Technology for Marketers: Are you Engaging Effectively?

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Ruder Finn has been working in partnership with Brand Republic to conduct research among marketers into whether their involvement in technology buying decisions has and will increase, and what their views are on the existing marketing messages that they see emanating from technology providers. The resulting report, “Technology for Marketers: Are you Engaging Effectively?”, makes interesting reading for technology companies and marketers alike, particularly those looking to target decision makers in the marketing department.

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Technology for Marketers: Are you Engaging Effectively?

  1. 1. 1 Technology For Marketers: Are You Engaging Effectively? EXPERT REPORT Technology For Marketers: Are You Engaging Effectively? In partnership with:
  2. 2. 2 Technology For Marketers: Are You Engaging Effectively? In partnership with: Expert Report Executive summary Last year Gartner predicted that by 2017 CMOs would have bigger technology budgets than CIOs. The prediction sparked a lot of debate among IT decision-makers and has been widely challenged. Regardless of this, what cannot be disputed is that the line between marketing and IT is becoming increasingly blurred. The consumerisation of technology is cited by many as the reason behind technology moving out of the server room and into the boardroom and, as we all become more tech savvy, we are certainly demanding more – both as employees and as consumers. In 2016 it is predicted that there will be one tablet for every eight people on the planet and in the last year alone there has been a 50 per cent increase in the amount of website traffic coming from smartphones and tablets. We are all increasingly comfortable shopping, socialising and consuming content online across an ever increasing number of different devices and, in a significant shift from where we were ten or even five years ago, these days it is consumers who are leading the way when it comes to technology adoption. So as we all move onto digital channels so do the businesses that we interact with and, when it comes to technology spend, IT that helps companies engage with their customers more effectively become a priority. A recent survey from Accenture suggested that in the next three years companies will be spending 50 per cent more on digital and mobile technology and 50% less on traditional infrastructure projects. So what does this mean to technology providers and consultancies when it comes to their own marketing? There is clearly a need for them to be able to reach new audiences within marketing departments if they want to hit the new breed of IT decision-maker but how effective are they in doing this? Ruder Finn together with Brand Republic has conducted research among marketing decision-makers in medium to large enterprises to find out how well they feel IT companies are doing when it comes to marketing their services to a marketing audience. This report outlines the key findings and looks at what IT service providers and consultancies need to do to reach this increasingly influential group. I http://www.forbes.com/sites/ lisaarthur/2012/02/08/five-years-from- now-cmos-will-spend-more-on-it-than- cios-do/ II http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/ collateral/service-provider/visual- networking-index-vni/white_paper_c11- 520862.html
  3. 3. 3 Technology For Marketers: Are You Engaging Effectively? In partnership with: Expert Report Technology decisions and the Marketing department While traditional views of the relationship between marketing and technology teams paint a picture of a siloed approach to business strategy, these departments are now starting to integrate when it comes to purchasing decisions; only 20 per cent of respondents felt that marketing and comms teams were not closely involved in tech purchasing decisions. It also seems that this integrated approach is becoming more mainstream. When asked if marketing teams were more or less involved in technology purchasing decisions than twelve months ago, 46 per cent felt this was a steady involvement, with 44.5 per cent indicating that their teams were more involved than ever. The role of marketing teams in the future of technology purchasing decisions will continue its significant shift, with 43 per cent of respondents highlighting that involvement will continue to progress over the next twelve months. MARKETEROPINION Bob Mulhern, Managing Director, Open Door Solutions CMOs used to be able to focus primarily on being creative, but in today’s marketing environment they now need to be proficient in finance as well as be technologically savvy. The advent of marketing technology has fuelled this latest trend and there is now almost a need for a key technologist and financial specialist under the CMO umbrella. The onslaught of technological advances that marketers must now consider means the CMO’s job is becoming more and more difficult and has led to some to hire chief technologists within the marketing department. CMOs need to ensure that they proactively manage application fragmentation in order not to create downstream information silos. This will only further exacerbate existing organization silos. Technology companies need to focus on problems which the marketers are currently targeting, otherwise their messages get ignored because of the sheer volume vendor outreach. One answer for technology companies is to try to reach different contacts