IT is the mainstay of most industries today. Couple this with the ever-growing need for marketing and we have two large industries fused together, making it a formidable phenomenon. On the flipside, there are just as many companies as there are clients. This event makes it imperative for IT businesses to market themselves well.
As exciting and important as this sounds, marketing for technology looks the same everywhere you see. It remains plain, boring, and number-oriented. Such an approach fails to engage customers in the way it should. Generic websites, standard blogs, uniform advertisements, and some whitepapers here and there fail to reflect the IT industry for what it truly is – a pulsating, ever-growing giant that has the potential to control all aspects of business and life.
One of the principal problems with marketing in IT is the lack of education. Since IT is a highly-specialized field and its usage changes with every device or service, it is important to educate the customer and engage them in active learning. This amusing anecdote explains it so well.
Steve Jobs, when launching one of the formidable Apple devices, looked around at the launch event. He was not particularly interested in answering journalistic questions about the device. A little later, a small boy went up to Jobs and asked him a question. Instantly, Jobs was fully immersed in explaining the machine to the child. Surprised, a journalist asked him why he would waste his time on a child instead of doing some straight up marketing for his product by giving statements to the press.
His answer was simple, but hit the root of marketing – “The child asked me how the device works, and why it is different from other computers. He is asking me why I created this; he is a future user of this product, not the Press.”
Educating future users about a service or product is the root of success in IT marketing. How to do this is the next big question. Impactful advertising requires out of the box thinking. It requires companies to be more disruptive. They need to go beyond boundaries to create an impact much above what everyone is used to experiencing.
Efficient use of social media and interactive advertising is one way to do this. Social media reaches out to a more targeted audience, which adds to its appeal. It is a form of direct advertising that can help communicate directly with the target audience.
Tutorials, interactive videos, and broadcasting local events are other interesting ways to market your company or product. For instance, a social media campaign run along with a digital billboard campaign – perhaps a stimulated self-cleaning billboard that shows how software can clean up your phone cache – has more chances of making an impact as compared to a website introducing a software.
IT marketing can be the next big thing, but it needs thought and innovation. One of the best ways to do this is by creating stories around the problem in new and exciting ways.