An area of your business that can make or break your company — but one that solution providers routinely overlook — is IT marketing. And that blows my mind. Solution providers invest so much time and effort adapting their solutions and services to meet their clients’ evolving needs, but frequently don’t think about changing their marketing strategy in response to these same trends.
Mickey North Rizza, program vice president, Enterprise Applications for IDC, explained that for partners to capitalize on digital transformation they need to let prospects know about their expertise, the services they offer that can help businesses build their digital transformation (DX) strategy, and how they help companies advance their own roadmaps. Rizza said, “Most companies are so focused on selling that they think marketing is a secondary strategy. But these days, with the digital economy and more companies being online, more companies are doing their research on the front end.”
In a webinar on the SAP partner economy, Paul Edwards, director of Software Channels and Ecosystems at IDC, reported that 65 percent of B2B buyers* have already made purchasing decisions before they talk to a sale rep. “Online marketing has the upper hand,” he said. “You could be losing business to competitors, but you wouldn’t know it because you aren’t a part of the discovery phase that takes place online.”
Marketing Messages for LOB Buyers
Rizza also pointed out that the people doing research into IT solutions are more often not from the IT department. They’re line-of-business (LOB) executives and managers. This audience isn’t influenced by IT marketing messaging that focuses on speeds and feeds. They’re more interested in the experience and the results the solution will provide.
To reach this new breed of buyer, IT solutions providers need to change their perspective, their messaging, and the way they approach their markets. “Still focus on IT, but you need to turn your focus away from pure IT selling,” says Rizza. “You need to be a bridge between departments.”
There’s also a very compelling business rationale for IT marketing that targets LOB: LOB spending is forecast to grow at more than twice the rate of IT spending.
A Focus on Digital Marketing ROI
Besides allowing your target audience to find you when they’re researching solutions, digital IT marketing also has other advantages over traditional marketing. One significant advantage is that digital marketing allows you to get more for your money. You can granularly define an audience and focus your marketing resources and budget where they will give you the greatest return. Digital marketing also allows you to reach a geographically dispersed audience more cost-effectively than by traditional means such as ads in trade magazines or telemarketing.
Furthermore, digital marketing generates data that allows you to track performance of campaigns, something that’s difficult with traditional marketing strategies. That data allows you to see what’s working for your business — and what’s not — so you can make smart decisions about where to invest your marketing budget in the future.
Digital transformation is driving B2B decision makers to take matters into their own hands, research IT solutions online, and make purchasing decisions faster — and digital IT marketing is providing them with the information they need to do it.
When organizations in your market search for information on technology that can help them automate their operations, run more efficiently, and advance their digital transformation roadmaps, are you sure they’re finding information about your business? Make sure you’re competitive on digital channels.