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Apr

4

2016

10 Things Every B2B Tech Marketer Needs to Know

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For B2B tech marketers, it’s crucial to understand the real value of the technology you’re promoting – whether it’s a simple consumer product or a complicated enterprise service.

The real trick of technology marketing is learning a subject (one which may be completely foreign to you) quickly and efficiently. When that subject is a complex technology tool or service, you might feel lost trying to comprehend everything there is to know.

While I can’t give you a crash course in your client’s work—only they can do that successfully—I can offer 10 tips for every B2B tech marketer to help them optimize their approach.

1. Timing is Everything

As quickly as the technology industry evolves and grows, timing is everything. When researching any topic related to technology, or when sourcing a statistic or fact, it’s crucial to ensure you’re looking at the most current information available.

Always check the dates of studies and surveys. Even something published a year ago might not reflect the current reality of the industry. If a stat is pertinent to your whitepaper, blog, etc., and you can’t find the same stat for the most recent year, a good rule of thumb is to not go back more than two years or to qualify the data with a disclaimer.

2. Curate Content

Keeping tabs on the industry will help you curate the best content from thought leaders, customers and other important figures. Taking in a great deal of information from all of these sources can inspire your marketing efforts in other areas. Curating content will also provide a fuller picture of the technology industry and how it’s talked about in different channels.

First, you need to learn how to listen on social channels (primarily Twitter and LinkedIn), which content to pay attention to (influencers, competitors), and how to use it.

For example, once you’ve been promoting curated content for several months on social media, you can see which posts received the most clicks, and then develop blog posts on similar topics.

3. Create Buyer Personas

Personalization is seen as the key to unlocking prospects and creating conversions. Creating a buyer persona is the first step in targeting inbound marketing content for personalization purposes. Creating a persona involves getting to the root of who your customers are, how they behave, where they look for information and how they make purchasing decisions.

Technology might be a challenging area to create specific buyer personas for, but if you look at the types of customers who need your product or service, you’ll discover the little things that separate one persona from another.

4. Follow Big-Name Sources

As with any industry, it’s crucial to follow the news about what’s happening in technology. This provides fodder for content ideas, raises awareness of trends and informs you on competitor activity.

Just like journalists and news junkies follow The New York Times and the Associated Press for the beat of what’s happening in the world, technology marketers should follow certain publications for similar business reasons.

Beyond the online experts, such as TechCrunch, PC Magazine and CNET, you can also keep up with technology-focused sections of major publications like The Wall Street Journal, Wired and CIO. These outlets, among others, cover all aspects of technology from cloud solutions to cybersecurity to consumer goods.

5. Know the Influencers

As you invest time and energy promoting your clients across social channels, you’ll find thought leaders and influencers. Listen to what they have to say, participate in conversations they start and develop a mutual awareness. This builds trust and credibility with your customers. If all goes well, you can even invite these influencers to write a guest post, co-host a webinar, or become an advocate for your client.

6. Learn the Terms

There is nothing worse in technology marketing than not using the appropriate terminology. No one expects you to know these terms when you’re starting, but they will expect you to learn them, and how to use them as you become aware of the space and target audience.

The more exposure you have to the industry, the more naturally this terminology should come. It also helps to do your research and study the terms and so you can wrap your head around their meaning.

There might terminology specific to your client’s company, or just general terms used widely in the industry. Also, look out for acronyms or terms that may mean different things – and can be differentiated based on the industry context.

For example, a CMO in the business world (as you well know) is a Chief Marketing Officer, but in the healthcare industry it stands for Chief Medical Officer. Those involve very different qualifications and responsibilities; let’s face it – it would be embarrassing to get them mixed up. The same goes for tech terminology. Be vigilant of what you and your client are talking about.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

The best way to catch up to speed on any topic is to ask questions. Ask as many as come to mind – and more. As topics get more complicated, the questions you ask your client may help them realize how a “layman” is viewing and comprehending their products and services.

Even if a question seems obvious, simple or stupid – you should still ask it. No one should fault you for trying to grasp concepts in your own way. No matter how confused you are or how well you think you get something, keep asking questions. It only leads to more insightful content down the line.

8. Understand the Competition

This is key to any marketing strategy, but in the tech sector, understanding the competition helps differentiate your client in your mind and to your customers. Seeing what other companies offer can make your client’s features and benefits more obvious. Creating and monitoring a Twitter List that includes your competitors, or even signing up for their newsletters, are two easy ways to start. 

9. Take Advantage of Existing Content

Unless a company is starting from scratch, repurposing existing content is an excellent tactic to first understanding the topics and voice of your technology client, and then replicating that with success.

Technology companies love webinars and presentations. Request access to these, get inspired and use them as a springboard to create more content. Moreover, these can often provide a more human side to the technology your client is selling, which only helps you when translating technical information to the average customer.

