By Francis Moran
For too long now, I have been painfully aware of just how dimly acquainted technology is with marketing.
I’ve heard all the usual reasons; hell, I’ve even subscribed to most of them myself at one time or another. But these excuses simply don’t hold up to scrutiny.
Technology companies tend to be engineering-driven and gears just don’t get marketing, goes perhaps the most common refrain. It’s true that most technology ventures are engineering ventures but I think marketers are letting themselves too easily off the hook by bleating that the engineers don’t understand what we do and that’s why they won’t support it. We’re supposed to be in the explanation and persuasion business; if we can’t explain ourselves to our own bosses and clients and persuade them why they should invest heavily in what we do, then we deserve the dim respect marketing so often seems to attract.
Lack of budget is the next most common excuse for not engaging in marketing. This one has more legitimacy but it also betrays a failure by marketers. If we can’t get the funds we need to do the job we believe needs to be done, it’s because we have failed to adequately plot the line between cause and effect, between marketing outflow and revenue income. What rational person would decline to invest a second and third dollar into a marketing program that has proven that the first dollar actually produced the revenue we said it would?
I could go on. There are many other shibboleths trotted out to explain the disaffection technology companies have for the so-called black art of marketing. But here’s the rub: Good technology desperately needs superb marketing if it is going to succeed. And as someone who is equally passionate about both technology and marketing, I want the excuse making to stop so that the essential marriage between technology and marketing can be consummated.
That’s why I started a new strategic marketing practice with its exclusive focus on B2B technology. I want to bring technology to market.
Of course, marketing new technology is hard. (So is everything, but let’s leave that aside for the moment.) In most cases, the successful marketing of a new technology, be it product or service, requires that the customer be persuaded to adopt a new way of doing things. And persuading human beings to adopt new ways of doing things is devilishly difficult. Compounding that is the urgency created by the fact that almost every new technology has but a narrow window of market opportunity that it must exploit before something newer or better comes along.
These challenges are at the core of everything we’re going to write about here at Business Insider. I and the other seasoned marketers who have chosen to join in this venture will share our best practices with you. We will bring you stories of how a successful marriage between technology and marketing gives birth to brilliant and valuable companies. And we will continuously investigate the state of the ecosystem necessary to successfully bring technology to market.
On this latter point, we will begin our contributions here with an extensive series we have been working on for some time now. Join us as we examine the state of that ecosystem in the United States, Canada and Britain. Based on more than 20 interviews with entrepreneurs, technology transfer experts, venture capitalists and others, we examine what is working and what is missing in the go-to-market ecosystem for technology companies in each of these three jurisdictions. We think you will like the insights people have shared with us and, more critically, that you will find clear counsel here on which you can take immediate action.
I hope that you will join the conversation; indeed, I hope you will share it with your colleagues and invite them to join in. Comments are always welcome, as are suggestions of new topics you’d like to see us cover here.
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