.
For a lot of emerging technologies, cultural barriers are a major hinderance. Human beings are creatures of habit and can be resistant to change. It can often take a lot of persuasion before individuals will accept that the disruption in procedures will be beneficial in the long term.
The creation of integration supporting documentation is key to a smooth transition. If you offer a free trial, or are working with a customer on a proof of concept, a huge amount of sway comes with how easy their staff find using your tech.
Think about onsite content, FAQ, video how to’s and even collaborating with the customer themselves to create inhouse heroes for your solution and have them create content for the rest of their company.
Shortage of Expertise
The implementation of technologies and digital transformations in general can be delayed due to the shortage of skilled professionals. It is only recently that the skills for implementing these emerging technologies has been in high demand, so there has become a skill gap between the skilled staff available and the growth rate of these technology. With data scientist being cited as one of the most lucrative in coming years, the pool of talent should be expected to grow. Alternatively, if companies want to benefit from this technology sooner rather than later, they can upskill their existing workforce.
It’s also important to ensure you’re thinking about your talent pool within your comms, internal and external. There should be a vein within your overall strategy dedicated to highlighting the culture within your firm.
A lot of these technologies have been able to prove themselves on a smaller scale, but not all of them have proven their scalability yet. As mentioned earlier, RPA has only been able to scale 3% of their customer base to over 50 robots, without this scalability it is hard for these companies to demonstrate the true potential and benefits of their offering.
Blockchain is also facing similar challenges, as currently firms are struggling with the capability to conduct fast and mass transactions. Currently blockchain can only handle 7-15 transactions per second, whereas Visa can handle 24,000 per second. This may not be problem that needs to be tackled right away but it will be vital if mass adoption is to take place.
Working with partners and solution providers, such as your cloud storage provider on campaigns that highlight the scalability of your solution should work to showcase the potential of your platform and engender trust.