High Tech Marketing isn't Geeky

No F**ks Left Friday! High Tech Marketing Isn’t Geeky

Your high tech marketing isn’t supposed to be geeky.

“But of course it is,” you cry. “If you don’t tell them the specifications, details of the product and how hot this new technology is, you won’t be able to get them to see what you’ve done is out of this world.”

We hear you. We do.

But, you’re wrong. All marketing, high-tech marketing, business-to-business marketing, consumer marketing is about one thing — emotions. And if you don’t realize that, you’re not going to break through the cr*pload of messages that — more than anyone else in the world, probably —  high-tech buyers get every single day.

Here are three reasons why.

Nerds think about sex more often

We’re dating ourselves, but remember that movie Revenge of the Nerds?

No?

Well, trust us. It was filled with high-tech geeky engineer types (really, horrible stereotypes, not like the amazing nerds and geeks we know and hang out with).

Anyway, at the end of the movie in the kind of cheesy Hollywood moment that only a cult film can present without irony, the college cheerleader who has just “unmasked” the nerd she’s just hooked up with asks “Are all nerds as good as you?” to which Lewis the number one nerd on campus replies “Yes.” She asks “How come?” and Lewis says “‘Cause all jocks ever think about is sports, all we ever think about is sex.”

So what’s our point? Just because your customer is an engineer, coder, technician, physician or lab-rat — they are still moved by EMOTION. Passion, humor, love, family, laughter and yes, sex. You need to identify what emotions will move your customers to connect with you.

That matters because when you’re creating your marketing tools, you need to think of the emotional appeal first, not the technology which leads us to say…

Your box looks like everyone else’s

Manufacturing boxes with high tech in them — isn’t your’s pretty?

Well. Uhm. No.Promo_HighTechMarketing

Your box looks like everyone else’s, it really does. I can’t tell you how many times we see high-tech marketing FEATURING XYZ company’s world’s greatest box!!!. Big. Front and center. To the detriment of all things good in marketing!

No one buys based on what your box looks like. And we know it. Our execs worked with a company who had a box designed to detect weapons beneath clothes. We set up their entire brand launch for a major tradeshow. And yes, the engineers wanted to have pictures of their AMAZING new imaging box in GREAT BIG LIGHTS. And what that box could do was SO. VERY. COOL. It really was, we admit it!

And we said no.

What did we show instead? Well, The MOST adorable little tow-headed boy next to his golden retriever in a Radio Flyer car. (Oh, and we sent out to high-value prospects an ACTUAL dog in a radio flyer!).

Because it wasn’t about the box. It was about the idea that member of the military, managers and execs could come home safely to that little boy BECAUSE of that box. 

(And don’t get us started on spec sheets. How we hate them. Oh we get that they’re necessary, but they are NOT. A. PRIMARY. MARKETING. TOOL.)

The CFO signs the check

And the last reason your high tech marketing isn’t about being geeky comes down to this.

Is the geeky engineer really your customer?

Sure, it’s great to have a round of high-fives with your compatriots at your customer’s companies. But ultimately, in high tech marketing, who is the buyer? It may be that the engineer is an influencer, but a CEO, CFO or even VP of Development is making the call. And the emotional appeal to those types may vary widely from the engineers who know how great your tech is.

*********************

High Tech Marketing — like all marketing — is about Emotions

Ultimately, all marketing — even high tech marketing — comes down to emotions. Not specs, boxes and data. We know it. We live it. We love it. So reach out to us if you want us to help you pinpoint the emotional needs of your customers and craft amazing high tech marketing to engage those emotions.

Spark Something in YOUR Marketing

Spark Something. Seriously. Ep.1: “So you do marketing??”

We help our clients create strong marketing elevator pitches. But, paring down marketing services into a 30 second elevator speech is not necessarily the best — or at least not the easiest — idea. Oh, don’t get us wrong — we have a number of elevator phrases our market understands like:

“Creative marketing for high-tech business.”

“You know tech, we know tech marketing”

“We turn ‘geek’ into ‘human-speak.’ “

And one that usually drives it home:

“What we do is not rocket science, but no rocket scientist can do it.”

But we are three key things as professional marketers. We are strategic, creative and comprehensive.

So, in the edict of the elevator pitch, we can clearly define strategic and creative marketing in a sentence or three.

