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Technical or Technology Marketing?

Marketing used to be purely a creative effort. Things have changed. Are you changing as well?

Before we get started, let’s lay out some definitions that may prove helpful.

1. Marketing Technology: A set of technology-based products and services used to enable marketing processes, bring insights, manage data and connect the sales, marketing and financial aspects of a business. Some marketing technology examples are: HubSpot!, Salesforce, WordPress, artificial intelligence and machine learning, virtual reality, gaming, keywords, PPC and the like. Marketing technology is the stuff you use to bring products and services to market, to get noticed and considered and to improve overall sales and marketing effectiveness.

2. Technical Marketing: This is the end-to-end management, marketing, business development and sales of products and services that are borne out of an engineering mindset, coded into hardware, software or cloud-based solutions. Technical marketing is about marketing technology in a manner that generates the greatest presence, awareness, interest and adoption of complex, engineered products and services.

Technical marketing utilizes marketing technology as an enabler to success. Technical marketing provides the experience, skill, relationships, methods, processes, strategies, personas, plans, activities and measurements to technical products and services. Then, fully uses marketing technologies to make the magic happen.

Why make a distinction? Because there is a fundamental misunderstanding around the application of  marketing technology. The perception is that if one simply adopts and utilizes the most current marketing technologies, then an avalanche of new and highly qualified opportunities will happen. It is simply not true.

Countless businesses have rushed into the adoption of new marketing technologies, spending a lot on integration across their business and see lackluster results. Why is this?

Businesses that drive complex, engineering-oriented products and services see “more technology as the solution.” And often forget about or miss what drives the use of marketing technology. They forget about the rigorous discipline and positive impact of technical marketing.

 

Technical Marketing as a Necessary Discipline and Component for Success.

Let’s explore technical marketing in more depth and the reasons why it is so critical to business, product, service and solution success in the marketplace—especially for complex, engineering-based companies.

A. Requirements Phase: Simply put, this connects the customer and the marketplace to the identification, validation, prioritization and development of features and functions within a technology-based product or service. This is about the “voice of the customer” and the identification and validation of the “customer experience” you want the marketplace to have, all ahead of building the product or testing phase. Technical marketing keeps development efforts focused on what the market wants or needs by uncovering obvious and hidden requirements that increase interest, acceptance and margins.

B. Testing Phase: Technical marketing is critical at this point in the product development stage. It is here that proper expectations must be established, evaluation criteria communicated, neutral feedback gathered and cross-connected into meaningful information and the identification and packaging of unique, high-value attributes that provide substantial and monetizable differentiation. Technical marketing provides the link between the alpha or beta candidates, communicating and listening to areas of improvement or uncovered value, validating requirements adoption and value and forming the customer journey.

C. Packaging Phase: The role of technical marketing in packaging cannot be understated. It is here that important decisions are made with respect to naming and brand, competitive positioning, packaging and the esablishment of proven unique value propositions and economic value propositions. Technical marketing also provides the necessary experience and skill to remove unnecessary complexity in messaging, making the product or service easier to understand and to increase desire to evaluate. Technical marketing becomes critical in establishing the end-to-end customer journey and associated expressions across the company.

D. Launch Phase: This is where planning and readiness to take the product or service to market happen. Technical marketing does the heavy lifting around persona development, industry-specific targeting, messaging and UVP/EVP work, including evaluation and buying criteria development, sales support tool development, customer experience rollout. Done well, the complex, engineered product and service are easily found, understood, considered for evaluation and off to a fast start in the general marketplace.

E. Ongoing Marketing Phase: As the product or service gain traction, several key things must happen. All within the area of technical marketing. Such things as A/B testing, persona refinement, derivative opportunity identification, sales acceleration and growth of qualified pipeline. After the product of service is in the market, the business cannot take it’s foot of the gas. Technical marketing brings the “voice of the market” and “voice of the customer” back into the development process with pragmatic and measurable considerations for the next version or how to next attack the market.

F. Marketing Tool Evaluation and Adoption: As more and more business and marketing technology options are available in the marketplace, and as marketing is more technology driven, making the right tool choices and their integration is critical to success. Again, technical marketing is best suited to drive this effort for two reasons: 1.) technical marketing is the closest to the customer, the product/service and the overall customer experience; and, 2.) technical marketing is made up of technologists that know and understand the marketing tool complexity, fitness for purpose and cost effectiveness.

 

OK, so what?!

Good question.  Because of the increased complexity of products and services, one must consider the role and use of technical marketing within the business. Likewise, it is important to see beyond good “creative”, decent SEO strategies and actions, PPC, traditional brochures or datasheets and the like. For businesses to be successful in today’s market, they must consider technical marketing as a core discipline, integrating it across the business and using it as a mechanism to drive more qualified pipeline, better sales effectiveness, revenue and even increased profitability.

It is for these reasons that 2021 is seeing more and more technologists in the role of CMO, why technical marketing is becoming a backbone within business and how technical marketing has become the next generation of marketing across all industries and businesses, regardless of stage of maturity.

Are you still viewing marketing as an excercise in great campaigns, PPC, SEO, PowerPoints and maybe a video or two? Or, have you made the decision and taken the steps to making technical marketing the driver to your next level of growth?

The Afterburner Group specializes in helping companies achieve their growth goals for products, services, entire markets, revenues, profit and business value. We are technical marketers with the best and proven approaches that drive the desired results you’re looking for.

If you think that your marketing is ready for a technical marketing approach that drives results, fill out the contact form below and let’s start the conversation.

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