Today was my last day at London-based Caplin Systems, a fintech company where I’ve spent the past (nearly) five years helping to craft and deliver messages surrounding e-distribution in the capital markets.
I will really miss my tech marketing role and my colleagues at Caplin, but for me it’s an exciting time because I am moving on to a role where I get to focus almost exclusively on social media and content marketing (more about my new role tomorrow!)
As I close the chapter on nearly 15 years of B2B tech marketing in software companies, I thought I’d reflect back on some of the top lessons I’ve learned during my time as a day-to-day B2B tech marketing manager.
I could write a novel, but here are 10:
1. Technology is great, but simply telling new prospects every single thing about your technology is not the magic key to selling your technology. What you’re selling is not technology. You’re selling solutions to business problems and your marketing needs to convey that first off. There is a time and place for deep dive technical information and it’s usually much further down the selling cycle.
2. You may have really clever product names, but unless you are a very well known brand I am willing to bet that your product names will not mean that much to most people outside of your organisation. Describe your product and solution and make sure you don’t litter your press releases and award entries with too many product names. Same goes for your website. From an SEO POV, you’d be better off frequently using the commonly used category name for your offering, helping you to own that category in search results.
3. It’s all about the end user. When an end user experiences excellent electronic interaction in one area of their lives, they expect it everywhere (and they won’t hesitate to say so across a variety of forums!) Your end users are going to expect the most advanced approach and delivery because they already experience it using technologies daily. So get the app delivered and make sure your offering looks good and works across all devices.
4. Do you have a “category”? Do you have competitors? If the answer is no, does anyone really need your technology? You may have to think about how you can construct the category so that prospects are convinced your offering is worthwhile. This may involve educating people via social media, or by segmenting your market and targeting people with thought-leadership based collateral.
5. Your tech award entries do not have to be perfectly written works of art. There, I said it! Your award entries need to be accurately mapped to the award category, they need to follow the rules set out and they need to be newsworthy. In addition to selling table space at their awards dinner, the organisation running the awards wants to publish really catchy stories afterwards. Bonus points for you if you can tie your award into a product/solution campaign.
6. You don’t have to go to every single trade show – they can be very hit and miss and hard on the marketing budget. Pick the relevant ones and make sure you make them part of a campaign so that you can do some specific marketing before, during and afterwards to the attendee list. It may be worthwhile thinking about putting on a few of your own events (business breakfasts, etc). But remember putting on your own events may cost you just as much in time as shelling out for that trade show. It’s not easy to get decision makers to private events, particularly in the fintech world.
7. Your website should be one of your top lead generators. People are always amazed when I insist on this. I have seen leads come in via “contact us” forms from heads of e-commerce at tier 1 banks. If your website isn’t generating leads, there is something wrong.
8. “UX” is not just a marketing phrase. It means “user experience” and it’s important that tech marketers understand UX because a.) your website needs to provide visitors with an excellent user experience so that they have a productive journey through their site and b.) you should be able to market your offering from a UX POV. Your offering should be offer a fabulous user experience and you should be able to talk about it.
9. Don’t underestimate the importance of your PR firm. I’ve gotten to know and like all the journalists in my (fintech) space over many years, but I don’t have time to liaise with all of them every time a press release goes out. I’ve reliably relied on my PR firm to do that and to set up meetings and seek out forward features and awards which have really helped.
10. Content and marketing automation, and inbound marketing really are the way forward! In tech marketing, thought leadership-based marketing is now the norm. Like all companies, tech companies need to understand the issues (like regulation) affecting their prospects and they need an edge to tell prospects something they might not already know. Marketing automation, which will facilitate inbound marketing, is a must-have for any tech marketer today. If you want to know more about marketing automation and inbound marketing, contact me!
A big thank you to all the technologists, engineers and developers I’ve worked with over the years. You’ve kept me on top of my technical game and I’ll miss the hack days, the Nerf wars and “beer o clock”. Best of luck to you all.
Jennifer Reid is Director at The CommsCo, a London-based PR and content marketing agency. You can find her on Twitter and Google+ and LinkedIn.