  • Strategic marketing: Understand the nature of your product or service. Define who it serves and how the features of that product or service offer customers great gains or solve great pains. Identify, narrow and target those customers and get in front of those customers using memorable messages that appeal to them.
  • Creative marketing: Understanding the strategy above, add the magic of the right emotional appeal — via humor, passion, whimsy, love, anger and more — in a powerful, moving and memorable way across multiple channels.

So strategic and creative — easily understood.

It that “comprehensive” word that gets us into trouble! Because it’s the one that begets the question “But really, what do you do?” To which we can really only answer “it depends.”

It probably what gets you in trouble as an entrepreneur too when it comes to your marketing. It can be overwhelming to see all the things you COULD be doing! It’s much harder to determine what you SHOULD be doing.

So, over the next weeks, we’re launching “Spark Something, Seriously.” In this series we will be addressing the “comprehensive” pieces of our marketing so you better understand the vast options available to your company, and what to ask for from any marketing firm you choose to hire.

The articles will address:

Branding

Your brand is your identity to the world and, more than just a name and logo, has to answer in words and imagery:

  • Who you are?
  • What is your product or service?
  • Who do you serve?
  • What do they like, what do you like and where do those likes dovetail — that’s the brand sweet spot.

Content

Look, if we hear “content is king” one more time, we may scream too. But, in a world where we receive over 6,500 marketing messages a day, you must be a part of filling that pipeline with content. Your content tells:

  • What you’re about
  • What you believe
  • How you help your customers lives
  • Your acts of service and education to your market — a necessity in the new millennium
  • And lastly, your product’s features

Offline Marketing Channels

Offline channels are the stalwarts of effective marketing. They cover any message not received solely via a computer or mobile device (yes, there is some crossover) like:

Press Relations

  • News
  • Events
  • Pitching

Public Relations

  • Speakers, influencers and boards
  • Corporate social responsibility

Promotions

  • Advertising via non-digital means
  • Cool stuff and giveaways!

Tradeshows and events

  • Pre-show
  • Onsite
  • Post-show
  • Paid sponsorships
  • Booth draws
  • Speaking

Guerrilla

  • Outrageous, unexpected, stealth or often sneaky!
  • News-generating
  • Viral-generating

Digital Marketing Channels

These are the methods of marketing you create and deliver to your customer via computer or mobile device and include:

  • Influencer relations (bloggers, Instagrammers, Verified Twitter accounts)
  • Social media engagement with customers
  • Email marketing campaigns
  • SEO & digital advertising
  • Podcasting
  • Video content

These digital channels often feature messaging and creative elements that arise as you create your offline strategy. It’s important not to put the digital cart before the offline horse!

**********************************

Someone asked us if this blog series will replace “No F**ks left Fridays!”

Naaaah.

After all, we’re all about leaving it all on the floor, being outrageous and using sparky little ideas to have out of this world impact. So, forgive us this serious series. But we hope it helps you Spark Something. Seriously.
Till our next installment, happy marketing.

Messaging: It matters more than the means!

So when we venture out to share the messaging about what we do with the B2B and tech communities we love, we are bombarded with questions about how we achieve marketing success for our clients. And inevitably, people jump to asking questions like:

  • Do you do social?
  • Can you do a drip email campaign for us?
  • Can you do a press release and get us in the news?
  • Will you automate our digital outreach?
  • Do you make videos?

 

And while all of these are perfectly valid questions, we want to cry “Hey, you’re putting the cart before the horse there! Before you talk about the means to get to them — have you even figured out to which customers you’re messaging and what your messaging should tell them about you?”

 

And we have to poke our engineer and tech-savvy clients a bit.

 

Actually, not poke. We just have to say it bluntly.

 

You’re the worst!

 

Before digital marketing was pretty much everything anyone talked about in marketing, you’d at least listen to us tell you about the importance of brand, taglines, imagery, perception, creative campaigns, promotions, event outreach, press strategy and customer & public relations — all forms of messaging!

 

Now — someone has convinced you that all marketing takes place at this keyboard and that you NEVER have to leave your dark engineering corners which makes you oh, so happy!

 

My goodness, what have we wrought?

 

So we’re going to say this and keep repeating it until it sticks. The messaging still matters. The messaging still matters.  Stop focusing on the means until you get it in your head that the messaging still matters.

 

And let us also say — it’s not your fault. It’s an industry problem that marketers have so convinced you that if they get you half-a-second of a view of half your ad, they’ve done their job. Well, thankfully, market leaders like Proctor & Gamble’s Mark Pritchard are calling out the industry on digital return sleight-of-hand, and demanding more from the people who run the “means” side of the industry.

