Have you ever come across an advertisement for a car or a mobile phone that dwells on the number of valves in the engine or the firmware of the phone? Sure, the ad might throw in a three or four-lettered acronym for good measure to differentiate from a competing product but that is where the line is drawn.
However, it is not too hard to find technology marketing campaigns that describe the underlying technology in great depth but barely even mention the problem they seek to address. This is particularly true of large software companies trying to sell products to businesses. How often have we come across jargon thrown about without so much as a consideration for the awareness levels of the customer? It is not hard then to imagine that a great many businesses are skeptical and overwhelmed even to consider their products.
In the customer purchase journey spanning awareness, consideration and decision, many companies do such a shoddy job at awareness building that it baffles the mind. I suspect the root of the problem to be a gaping void between the engineers who build the products and the marketing machinery at these companies.
To solve a hard technology problem may be the pinnacle of success for an engineering team but customers see value in ostensibly more mundane things such as ease-of-use and simplicity. It is then, the duty of the marketing team to understand the nature of the problem solved by a product and tailor a marketing message, which is easier for the customer to consume. One that revolves around customer use-cases would perhaps be more worthy of a business users’ time and help the user move seamlessly from awareness to consideration. Given that the final decision would require further deliberation over other variables, a technology marketing campaign could be called successful if it drives users to consider a product.
This brings us to the question of what constitutes an ideal technology marketing campaign. Broadly, such a campaign should touch open the following points. Depending on the medium of advertisement (television, print, online ads, brochures) some of these may not be applicable:
a. What is the problem being solved?
b. Why do you need to solve the problem?
c. What is in it for you do it this way instead of your way? Why is it easier our way?
d. Where and how do I buy?
I often think that the marketing message for a business application need not be more complex than that for web mail. The technical / functional details can follow later through an alternate channel.
Technology companies need to take a leaf out of consumer products companies in marketing to their customers. As long as the business problem is solved, the customer is not concerned if cloud computing is the magical layer beneath it all. As Steve Jobs would often remark to his audience – “It just works” should be the mantra for marketing. Else, technology companies will spend heavily on large-scale marketing campaigns as they always have while customers will continue to be lost.
[Guest article by Shashank P S]