within the organisation and tailor their marketing messages accordingly. It’s no good just trying to speak to the CMO alone, you need to connect with middle managers and execs and even the CFO – if the business case resonates, to get it on the CMOs radar and to enlist key influencers in a decision to purchase. They must then focus on showing the business case with real-world examples of how the technology has been used successfully. Do you believe your marketing and comms department is more or less involved than it was 12 months ago? To what extent is your marketing and comms department involved in technology buying decisions? Which of following would yo your exp dealing w technolo compani To what extent is your marketing and comms department involved in technology buying decisions? To tec ca To To a Do you believe your marketing and comms department is more or less involved than it was 12 months ago? To some extent 46% 8% Not a all 45% To a great extent 1% To a limited extent 21% Very involved – we are the decision makers on many technology purchases 28% Involved – we have a strong influence on many technology purchases 31% Somewhat involved – we influence decision making from time to time 18% decision making from time to time 3% Never Which of the following statem would you say re your experience dealing with technology companies? To what extent is your marketing and comms department involved in technology buying decisions? To what e technolog campaign To a great To some To a limited No Do you believe your marketing and comms department is more or less involved than it was 12 months ago? To some extent 46% 8% Not a all 45% To a great extent 1% To a limited extent 21% Very involved – we are the decision makers on many technology purchases 28% Involved – we have a strong influence on many technology purchases 31% Somewhat involved – we influence decision making from time to time 18% decision making from time to time 3% Never
  4. 4. 4 Technology For Marketers: Are You Engaging Effectively? In partnership with: Expert Report The importance of this shift is highlighted by the change in perception technology has undergone within the marketing department. Many marketers now see technology as a key component for the successful implementation of marketing and communications campaigns, with many now looking to technology to enhance their traditional techniques – almost 87 per cent of respondents indicated that they were now proactively using marketing technologies to influence and transform marketing campaigns. When it comes to the types of technology playing a crucial role in marketing and communication campaigns, it’s no surprise to see that technology benefits overall communication – whether it’s within a team or with consumers directly – come out on top. ■■ Communications and collaboration technologies top the list with 68.5 per cent of respondents purchasing this type of technology ■■ This is closely followed by CRM technologies (59 per cent of respondents), highlighting the need for technology to help improve communications and relationship building with important audiences ■■ Managing data is also crucial for marketing departments – 55 per cent of respondents indicated that database technology was a key technology purchase for the marketing teams ■■ Surprisingly, hardware and financial technology are at the bottom of the priority list when it comes to marketers – less than 30 per cent of respondents have a role in the purchasing of this technology To what extent are you proactively using marketing technologies to influence and transform your marketing campaigns? Which of the following statements would you say reflect your experience of dealing with technology companies? Language is too technical / uses jargon The marketing is good and well-tailored to a marketing audience The messages are usually well- personalise 52% 30% 46% 6% artment involved in To what extent are you proactively using marketing technologies to influence and transform your marketing campaigns? To a great extent To some extent To a limited extent Not at all 38% 49% 10% 3% ms department is more months ago? To some extent 46% 45% To a great extent d – sion any y 28% Involved – we have a strong influence on many technology purchases 16% Messaging is too focused on a technology rather than business/ marketing audience Technology companies don’t seem to understand the challenges a marketer faces MARKETEROPINION Rav Atwal, Head of Marketing, IMGROUP Previously, the technology requirements of the CMO were minimal, and they were reliant upon their IT teams to source appropriate tools. Now, as the technology evolves, the requirements for CMOs are becoming more complex. Ultimately, they just want to understand their customers better; who they are, their behaviour, their challenges, their opinions. This information is more accessible now than ever before, as technology solutions become more sophisticated, and as social media becomes more prolific. Additionally, marketing budgets are under increasing scrutiny, and CMOs are under more pressure to demonstrate a high return on marketing investment. To do this, they need the right tools in place to help them measure effectiveness and consistently track ROI. “As a technology solution provider, it is crucial to focus on the challenges the CMO is facing and how we can help address them, not the features of the technology. Any suitable technology solution should seamlessly integrate within existing processes, and provide information that will empower the CMO to make the right decisions.