 

Which means maybe, just maybe, we can make a case for focusing first on messaging, then how to maximize the message across delivery vehicles (like digital ads, press releases, promotions and all the many forms your messaging can take) and lastly the MANY means of delivery: organic digital content, digital ads, social, sponsored content, digital video distribution, print, broadcast, and other offline means.

 

Think about it — what makes you respond to or remember the sponsored content that smacks you in the face on Twitter, Facebook or a Google search? It’s what the content says that is important to you.

 

And messaging has to be first strategic, then creative. The strategy finds the best ways to connect with your customer on a visceral and emotional level. The creative makes that connection memorable.

 

So, want marketing that works? Remember, it’s first about the messaging — the strategic and creative messaging!

 

 

 

No F***s left Friday: Guerrilla doesn’t always mean “good”

We LOVE guerrilla marketing campaigns. We can’t get enough of them. We build flash mobs, send out flying pigs, create dragon costumes, give away cute plush puppies…

BuddyWithBuddy

…here’s ADORABLE DIXIE with her Prempoint BUDDY? “Buddy” was a promotion that helped drive up our client’s web traffic by 230% for three days and made them hugely successful at an industry tradeshow!

 

Our campaigns are fun, engaging, memorable, socially shareable and really stand out in an all-too-often BORING technology market.

 

BUT, all of our guerrilla marketing campaigns would be a WASTE. OF. MONEY. if they didn’t have solid, strategic thought behind them. Because none of them would yield measurable ROI if they didn’t build on a solid, strategic path.

 

 

So, here are a few of the strategic “musts” you have to consider when building an effective guerrilla campaign.

Know your customer profile

Before you determine the creative part of the campaign, where you plan to execute it. the choice of offline or digital and so forth, you have to know your customer profile. This is more than the demographics of gender, education, income and location — but is rather the delving into “a day in the life” of your customer. Where do they get their coffee — Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts or the office sludge machine? Do they bring lunch from home, dine with office colleagues or use lunch to run errands? Do they have dinner at home  All of this MATTERS when you’re building incentives, determining if your target customer will respond to everything from the music you use for your flash mob (Liz Phair for security industry guys? Uhm, NO!) to the prizes you offer for your contest.

 

Campaigns are for people — not companies

When you go to create that incentive, if you’re thinking of offering a FREE unit of the business to business product you sell as a reason for someone to enter your contest, engage with you at a tradeshow or make an appointment with you — think again! If I win a free printer for my company, well, how does that really help me personally? I’d be more enthused to join your mailing list if you offer a happy hour for me and 10 of my friends! Or if you have a swath of Mom-types who are the purchasing managers for the companies you target — might they love a mother-daughter pedicure? The point is — at least in the business-to-business marketing we are known for — it’s easy to forget you’re building a relationship with your customer as a person. And that goes beyond how your widget may help their company improve. You’re selling to a person, and appealing to their wants and needs.

 

You’ve about a nano-second to tell the story…

This one’s simple. If you have to explain it in more than a breath. Kill it.

 

…You’ve got less to connect to your product or service

And just in case this follow-on isn’t obvious. If it’s hard to tell WHO the promotion is for. Kill it.

 

Those are the basics. We’d love to tell you more about the importance of strategy when developing creative campaigns! Contact us before you plan your next promotion, advertising, event or show!

ROCKET-FUELED READ: Online is nothing without offline

We believe that in B2B marketing, elements of offline marketing like corporate social responsibility, speaking engagements, events, promotional items and even old-fashioned direct mail give your online campaigns depth, soul & dimension. We call it integrated marketing, meaning that each campaign we craft strategically taps the right mix of channels. We think offline and online , not just relying on digital!

We think this read from Clair Jones at Relevance, who says:

“In a perfect marketing world, online and offline marketing should work hand in hand, each driving traffic to the other symbiotically.”

does a great job showcasing campaigns from companies who garner specific benefits using offline marketing tactics. We couldn’t have said it better, so we won’t try!

Enjoy!

 

No F***s Left Friday: An unplanned post

We had a completely different post planned for today, but in light of the events of the past three days, we decided to take a different tactic.

 

With a large part of our team based in Orlando, we’ve been through the wringer in the past month. And yet the devastation keeps on coming in our country. Like many small companies, we feel challenged to soldier on when feeling so very helpless to “fix” things.

