Traditional marketing doesn’t work like it used to for the IT sector. Channel enablement programs are struggling to maintain the same results they did ten years ago when deal registration programmes actually worked and when partner compensation bonuses were compelling enough to chase.
Yet vendors often continue doing the same thing. They like using the same approaches and engaging in the same partner marketing activities. And even resellers themselves aren’t stepping out of their comfort zone when it comes to marketing. The whole system is creaking at the seams. And if it’s true that buyers are making decisions about their IT online; researching blogs, articles and forums about enterprise technology before they make a purchase, then you need to develop your own presence online with the right content that is going to compel people to buy from you instead.
A recent report from Linkedin found that 78% of IT buyers require education to sustain, or make a change to, their IT environment. Let’s think about that for a second.
What that means is that over ¾ of your contacts making decisions about their IT environments are looking for information and guidance in order to make the right choice. This is where many vendors, resellers and service providers are missing a trick when it comes to communicating with their buyers.
IT buying has changed over the past 10 years, and purchasers are engaging with sales reps much later in the sales cycle, or are looking outside of the traditional vendor:buyer process for guidance when making a decision. Of the 10 million+ IT buyers on LinkedIn, 83% use social media for IT news and information on tech developments each month. Of that group, 75% are visiting LinkedIn for information (compared with just 32% on Twitter).
Content marketing for the complex IT sector
This is perhaps due to the fact that in such a complex market as enterprise IT, multi-level sales messages that span across departments and topics are harder to convey in short posts on Twitter compared with long-form publishing on LinkedIn. Content has to be credible and useful; sales-focused, “pushy” messaging doesn’t work, in fact LinkedIn’s survey found that 59% of buyers are most interested in non-branded, non-sales focused content about industry developments and trends.
Many people get LinkedIn publishing wrong by only sharing company focused content which promotes a particular company rather than mixing messaging to look at broad topics, key industry themes and posts that guide buyers rather than just sharing pushy marketing content.
Using content to differentiate
Content marketing is particularly suited to the B2B technology businesses who are always looking for new ways to connect with audiences, and to differentiate their company from the next. This is not a simple thing to do; differences can be difficult to explain and products can seem very similar without in-depth comparisons and critiques of products.
E-shots often fail to get this message across and brochures don’t provide any real-world or market context. Content marketing, on the other hand, allows you to put your solution into any ‘story’ and get all of those critical messages across.
For example, say you are releasing a new low-energy server, using 10% of the power that a standard enterprise processor would use. Using e-shots, you can send your partners or customers offers for buying the new server by email, offering low introductory prices. Or you might throw in a few features/benefits such as “10% of the power – saving you 90% of the cost”. But are these features/benefits that you’ve been relying on for so long, enough to make a customer change their direction?