  5. 5. 5 Technology For Marketers: Are You Engaging Effectively? In partnership with: Expert Report Marketing effectiveness in technology The overwhelming opinion of the marketing landscape is that technology companies as a whole do not market themselves effectively to a non-technical audience with 56 per cent of respondents holding this view. In an increasingly crowded technology market with companies of all sizes competing against each other, the major challenge for technology companies is to cut through the noise and properly engage and influence their target audiences. It seems however, that this negative view of technology marketing may stem from a disconnect or lack of understanding between the technology providers themselves and the marketers they are targeting. Survey respondents were asked to identify a series of statements that they felt reflected their experience of dealing with technology companies. More than half (52 per cent) said that messaging they had encountered is too focused on a technology rather than a business and marketing audience. In addition, 46 per cent said that the language they had encountered was too technical / uses jargon and 30 per cent felt that technology companies don’t seem to understand the challenges a marketer faces. Which of the following statements would you say reflect your experience of dealing with technology companies? MARKETEROPINION Mike Altendorf, Entrepreneur, investor, mentor, author and executive As a non-exec and investor for a number of companies in the technology sector I have seen a marked increase in the involvement of marketing in the decision-making process. This is important for a number of reasons. Firstly marketing teams speak a totally different language and technology companies need to adapt the way they communicate accordingly. Secondly, marketing directors and CMOs think of their budgets in terms of OpEx not CapEx so anything that is going to require a significant up-front investment (with technology traditionally has) won’t appeal. Therefore it’s not just about how companies sell their products but also how they structure them. The big issue for technology companies is that the involvement of marketing means they no longer have anyone between themselves and the business. Historically, the business decides what it wants to do and the tech team puts together the technology strategy to deliver it. Only once that is set do supplier become involved. These days is not uncommon for marketing teams to leapfrog internal IT and go direct to the supplier so they have to understand the business goals, create the strategy and deliver the solution. Ot Which of the following statements would you say reflect your experience of dealing with technology companies? Language is too technical / uses jargon The marketing is good and well-tailored to a marketing audience The messages are usually well- personalised Other 52% 30% 46% 6% 6% more e t % 16% Messaging is too focused on a technology rather than business/ marketing audience Technology companies don’t seem to understand the challenges a marketer faces
  6. 6. 6 Technology For Marketers: Are You Engaging Effectively? In partnership with: Expert Report There are some guidelines that technology companies can follow to ensure their messages better meet the needs of the marketers they are targeting however, the most frequently identified improvements that could be made to technology marketing were as follows: ■■ Provide clearer, simpler definitions with no jargon ■■ Giving real case studies with details of return on investment ■■ Using demonstrations, imagery or video content more ■■ Focus on the user experience and the business benefits of the technology rather than the technology itself However, there is hope within this negative outlook for technology companies with 16 per cent of respondents feeling that technology marketing they have seen is good and well-tailored to a marketing audience, and a further 6 per cent receiving messages that are usually well-personalised. Perhaps unsurprisingly, global technology brands, with their large marketing budgets and extensive departments, are considered most effective in their marketing – Apple and Google were most frequently identified among the respondents as particularly effective in their marketing over the last twelve months. However, two marketing software companies, Hubspot and Marketo also featured frequently as examples to follow. The proliferation of social media channels both as a consumer and business vehicle over the last few years has evidently opened minds more to marketing communications through these channels, which is good news for technology companies. Email is unsurprisingly the most popular channel to receive technology marketing communications with 89 per cent of respondents happy to receive communications in this way. However, 32 per cent said that they were also happy to receive communications through social media, making it the second most preferred channel. Over which channels do you prefer to receive technology marketing communications? Phone Email Social media Mobile channel Direct mail Online advertising Other using marketing sform your marketing 3% 89% 32% 7% 23% 23% 3% Over which channels do you prefer to receive technology marketing communications?
