As the B2B Tech marketplace grows and becomes more competitive, an effective, targeted marketing strategy becomes absolutely essential. Savvy marketers know the best way to break through the clutter is by segmenting the various types of technology company decision makers and subsequently reaching out to them with targeted content.
CTO, CIO, CFO, Director of IT…. all quite different, yet depending on the organization, all may have a hand in the technology decision making process. Understanding what keeps them up at night, where they get their information and where they are in the buyer’s journey is critical when creating content that engages with each in a way that gets their attention and creates a reason to do business with your company.
Want to deliver great content to the appropriate audience? The first step to enhance your tech marketing strategy is to segment your company database. Most businesses segment by job title or role and where the contact is in the sales funnel. Let’s take a high-level look at some of the key B2B tech buyer segments:
Segmenting by Job Title
Of course, the CEO, CIO and CTO have separate responsibilities and work from different angles to improve the profitability of their company. The CIO serves as a business’s top technology manager, concentrating on implementing and managing infrastructure for internal business operations. The CTO creates strategies and focuses on external customers, working with vendors that supply solutions to enhance the company’s products.
The Director of IT is responsible for managing the day-to-day technical and operational issues of the IT department, typically reporting to the CIO or CEO.
Keep in mind that many businesses are also experiencing an internal shift in IT decision making as CFOs insert themselves into the process. As their role continues to expand, few CFOs are actually technology experts. As they’re often seeking objective guidance in these areas, vendors have an opportunity to build credibility and trust with this audience by filling an important role – providing insightful and educational content.
Considering the Buyer’s Journey
Once you have segmented your database by title/role, you will need to determine where contacts are in the buyer’s journey or sales funnel. Are they kicking their tires in the awareness stage? Perhaps emailing a whitepaper about a common problem prospects from your industry often encounter makes sense. Are they farther down the funnel, in the decision stage? A case study offer explaining how your company has helped a client with a problem similar to their own would be more appropriate.
Prospects at the “top” of the funnel are not yet ready to buy, so it’s important to provide these types of contacts with educational content that doesn’t tout your products and services. At this point, it’s about giving them the sense that you are experts in your niche technology field, and that they should look to you for tech industry specific resources or insights on particular topics. Once these prospects start warming up – and you’re able to tell they’re really looking for a specific solution, that’s when you follow up with content that addresses a particular issue they’re looking to resolve – and convey the message that you’re the right fit for their business.
Establishing Buyer Personas
A critical step in segmenting your audience is creating buyer personas. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. You can create personas by interviewing current customers and gathering information about their demographics, behavior patterns, motivations and goals.
Here are a couple quick snipets of what IT Buyer Personas may look like:
- Marvin the Maintainer is the CFO of a large company. He is a college graduate in his late 40s, and he has a family. He uses LinkedIn for business information and occasionally can be found on Facebook. He views IT as a cost center and is motivated to support business needs at the lowest cost possible. He values cost control and IT operational excellence.
- Early Adopter Evan is the Director of IT for a start up. He is a college graduate in his late 20s. He has grown up with social media and gets most of his information online. He has an appetite for risk, and likes to be the first to experiment or sand-box new technologies.
Creating Compelling Content
A prospect’s role, the buyer’s journey and buyer personas are the secret sauce in creating great content for the appropriate audience. Remember each of your personas has their own unique top-of-mind concerns that should be addressed in the content you create; while an ROI cost calculator on your website is sure to pique the attention of Marvin the Maintainer, a blog post highlighting the Top 10 Hottest IT Trends would appeal to an Early Adopter Evan. Looking to target CFOs, consider devoting an area on your website that addresses a CFO primary pain point, compliance as an example, and you will begin to capture their attention, too.
Most importantly, remember tech decision-makers seek out relevant, unbiased content. The customer journey begins before you ever know there is interest in your solution. Your customers are researching solutions by delving into content. You must continually ask yourself: does your content educate, encourage further action and open the door for conversations? If so, then you're on the right track!