Brands Don't Care About Tech, They Care About Customers

This column is written for companies that market ad tech and martech:  I hate being the first one to tell you this, but your customers don’t care about the same things you do.

I read a lot of industry trades to make sure I know what’s going on, and I talk to a lot of people who are tech marketers. These folks love to talk in terms of speeds, feeds and tech specs and brag about the vast quantities of data that are being processed at any single moment.  

Tech marketing is flooded with messages that are tech-focused, but marketers really don’t care about tech.  They care about customers.  Marketers want to trust that your platform can do what’s it’s supposed to do, enabling them to generate results quickly or more efficiently.  Your messaging does not resonate, and it actually can effectively turn off your end customer if you go too far down that path.

This is not an challenge just for ad tech or mar tech.  This is all tech!



 If you’re a tech marketer selling tech to a non-tech customer, you have your work cut out for you.  You are required to maintain a significantly stronger understanding of the target audience’s business, and you have to predict where your solution rests in the timing of that business.

For example, in the case of tax software, your solution is of extremely high value for two to four months of the year, but utterly useless the other eight months.

In the case of selling a DMP, you are high priority when companies are considering an advertising campaign or marketing personalization, but much less so when they’re looking at other types of marketing engagements like PR or analyst relations.  The audience is different throughout the enterprise in all of these use cases, and the priorities are different depending on when and whom you are speaking to.

Great technology marketers do their homework first and should listen to the needs of the customer, because they change depending on the timing.  Just because you knew their needs at one time doesn’t mean you know them still. Also, great technology marketers can create applicable analogies and define their product solution in the language and considerations of the target audience.  If you’re selling to IT execs, know the language of the IT execs.  If you’re selling to millennials, know their language.

I remember when we first started selling a DMP and our developers kept talking in terms of “stamps” as a metric for data delivery, or data being passed from one partner to the next.  Stamps may have been a great term for us, and even some of the other partners we worked with, but they were an outdated term when talking to marketers because it is associated with direct mail and it’s a cost, not a benefit.  We changed the term a few times over the years, and with each change the audience got clearer understanding of what we were doing.  

You may fully understand your products, and you may be able to bridge the gap to your development team, but your audience shouldn’t have to.  It’s your job as a marketer to do that work for them: Bring the message in their language and on their terms.  That’s what will keep you around for a much longer time than those “average tenure” CMOs!

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