Technology companies are at an advantage when it comes to content marketing: They’re already comfortable with data-driven decision making. Tech marketers know how to analyze performance across channels and determine what content is working best where and with what audience.
However, they’re at a disadvantage in other ways.
First, their products are often complex, and target customers don’t always immediately understand the benefits. The company must bridge the gap between their offering and their audience’s understanding.
This leads to the second disadvantage: Tech companies often find themselves in the position of asking product marketers to write marketing content because that’s who understands the product best … but product marketers don’t always have a strong understanding of how to create content for content marketing programs. Their content often ends up product-focused and overly technical, instead of relatable and audience appropriate.
There are three ways tech companies can overcome these disadvantages, however, and use their technical expertise to connect better with their customers.
1. Focus on Your Customer, Not Your Product
This is something I’ve been screaming into the void for years. Write for the people you want to reach. What’s keeping your customers up at night is not that they’re lacking the features and benefits of your product. Your customers are human beings with human needs, wants, challenges and gaps. Speak to your customers on a human level and use their own language to create content that builds connection. You’ll interest new customers this way, but you’ll also serve existing customers better for a higher-value relationship over time.
“After building a relationship, customer spend grows alongside trust. Eventually, loyal customers spend 67 percent more than new ones.” –Deloitte
2. Use Storytelling — but Be Sure to Align Your Story to Your Marketing and Sales Goals
Humans are born with a penchant for story. Stories are how we have communicated, passed down knowledge, tracked our history, and taught our children since the dawn of time. Storytelling is still a powerful way to connect with your customers — and you can do it through your content.
Story beats a sales pitch when it comes to your marketing content. But unless your story is aligned with your marketing and sales goals, it’s not going to deliver ROI for the business.
Let’s put this into perspective with an example. Say your current marketing goal is to convert more new leads into MQLs (marketing qualified leads). This means that new people coming to your content must feel moved to take some kind of action that reveals they are interested in hearing more about your company and/or its offerings. A story about how a new product feature came about might be interesting … but someone new to your world probably wouldn’t read it. A story about a company that had a particular problem, though, might get a new visitor to sit up and pay attention if they’re having the same problem. Out of those two readers — someone who doesn’t read the content vs. someone who does — who do you think is more likely to take an action that tells you they’re interested in learning more about your company?
3. Let the Data Point the Way — but Remember That You’re Marketing to Humans
If your company has been around for a while, you’ve probably got years of data you can mine for marketing insight and faster decision making. On the flip side, newer companies don’t have the benefit of years of data to back up their marketing decisions.
In my experience, this can actually mean that newer companies aren’t so quick to dismiss a marketing activity as ineffective. Lack of data means they may stick with certain marketing tactics longer and give them more time to gather momentum. And maybe more time is exactly what your buyers need.
It’s good to let data help drive your marketing decisions, but don’t forget to put that data in the context of your target buyer. Know your ideal buyer and their journey. The people you’re trying to connect with might need more time to make buying decisions — and in that case, pulling the plug on a certain marketing activity too early could mean missing opportunities.