Many B2B marketers feel the pressure to reach higher into their target customer base to gain the mindshare of corporate executives and true decision makers. That growing pressure to gain visibility and establish tighter relationships with the C-suite is the result of some important shifts in market conditions.
Engaging with clients by joining their conversation
B2B companies today are quickly recognizing the need to place more of their marketing focus on gaining the mindshare of higher level executives and economic buyers within their target customers. They understand that maintaining a competitive edge will require the ability to establish and incubate strategic, trusted relationships with C-level and other executives in key decision making roles.
My first job out of college was in the sales and marketing group of a small high-tech company in Connecticut that sold shop floor automation systems to major Fortune 500 manufacturers. It was long hours and heavy traveling for low pay – but superb experience. At the ripe age of 21, I found myself touring plants and giving technology presentations at GE, IBM, General Motors, Ford, Grumman Aerospace, and many other major manufacturers.
Most technology business decisions today are made by people who have spent considerable time getting input, insights and recommendations from a wide range of peers, friends, experts, analysts, consultants – as well as additional advisers and influencers.
In an effort to rise above parity among competitors, technology companies will attempt to create sales messaging that is differentiated – and avoid common “me, too” language. In my 2013 white paper, “Six Common Technology Marketing Mistakes,” I showcase some of the typical, over-used (if not fully abused) nomenclature that is all too easy for content writers to rely on for their technology-focused messaging.
So much of our standard marketing principles are based on traditional consumer marketing concepts. But in today’s highly complex world of B2B technology marketing, many of those concepts don’t really align well with modern business customer behavior. Take, for example, the concept of the “Customer Purchase Cycle” (also referred to as the “Buying Cycle” or the “Decision Cycle”). The major flaw in this nomenclature is the word “Cycle”.
Recently, a CMO from a technology services company (we’ll call him Matthew) contacted us. Matthew was quite frustrated as he had already contacted 14 other agencies – and not one of them was able to provide a satisfactory answer to the question: “What is your lead conversion rate and the ROI calculation on your services?”
My first job out of college in the early 1980s was with an information technology manufacturer and systems integrator. We resold IBM Series 1 computer systems along with our own peripherals, focusing on industrial and manufacturing markets. In those days, the sales focus was very simple: explain and sell the technology by focusing on its technical features and benefits. We called it “moving iron” in those days.
Whether you are marketing a product or service, your goal is to make it recognizable, desirable and readily available to customers. Rarely does a single impression with a potential customer achieve this goal. An effective marketing campaign will bring your company in contact with your customer multiple times.