With 2017 right around the corner, the IT marketplace is faced with a plethora of obstacles – and thankfully – a healthy stream of opportunity.
Given the hypercompetitive nature of the industry and fragile instability in demand, information technology professionals are no novices when it comes to challenges. But perhaps many of today’s IT roadblocks don’t stem from the need to constantly reinvent innovative solutions to everyday problems—perhaps they stem from a much more straightforward dilemma: failure to keep up with today’s marketing trends.
Like technology, marketing is an ever-evolving entity—continuously metamorphosing in both complexity and structure. And as the struggle to maintain an edge over competition shows no signs in slowing down, marketing will inevitably advance in intricacy and distribution.
So, what are the driving forces behind this movement to achieve higher demand in IT products and services? Let’s take a look…
1). Education Over Color
The razzle-dazzle, look-at-me formula of yesteryear’s advertising may still be relevant in some industries, but not so much in IT. Prospects are looking for answers to their problem right now – and the faster you can demonstrate your ability to do so, the more opportunities will come out from the woodworks. However, although conveying your expertise in-person (during the sales cycle) is vital and irreplaceable, it doesn’t have to be the begins-all-ends-all strategy to attain a sale. Creating and gathering highly informative marketing materials ahead of time can double, triple and quadruple your chances in converting prospecting into sales.
Here are some examples:
• Attach links to case studies or earned media placement throughout your website and/or email signature that brings credibility to: ROI, solving customer pain points, and stats that prove tangible success.
• Produce PowerPoint presentations that can be shared during in-person demonstrations or digital marketing (e.g., social media, landing pages, email, etc.).
• Get in touch with your successfully established consumer base to gather testimonials.
• Use relevant external information such as industry news, third-party eBooks, blog articles, YouTube videos, etc. that validate the need to invest in your product.
2). Not your Father’s Social Media
Okay, social media hasn’t been around that long, but it certainly has undergone tremendous maturity in both functionality and interaction. It is no longer solely about creating a virtual business presence, it’s about crafting a personal environment that humanizes your company through engagement and personalized, accessible communication. But unfortunately (not just IT professionals but all professionals) have fallen victim to a self-serving, borderline narcissistic online identity. It’s not intentional (hopefully), it is simply a misinterpretation of context and information. Successful online engagement requires a diverse strategy – a combination of showcasing your company as a source of influence, a wealth of information and, overall, a community of forward-thinking concepts and ideas that don’t always align with sales and generating revenue. Instead, focus on establishing trust and transparency with your digital audience.
Key philosophies you should practice in today’s social world:
• Density in Content – Be conscious in the volume of content you are sharing, producing or distributing. This tactical flaw can quickly overwhelm your audience’s social feed, and/or devalue post significance.
• Tone – What you say in-person can be interrupted drastically different when it’s done via the Internet. Maintain a consistently universal voice that does not segment views, industries, political or religious identities, titles or status.
• Utilize Employees – There may be no better ambassadors to your product or services then the employees that work within your organization. Educate and exploit their good reputation by helping them to share your content with their network. Align this content to your objectives.
3). Increased Scrutiny into the Protection of Data
With the explosion of cloud-based products and its growing depth of sophistication, the data that is aggregated on the cloud inevitably becomes more sensitive—and with this comes the opportunity to exploit this fragile reality. It seems every day there is a new breach of security, hack or release of highly delicate (consumer) data. The unfortunate result of this truth has caused IT consumers to become much more conscious of products and the reputation that is behind those products. IT professionals that can demonstrate their competence as a securely reputable company will find more opportunities than those who can’t.
Think search engine optimization (SEO) is a thing of the past? Well, if so, you couldn’t be more mistaken. Search engines’ sophistication is constantly evolving, and it’s imperative for IT professionals to not wither away into the “Google abyss.”
Here are just a few of the best practices in SEO:
• Easy-to-Read URLs – If you have a hard time reading what your website’s URL is, chances are SEO decoders will as well. Readability is imperative. The cleaner and more keyword relevant your URL is, the better.
• Clean up URL Parameters – At all costs, avoid the dreaded chaos of dynamic URL parameters (i.e., the additional value of URL words accumulated on different pages of web content).
• Bad Content is Worse than no Content – If you’ve heard “Content is King” that’s because you found it on a good source. Produce content that is not only informative, but excludes poor grammar, irrelevant info, or a jargon-laced narrative.
• Use Links Carefully and Strategically – An overuse of links (whether inbound or external) is a tactic you should avoid; additionally, when using links sparingly, also remember to an include links with the addition of keywords (e.g., IT’s newest industry movement).