What is technical marketing anyway?
And why are so many businesses so bad at it?
Technical marketing is B2B marketing, but with a twist. Instead of marketing to consumers or businesses, you design ways of finding and reaching customers who are technical experts in their fields and industries. You give them the data and the tools they need to deploy your product to beat their competition.
Pharmaceutical sales reps are the classic example. They have to know their stuff because their prospects are physicians -- technical experts and leaders in their fields.
But here’s the catch.
In technical marketing, your targets aren’t your customers. Your targets are influencers and decision-makers, instead.
Doctors don’t buy a thing from pharmaceutical sales reps, but doctors influence what drugs their customers -- their patients -- buy.
In technical marketing, the problem isn’t just that your targets are not your customers. It’s also that your targets are very hard to find.
You’re tempted to look high up on your target’s organizational chart to find a decision-maker who can move your sales, but more often it’s someone much lower who holds the real power. The person who maintains a specification that spells out what products or services the company or its customers will buy is more likely a newly-minted engineer fresh out of grad school than a C-suite executive.
You can have the latest and greatest CRM, SEO, ABM or whatever alphabet soup marketing you like, but if you can’t capture these influencers -- early adopters and key specifiers -- you’re never going to win.
How can you succeed at technical marketing?
1. Look low, not high. Focus on influencers, not buyers. Individuals, not companies. Specifiers, not customers. Recognize that your client is less focused on price than on effectiveness. They’re trying to save themselves from busywork, boredom or liability more than they’re trying to save their customer money.
2. Forget ads. Your targets don’t want to see slick copy. “Show us your data” is what you’ll hear from them, instead. They want proof. White papers. Test results. Lots of footnotes. Show your work.
3. Respect your target’s intelligence. Good pharmaceutical sales reps usually have advanced education in bioscience and may have even gone to medical school. They know and understand the doctor’s mission. Don’t trust marketing generalists to talk to technical specialists. Hire a scientist to talk to scientists. Hire an engineer to talk to engineers.
4. Assume your target has never heard of you. Too many technical businesses think their reputation is already good enough. Even if your business is an industry leader, there’s a good chance that an influencer hasn’t heard of you. Maybe they just graduated, or maybe they just took over a project that uses your product or service. You have to earn their trust over and over.
Still unsure how you can succeed with technical marketing?
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