As a former IT buyer and current consultant for companies using Salesforce and other cloud deployments, Geraldine Gray knows what those in the market for IT products want.
They want to be showed not only what works -- but specifically where it has worked.
"Our customers love to see real life scenarios of product application through third party or user prerecorded webinars," said Gray, principal at Houston-based Endiem.
And herein lies the message to the marketer. Show, don't tell. Show how your product has worked well for customers. Get out your rock stars, and turn up the amplifiers.
CMSWire talked with Gray about IT buyer habits after IDG Connect released its report, "Connecting Conversations to Content." This is the second of a three-part series examining ways to connect IT buyers with the right marketing messages. Yesterday, Erin Bolton told us it's important to use social media.
Show Me the Way
Buyers in the market for, say, electronic signature or data cleansing solutions want to hear firsthand why other companies chose it, Gray said. How do they use it every day? Where has it increased efficiencies and saved money? What impact has it had on the users, especially in their sales or service teams?
"They are looking for organizations that face similar challenges to theirs and to find out how they’ve overcome them," Gray said. "They will often reach out to the customer-presenters after webinars for further endorsement and feedback."
IT buyers seek out webinars typically via shares on the Web, Twitter and LinkedIn -- and they may seek live feedback during the webinar with a unique hashtag.
"Woe to the organization that advertises a webinar as educational when it is purely promotional," Gray said. "It will be slammed and shamed on social media."
Product researchers simply want to learn something new and feel their time is well spent.
"They don’t want yet another sales demo," Gray said. "Short animated infomercials on a company Website also appeal to buyers. They break down complex products and processes into real-life scenarios."
Gray said SlideShare is gaining popularity and is often used to search for user-delivered conference materials. These can include lessons learned from a project.
It's perceived, Gray said, "as being more realistic and true to life than corporate marketing materials."
Four Things To Know
Gray shared with CMSWire things to know about reaching IT buyers:
Retargeting may not work. Buyers liken retargeting to being stalked by a brand, which inevitably turns them away from being a potential customer unless that brand is truly the market leader or a clear choice winner in their desired technology, she said.
Well-established, independent, expert business blogs have a commanding influence on IT buyers. Having years of articles gives gravitas to them, and their firsthand experiences often include warnings and lessons learned that no marketing department would ever publish for themselves.
Getting personal. Writing for corporate blogs but giving a personal opinion of endorsed products drives influence for the author, Gray said, and provides potential buyers with a further source of education.
Authentic influencers. It’s important that high profile social media influencers are transparent when endorsing B2B or B2C products and indicate their relationship to the company and product and if they’ve achieved any personal gain or payment from the tool or product, Gray said. Their endorsements can have a true effect on IT buyers, "so transparency is vital."
Title image by ChameleonsEye (Shutterstock).