 

But we’ve come to a conclusion based on a few conversations with each other, friends and clients that what we can do, is to keep doing what we are doing. Yes, we can post to social media our frustrations about lives that matter and laws that seem to fail at protecting those lives. Yes we can join organizations or contribute money. Yes, we can even use our skills and network–having been able to help connect a victim from the Orlando shooting to PR resources who are helping her navigate the media and find financial resources to help minimize the devastating impact her medical bills will have.

 

We have to keep doing WHAT WE DO EVERY DAY for two reasons. (1) The cliche’d reason of if we don’t carry on, the bad guys win. (2) Because what we do has impact because of WHO WE DO IT FOR!

 

You see we are instrumental in helping companies who are literally changing the world by using technology in a new way. We find these companies via important programs like NSF I-Corps, Florida Venture Forum, The Kaufman Foundations’ 1 Million Cups and other organizations committed to promoting start-up technology. We might not create the nano-particle that delivers bio-actives to give burn victims relief, but we help the company that does garner customers and sales. We may not develop the laser technology that gives stand-off detection of chemical weapons, but we help build the case to the commercial world as to why they need to implement that tech. We may not develop the software that will launch next-generation security designed to keep you safer, but we provide the strategic marketing direction and content to help that company find partners and users from the first day they launch.

 

So, to honor that “keep doing it” drive–when really, we kinda of want to curl up in a ball and cry, or hit something, or drink way too many martinis–here are some of the teams we’re proud to support and a quick summary of how their technology makes the world a better place.

 

Prempoint: Prempoint is advancing next-generation security through a new approach to social networking. Using a combination of premise and proximity combined with a private, secure communications network, Prempoint allows property & site management professionals better serve the security needs of their clients. We are jazzed every time we hang up from a call with this dynamic team who came out of IBM with their caps set to change the world of security!

 

Burnout Game Ventures: Did you know game technology impacts not just entertainment, but training for our military and medical advancements in surgery? Burnout Game Ventures is a company who helps developing gamers take their skills out of the coding room and into the commercial sector, helping to grow this industry that has a $102 Billion (yes, with a “B”) future.

 

IROH: We met IROH via our mentoring I-Corps student groups. We see a big future for this team! They’re approaching prosthetics in a new way that uses 3D printing for a more custom fit for prosthetics, enables less expensive development which will allow kids with growing needs to change their prosthetic more often as they grow and generally allows for customization never before attainable.

 

Sensatek: Another I-Corps graduate and first place winners at MegaWatt Ventures clean energy competition, Sensatek is developing sensors designed to withstand extraordinarily harsh environments in combustion applications. This means longer lasting safety-components in critical places like airplane engines. This impoves the safety of those monitoring the equipment, reduces downtime issues resulting in dramatic cost savings and, of course, reliability in places where reliability is mission, asset and life-critical!

 

And one to watch…Alula Aero: We met the Alula team at Florida Venture Forum and know they are poised to change the aviation industry. Limitations of today’s black box technology mean greater threats to aviation. For example, in the recent Egyptair crash, the ability for authorities to determine mechanical mishap versus a terrorist attack was still in question 12 hours post-event. Using Alula’s real-time telemetry, the ability to garner intelligence regarding potential threats still in-air flights after an event would provide critical information for other planes still in the sky. And gaining much forensic evidence would no longer take a recovery of the black box.

 

So we’re going to “keep on doing what we do” — by supporting these teams and other technologies that WILL change the world — because that is how we heal, how we help and how we keep our belief in hope!

 

ROCKET-FUELED READ OF THE WEEK!

We like the following post from Heidi Cohen. We’re planning a future post to help technology business builders by providing our view on the differences between marketing, marketing communications and the many marketing sub-categories. We think it can be incredibly challenging to know the difference when your day-to-day revolves around inventing and building advanced technologies. But if building your advanced technology into a viable business is important, you’re going to want a foundation in the terms so you can best select the marketing resources and activities–like content marketing, branding, promotions and public relations–that you need!

We think this article is a pretty good pre-tutorial to that, so it’s our Rocket-Fueled Read of the Week! Thanks Heidi!

What Marketing Is NOT – Heidi Cohen

My recent post of marketing definitions with contributions from seventy-two different sources generated a lo . . .http://heidicohen.com/what-marketing-is-not/

Copyright © 2015 by Heidi Cohen, some rights reserved.