Historically, marketers in tech have been in a constant competition to show how big and fast their technology solutions are compared to their competitors’. Both sides seemed content with both product and brand messaging that showed system specifications and prices. (Raise your hand if you remember ads like the one below!) Messaging that did nothing more than highlight system features made sense at the time, because from the dawn of the computer era until rather recently, technology advancement was focused heavily on lowering cost while increasing both capacity and performance.
In With the New
With the proliferation of new types of technology into nearly every market, a steep and steady increase in competition, and technology becoming an ever-present part of daily life, the B2B tech market – and the messaging that works to sell technology – has transformed.
When you compare some of the better examples of today’s B2B technology messaging from that of decades past, you can see the shift that is taking place.
Technology Messaging Comparisons – Then and Now
Samsung Computers and Technology Page Circa 2004i
Dell Website at 1996 Launchii
Even if you’re a seasoned marketing expert, it’s important to revisit your messaging, and make sure you’re not falling into the trap of touting your product specifications as part of your brand message. While it’s important to have that information handy for prospects and customers, it shouldn’t be your front-line message. Stats and figures can provide valuable proof points to your message, but modern marketing experts have realized that the messaging that draws net new business leverages emotional impact, solutions to pain points, and a demonstration of deep value for the customer.
This Messaging Shift Applies to Every Tech Company
Not all technology providers have caught up with this focus on consumer-driven messaging. There are still many B2B technology vendors relying on feature messaging without making an emotional connection with the user.
Crafting a customer-focused messaging platform takes a keen skillset and a lot of legwork. Defaulting to features and benefits might seem like a time- and cost-effective route to take when faced with selling products or services in such a rapidly transforming industry. You may find yourself asking the following questions, wondering if it’s worth the time to reinvent your messaging.
1. Why do I need to make an emotional connection in B2B tech marketing?
Whether you’re selling desktop systems, data center solutions, software or services, in B2B marketing you’re not selling products to a company—you’re delivering solutions to people, to help solve their problems. Because you’re selling products at the enterprise level, chances are your solutions come with a hefty price tag. The person who is shopping for your product or service is spending someone else’s money, while at the same time risking their reputation, and quite possibly, their job if they make a wrong decision.
The surest method to assuage fear is to make an emotional connection with your buyer. Showing your customer that you understand their struggles, and then demonstrating tangible examples of your product or service solving those problems can go a long way toward making an impact on a prospective buyer. Messaging that makes a prospective buyer laugh or feel excited or safe provides gateways to building brand trust. Emotional messaging vehicles give your prospects and customers a tangible connection to the value proposition of your products and services, which will pique their interest and increase the likelihood that they’ll reach out to your sales team.
2. How important is the value proposition in B2B messaging?
The CEO of a prominent technology company once told a story at a town hall. As a young intern, he worked as a database analyst for a shoe manufacturer. The VP of his division came to him on the first day and asked, “What is your job?” He replied that he was a database admin, and that he wrote scripts. “Wrong,” the VP said. Each day, he asked this intern the same question, and each day, the intern tried to answer with more depth about the technical nature of his job. Each day, he was told he was wrong, until the day he finally got it: The VP asked, “What is your job?” and the intern answered, “I make the shoes that people want to buy.”
Your organization has a unique vision for solving business challenges and you offer competitive solutions. Your value proposition carries that message to the market, and sets you apart from your competition. With 67% of the B2B buyer journey completed online, and 57% of the purchase decision made prior to the customer ever contacting your sales team , having a strong value proposition becomes critical to winning business over your competition. Your messaging platform will help generate market awareness and recognition, and will provide a foundation for aligning your entire organization around the intrinsic value that your products and services bring to the market.
3. Where do features and benefits fit in my messaging?
Think of your message to market like a lure, rather than a dissertation. Your well-crafted, emotionally driven message to the market hooks your prospects or customers, and brings them in for a deeper look at what you have to offer.
Once they’ve navigated to your website or called in your sales team, that’s where product-level marketing can include data sheets that provide the details of your offerings and comparisons to competing products. But remember: even those assets should resonate with your value proposition. Every bit of content you produce should be consistent and aligned to your brand message.
Building a messaging platform that carries your B2B technology brand into the market of tomorrow will take time, effort and skill, but the results will be worth the effort. Today’s consumer is educated and ready to hear how you’re going to solve their problems. Make sure you’re ready with strong messaging that is capable of connecting on an emotional level, while answering their toughest questions.
Need help building a tech messaging platform? Yeager Marketing can help. We’ve worked with top technology brands to reinvent their messaging for a modern market.