B2B Tech Marketing Needs a Specialized Approach – Here’s Why
By Mark Yeager
The simple truth is this: businesses that sell technology to other businesses have very different marketing needs than other industries. Not sure you believe it? Try explaining to a B2C marketer how your target accounts make buying decisions in groups, or describing what “hybrid clouds” means to a B2B agency that works with a wide number of industries. If you still believe general marketing tactics will suffice, here are 5 important reasons why you need a specialized marketing approach for your B2B tech company.
1. Tech Buying Decisions are Made in Large Groups
Today, purchasing IT isn’t only the IT department’s responsibility. The average technology purchasing decision involves between 14 and 23 people¹, and 63% of decisions are influenced by functions outside of IT². Each department represented in the buying committee values very different things, requiring marketers to find ways to appeal to all of the unique requirements. In addition to acclimating to the needs of buying committees, 30-40%³ of IT spending in large enterprises is from line of business buyers that purchase tools, applications and platforms, without the approval and knowledge of the IT department – often called “shadow IT”. Understanding how to communicate with these different stakeholders can make the difference between winning the committee vote, and losing deals because some stakeholders didn’t understand why your solution was valuable to them.
2. Differentiation Among Competitors is More Difficult
With virtually 100% of buyers wanting to self-serve part or all of the buyer journey (up 13% from 2021)4 and only 22% wanting to look to salespeople to solve business problems5, conveying your value for buyers to understand on their own has become mission critical. It can be incredibly difficult to stand out when the nuances between your solution and your competitors are difficult to articulate. Differentiating your message, then delivering it when and where your decision makers are looking for answers, is paramount for the technology market because self-educating tech buyers are continually evaluating solutions and to them, those nuances matter.
3. Go-To-Market Models are Different in Tech
In addition to selling directly to customers, B2B tech companies also sell through indirect channels that are unique to the industry. Cultivating a consistent message, brand, lead generation effort, and sales support across suppliers, OEMs, VARs, resellers, and affiliates requires coordinated and expert understanding of what motivates each part of the technology ecosystem. With about 70% of the typical high tech company’s revenue coming from the indirect channel6 and partners considering hundreds of technology brands to provide for their customers, your marketing efforts need to help you stand out among your competitors to keep partners engaged in selling your solutions.
4. Lead Generation is the Fuel that Runs Tech Companies
Nearly 64% of B2B technology buyers read between 2 to 5 pieces of content before making a purchase7, and the type of content they want depends on where they are in their buyer’s journey. Although producing content that helps educate and guide buyers is one of the most important roles for tech marketers, creating content that buyers actually want to consume is incredibly challenging. You can spend a tremendous amount of time and money experimenting with different types of content to understand what resonates, but smart marketers get support from a specialized B2B Tech agency to learn when and where their IT buyers go for information and the formats they engage most with.
5. Tech has Different Marketing Disciplines – with Underserved Needs
Corporate marketing is a centralized department within mid to large tech organizations that tends to focus solely on the company brand. But often forgotten within tech companies are the needs of the other marketing professionals within the company: Divisional marketing leaders that define and execute marketing plans; Alliance marketers that align multiple brands; Channel marketers that attract new partners, enable their success, and accelerate their sales efforts; Field marketers that deliver campaigns and sales tools for regional sales efforts; Product marketers that launch or relaunch products, generate awareness, and enable your sales team. B2B tech agencies understand the goals of these different marketers and can fill the gaps left between what these marketers need to be successful in their roles and what corporate marketing has the bandwidth to support
Specialized Marketing Efforts Require Specialized Support
Just as you wouldn’t trust a general practitioner to perform heart surgery, you shouldn’t hire a generalist to do the job of a specialist when you need agency support for your tech company. An experienced B2B tech agency understands the intricacies and nuances of the industry and its buyers, and uses that knowledge to build and deliver marketing campaigns that get impactful results. All of the reasons mentioned above are not only why YOU as a B2B tech marketer need an industry-specific marketing approach, but why the agency you team up with needs to be industry-specific as well.