August 09, 2019
Why Is Most Tech Marketing So Bad?
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Why do so many good tech companies do such a bad job at communicating to prospective customers? Isn’t it common knowledge that the objective of prospect communications is to attract and interest them? Why are such smart companies so dumb when it comes to executing effective communication with their prospects?
These are questions that I’ve been asking for many years. I’ve worked with dozens of technology companies as an employee and consultant. And I’ve reviewed the communications of hundreds more as a technology industry observer and customer. The vast majority of tech businesses focus almost entirely on communicating what their product or service does, how it does it, and sometimes why. Almost no companies lead with the need they address and the benefits they deliver. Why not?
The first explanatory observation I’ve made is the low level of awareness of this problem. As George Bernard Shaw famously noted, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” And the reality of his statement seems to apply to most of what is communicated between technology companies and their prospects: most tech companies believe that what they communicate to prospects is appropriate and well-received. The fact that their communications generate weak results is generally explained away as a result of other factors.
The other common observation is that far too many tech companies don’t have a clear handle on who their prospects are and why and what their prospects want and care most about. This seems extremely odd but it’s all too true. The reasons, it seems to me, come down primarily to three phenomena:
So what’s the solution to overcome this triad of foundational challenges? My best advice, based on a couple decades of experience, is this: don’t even try. You will almost certainly fail. Instead, hire someone — an outsider (like the very prospects to whom you are trying to appeal) — to help you tell your story. For a modest cost, an experienced outside marketing consultant can assure that your communications will be crafted to attract and appeal to your ideal prospects. Marketing is expensive and ineffective marketing is the most expensive kind. Marketing messaging and other content can more than pay for itself — in fact, it’s supposed to. If your current marketing messaging and content isn’t generating extremely strong results, a good marketing consultant can help. And, indeed, may be the only realistic chance your business has of making a meaningful difference in marketing communication effectiveness. Godspeed.
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