Sometimes, the best B2B technology products fail to gain traction among the customers they were built to serve. Why? Because the companies who spend so much time perfecting their product fail to put as much thought into how to take that product to market.
Here are the four biggest mistakes that companies make when marketing a tech product and how you can avoid them.
1. Putting too much focus on the features
If you have been part of your product development team, it’s easy to focus exclusively on how your product works. You’re excited about it. Why wouldn’t your customer be? It’s because (as the old saying goes) they aren’t buying a shovel, they’re buying the ability to dig holes.
Your customer doesn’t care as much about the nitty gritty product details or features you offer as they do about how your product benefits them and makes their life easier. Make sure that mapping product features to market problems is the target of your efforts.
Highlight your customers’ pain points. Build their trust by demonstrating your understanding of their problem. Remember, nothing important happens inside your office. In other words, to find answers to your questions, you need to step outside, talk to users and reassess the ever-changing marketplace. Research should never stop.
2. Underestimating the importance of storytelling
Everyone has heard the marketing fallacy, “If we build, they’ll come.” In reality, this is not always the case. No matter how incredible your product is, it’s your job to spread the word. What market problem does it solve? How will it benefit the buyer? How will it make their job easier? Companies forget that it is the way customers feel about a brand that makes them act, and the best way to evoke feeling is by building a strong brand narrative that places your customer in the hero seat.
Ensure that you have the basics in place before creating a campaign. These include things like a strong marketing plan, clear and unique positioning statement, buyer and user personas and a brand guide. Once those foundations are set, use your brand voice to differentiate yourself in the market. Differentiation also dovetails into the next mistake.
3. Forgetting your soul and what makes you different
Many tech companies claim their product is better than the competition — but this fact alone does not tend to sway or excite buyers. Buyers want to see the soul of a company come through your identity and point of view. How are you approaching this differently? Do you look like everyone else out there? Or am I going to be surprised and delighted when dealing with you?
Mailchimp is an excellent example of a company with soul. They are smart but playful. They take their mission seriously while having fun with what they do. For instance, Mailchimp has included small interactions throughout their tool (like high-fiving you after you successfully send a campaign) that enhance user experience and set them apart from their more cerebral competitors.
Companies are comprised of people and buyers respond to knowing that there are real life humans behind the scenes who are having fun. It builds trust and affinity. Don’t be afraid to inject personality into your content, publish photos of your team being themselves, create a robust About Us page and let your potential customers get to know the people they will be working with.
4. Not trusting the marketing team to do their job
According to the Pragmatic Marketing framework, “Your opinion, while interesting, is irrelevant.” That’s a hard thing to communicate to the founder and CEO who has given nearly every waking hour of the last several years to building a company. Objectivity can be a tremendous asset and it’s something that you should fight for when building your marketing strategy.
Many times, your C-level executives, salespeople, and product technologists are eager to jump into the marketing seat. Sometimes they are qualified and in tune with the market needs — but, other times, they have been so immersed in business and product development that it’s difficult for them to maintain any real objectivity.
The C-level team and technologists should be providing their expertise and reactions to marketing materials. After all, the same customer-focused approach that enabled them to build a great product can also help you clearly communicate with your customer, develop a strong marketing strategy, and set yourself apart from the competition. However, there is a difference between input and direction. When the marketers are allowed to do what they do best, the outcome is monumental.
When you feel like you’re flailing, always return to the problems in the market and the real needs of your customer. We are happy to help you in the process. Contact us here to start a conversation.