  7. 7. 7 Technology For Marketers: Are You Engaging Effectively? In partnership with: Expert Report Conclusion There is no doubting that the influence on technology purchasing decisions of the CMO, and indeed the entire marketing department, has been and is still increasing quickly. Experts have identified a marked increase in the involvement of marketing in the decision-making process and even in some cases seeing the marketing team bypass IT to go direct to the supplier. Alongside this growth in power, this research also identifies a blurring of the lines between marketing and technology teams, with a more integrated approach to purchasing decisions increasingly being adopted. In addition, these findings suggest that this shift in power and influence is driven by the fact that technology is now a crucial component to enhance marketing techniques and implement successful campaigns with clear return on investment. Consumer expectations are now for a personalised approach and as a result, the main focus for marketers is on understanding their customers better. However, one thing is crystal clear – marketers as a whole feel that many technology companies fail to market themselves effectively to a non-technical audience. Given the increased propensity for marketers to control purchasing decisions and even go to suppliers directly, there are some key considerations that technology companies should take away here: ■■ They should focus on problems which the marketers are currently targeting ■■ They must clearly communicate the marketing business benefits of their products ■■ To ensure they connect with marketers on a level they can identify with, they should steer clear of jargon, show case studies and proof points and focus on the user experience and business benefits There’s no denying that the gap between marketing and technology is now being bridged, but what technology companies must now try to address is the disconnect between varying technologies and the perception of importance. Collaboration and communication is a key priority for the marketing department, but with more emphasis being placed on the smooth running of campaigns, and the subsequent budgets and ROI attached to these methods, there is a need to broaden the appeal of technology to marketers. As a result, technology companies must ensure their communications are better tailored for the marketing audiences they are trying to reach, and, if necessary engage a third party that can advise on the best approach. MARKETEROPINION Trenton Moss, CEO, Founder Commercial Director at Webcredible “Today’s connected consumer or business person is subjected to so much noise, that understanding is the key to engagement. Technology companies must realise that no matter how technical their product, they are still selling to people and people make decisions on relationships – marketing in this arena is now much more than awareness and sales. “Being part of a user experience agency, I see how we help our customers by creating insight-led personas and user journeys to inform digital design and strategy. Technology businesses should be taking the same approach to designing their products as well as how they choose to communicate with the market. Understanding the drivers and needs of your clients will help your products and business to be more successful. “With the growth of digital and cross-platform targets the role of the marketer has changed over the past decade so the marketing department is increasingly influential in buying decisions. This means that the people buying technology may not be as knowledgeable about the finer details as previously. “Technology companies must therefore look to communicate how their products fit in with the marketers’ role, looking at the diverse business challenges they face – it is important for technology companies to educate and support customers and prospects, a key ingredient to long-term engagement.”
  8. 8. 8 Technology For Marketers: Are You Engaging Effectively? In partnership with: Expert Report Research methodology The research surveyed 229 marketers on their views on involvement in technology buying decisions and the marketing messages of technology companies, between January and March 2014. About Ruder Finn Ruder Finn is a leading independent communications agency with more than 65 years’ experience. With offices in New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, Boston, London, Paris, Basel, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Guangzhou, the agency employs over 400 of the leading public relations professionals in the world. The London office serves as the European Headquarters, employing 40 consultants across 4 divisions: Corporate Technology, Healthcare, Public Affairs and Digital. Contact Emma Sinden, Head of Corporate Technology, Ruder Finn E: esinden@ruderfinn.co.uk T: 020 7438 3050

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