How to (and How NOT to) Market to I.T. Professionals

Ah, the poor IT professional. Be it developer, database analyst, director of enterprise architecture, or heck, even the CIO, they are recipients of the driest, most boring marketing and messaging I’ve ever seen.

Coming from tech, I actually started my brand consultancy due to a frustration with tech companies not talking to their prospects like they were human beings. We throw jargon at them, robotic phrases that no one ever says in real life. We “stick to the facts” because everyone knows “Tech buyers are skeptics! They don’t want any BS, and will see right through it!”

True. But who the heck determined that writing like a human being, with conversational language and even the occasional sense of humor, made others skeptical?

I hear this time and again with many of my tech brand strategy clients. They are sometimes so scared to say anything human or unique, constantly shouting the rallying cry of “They are skeptical!”

Skeptics don’t hate a conversational human tone or a bit of light humor. They hate lies. So tell them the truth – claims you can back up. Marketing should never be about lies but should always elevate the truth of your story (that’s a different rant). But do it a human way.

Guess what? IT buyers are human beings. Yes, flesh and blood. They love their families. They enjoy a good Will Farrell movie, they may even in equal doses cry at a wedding (gasp!), or get out on the dance floor for the Chicken Dance. They binge on Netflix, bake sourdough bread, and play Legos with their kids on the floor.

We have to stop assuming that IT buyers leave their emotions and personalities behind when they get to the office.  (TWEET THIS!)

Humans buy for both logical and emotional reasons, and often use logic to justify the emotion.

So here’s what I do: I conduct qualitative customer interviews, MacGyver style, so that it’s not just me simply telling the client to be more human in their brand marketing. The customers actually tell us what they want to hear!

Some things I’ve heard from these skeptical, serious, no BS IT buyers:

“Everything marketed to us is so dry! I like the occasional funny memes. They stand out!”

“We want our tech partner to understand we have serious business problems to solve, but they could also lighten up and talk more conversationally on their website.”

“I would love for them to lighten up in their marketing – I would respond to that. Their people are so personable and fun  – why does their marketing sound like it was written by robots?!”

“The product is so innovative, I wish the marketing emails could be, too!”

Please, save these poor IT buyers from a life of jargon-filled websites, a litany of feature-function vomit, and such a serious, formal tone. They are humans. They want to be inspired, provoked, sparked, and moved like the rest of us.

  • Lead with empathy and get to know your customers as human beings
  • Inject some personality into your copy. Get creative and yes, perhaps whimsical, with your marketing campaigns (if that suits your brand)
  • Ditch the jargon when you can (of course speak the industry language, but be discerning)
  • Write like human beings talk – on your website, in your emails, in your white papers. Ask and echo back.
  • Stop writing customer-facing marketing like you are presenting to an analyst. Pleasing Gartner is fine – but they don’t buy your product. Remember who does.

Remember, B2B buyers are humans, too

Want some help revamping and refreshing your brand story to be more empathetic, connective and human? Let’s see how we can work together to make that happen.

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Does Your Story Connect With Your Customers?

Does Your Story Connect With Your Customers

While we inherently know this, we need to better understand our customers if we want to inspire and persuade them.

This requires us to speak their language.

Too often, my clients come to me to revamp their brand story and messaging and my initial diagnosis is usually the same: They are talking in a way that doesn’t resonate or connect with their customers.

The messaging is full of jargon. They use terms only analysts like, but that a real customer never expresses. It’s complicated. It’s robotic. It’s not something anyone can emotionally connect to. Because of fear, they use the words everyone else in their industry is using and they wonder why no one stands out.

SEO is important – but it’s not everything.

To speak your customers’ language, you must take the time to LISTEN TO THEM with empathy.

Ask them about the challenges they face, how your solution solves their problems, what they love most about working with your company or product. Develop empathy for your customers, instead of viewing them like “they don’t know any better” (Yes, I have seen this disdain for customers from marketing leadership before!)

And then – this is the hard part: Don’t ignore it.

I conduct qualitative customer interviews for my corporate clients. And some clients love getting all this rich insight – only to ignore peppering their story with the very words their customers use. They say “The analysts don’t like that term” or “It sounds too folksy.” 

You will never connect with a customer, prospect, audience, or human if you don’t speak a language they can understand. If you don’t tell a story they can relate to./strong> (TWEET THIS!)

It’s time to set aside ego. It’s time to take a chance. It’s time to listen to your customers and tweak your story. 

Are you ready to revamp your story for more connection, engagement, and loyalty? Let’s talk about my brand strategy packages and how we can help your brand shine!

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