10. Know the Difference Value vs. Specifications

Technology depends on technical specifications in a customer’s purchasing decision. The smallest detail can be the deciding factor, so it’s vital to never underestimate the importance of this information. However, a great marketer practices the balance between using these specs and a company’s value proposition. Knowing your audience helps tailor your message with these approaches.

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Now that you have some tips and tricks for marketing technology, you can enter the game.

As a B2B tech marketer, promoting products and services isn’t much different than marketing other industries, but it’s essential to be vigilant of what technology customers, whether consumers or big enterprises, look for in their content and messaging.

                                Quick and Dirty Guide to Curated Content

Dec

10

2015

How Will the Recent LinkedIn Group Changes Impact B2B Marketing?

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If you’re a B2B marketing professional, chances are you’ve already heard about all the changes that LinkedIn plans to introduce to its Groups feature.

Unfortunately, over the years, Groups have built up a poor reputation online. Once hailed as the most valuable social media channel for B2B lead generation, with time, they’ve became over-populated with promotional posts and too much spam. 

Hopefully, that’s about to change. The biggest announcement to date is that LinkedIn recently made all of their Groups (over 2 million!) private. The goal of this is to encourage more meaningful conversations, based on user feedback.

So, what do the new Groups mean for your B2B marketing strategy?

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Increased Privacy

The new Groups will increase your privacy level online, so you can have in-depth conversations without worrying that what you write will be available for anyone to read.

In fact, the new privacy setting makes it impossible for content to be indexed by search engines. As a result, if you’re talking about sensitive information within your LinkedIn Group, this content will stay private and cannot be found by anyone searching on Google.

B2B Marketing Implication: These increased privacy settings offer you new opportunities to engage with your groups in a much more meaningful way. You can now provide exclusive announcements, information, or offers to your groups that may not have made sense to promote openly.

Vetted Members

Prior to the update, LinkedIn Group members were divided into two – public ones, which anyone could join, and private ones, where membership requests needed to be approved by an administrator. The open nature of the public Groups led to many of the posts being promotional, which turned off many members from participating, and ultimately led to hundreds of posts with no engagement.

With the recent changes, all members will need to be vouched for in order to gain admission. Joining a LinkedIn group now requires either an invitation or approval of your request. 

So, all of your Group members will need to keep their credentials up-to-date to show that they are valuable contributors. 

B2B Marketing Implication: Moving forward, you’ll be able to have professional and detailed conversations only with individuals who fit your detailed guidelines. This will result in smaller groups with much higher levels of engagement as members don’t need to worry about sifting through dozens of spam posts.

New Groups App

LinkedIn also announced a new app specifically for Groups—similar to Facebook’s messenger app. The app is standalone and offers a slew of features, which show engaging discussions, highlights, and compelling content.

The algorithm that LinkedIn uses for its mobile app makes sure that you’ll see the Group content that matters most to you, not just anything that’s being discussed.

The app will also make it easier to discover new and interesting groups and people based on your industry experience, previous Group memberships, and more. So now, your marketing department will have an easier time keeping up on the latest LinkedIn news and conversations.

B2B Marketing Implication: With Facebook Messenger and the revamp of Twitter Direct Messages, there has been a major push for social networks to help their users create an ongoing communication. This new app will give you the option to have lengthier conversations with your group members that will lead to deeper engagement.

Updated Features

Users within Groups can now tag someone in their posts using @mention, although you cannot tag individuals who do not belong to the group. It’s also possible to add images to posts now, and the design is cleaner and less spam-like.

For your social media marketing, these updates will make it easier to get your ideas across and connect with specific companies or individuals by mentioning them directly. It stops the run-around and allows you to be direct.

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B2B Marketing Implication: A relationship doesn’t form after commenting on one post. This new feature allows you to target specific group members to help build your relationship up with multiple communications. Just be sure the members you are @mentioning will have a genuine interest in the topic.

Recruiting Tools

The final update to LinkedIn Groups is the ability to recruit individuals without distracting from the important conversations. LinkedIn made this possible by creating a special tab within Group pages that can be used as a hub for job discussions.

So, if your company has joined a manufacturing group and you have an opening for a new warehouse manager, you can post your job ad within a page made for that type of discussion so you can be sure it won’t get lost in the hustle and bustle of the other conversations.

B2B Marketing Implication: LinkedIn has become so much more than a job search site, but that is still a major focus of the network. Putting this important information in its own tab greatly increases the likeliness recruiters will find candidates and also prevents that recruitment from getting in the way of the day to day engagement these new LinkedIn Groups are expected to encourage.

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Whether you liked or used the old LinkedIn Groups, the new and improved release could be a game changer for your B2B company.

Now, you can use LinkedIn to have meaningful and private conversations with current and potential clients without worrying that your discussions will make it to the wider web. And the new updates have made conversing easier than ever, saving your marketing department time and frustration.

Interested in learning more from Penguin Strategies? Check out their on demand webinar, How to Make Sure No One Converts on Your Blog.

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