Information technology management and marketing is fiercely evolving with tech startups and established businesses rapidly adapting their approaches to IT and IT marketing to add value for their customers
We've rounded up our top 7 recommended IT marketing skills and tools for you and your team to plan, manage, and optimize your marketing strategy. Structured across our popular RACE Framework, implement tactics and strategies to achieve your goals at each stage of the customer journey.
1. The RACE Framework
The top spot goes to the RACE Framework. In fact, all our IT marketing recommendations stem from this crucial practical digital strategy framework.
RACE empowers marketers and managers in the IT and high tech sectors to streamline their marketing planning to create an efficient and effective marketing strategy.
Our tried-and-tested marketing structure helps IT marketers track marketing optimization at each stage of the customer journey from reach to act to convert to engage. Apply the RACE Framework to ensure each of your channels and platforms are integrated within the customer lifecycle so you can plan, manage and optimize your touch points, to drive results. Find out more.
As a RACE Framework advocate myself, I'll be breaking down our next 5 tips to discuss their function within the framework. So, you can pick the tactics and techniques you need to ensure those quick wins.
2. Reach: Put your IT products in front of more good customers
IT and high tech marketers with strong products are in a great position regarding demand. If you're already a household name, you may already have a strong position regarding organic footfall to your site. Or, those with fewer brand searches may be implementing earned and paid media to boost their traffic.
Either way, with the huge changes in the digital landscape, the trends and terminology which your users are searching for are constantly evolving. To avoid missing out, regular keyword research and strategizing is a must to maintain your business' market share.
We recommend planning and managing your keywords using gap analysis techniques. Our 'SEO gap analysis spreadsheet' (example below) helps you to keep track of opportunities, organic visits and ads visits from your target keywords. So you can identify those all-important improvements.
Business Members can access our full range of specific marketing resources to support managers creating and optimizing their full SEO strategy - including media investments, content ideation, and competitor benchmarking.
Moreover, today's IT marketers are applying AI applications and propensity models to optimize their marketing to reach more customers. Opportunities such as smart content curation, programmatic media bidding, AI-generated content, and voice search are empowering digitally-savvy marketers to apply real-time data to stand out and remain relevant to target customers in the marketplace.
As you can see, machine learning, propensity modeling, and AI can add value across a wide range of customer touchpoints, which I will cover across the framework.
3. Act: Customer experience for movement down your marketing funnel
Unlocking high tech/IT marketing means delivering the technology products and services that your customers need. Once your customers have found you online, it's your job to serve the right content and messaging to encourage them down from the top of the funnel.
As we know, decision-making for IT and high tech certainly isn't a case of one-size-fits-all. That's why web personalization is such a key part of encouraging your web visitors to interact with you on the site. This could be their dream white paper, a webinar that will solve all their problems, or a newsletter invitation they simply can't say no to.
The more you know about your audience, the better this personalization will be - this depends on both your data capabilities and ability to plan customer journeys. As you can see in the personalization pyramid below, taken from our 'web personalization module' in the Digital Experience Learning Path, broad personalization techniques include A/B testing and optimization, while more targeted personalization is a 1:1 experience.
1:1 personalization is, of course, not possible manually, so this is where AI comes into play. Propensity modeling data can inform ad targeting, predictive analytics, even lead scoring. With these tools at your fingertips, you can ensure all your web visitors are seeing a 'shop-window' designed for them personally, according to their wants and needs.
As you can see, the marketing skills and techniques needed to influence a customer from unknown to the point of purchase are wide-ranging. IT marketers can achieve their goals through strategic planning, channel-management, and simple or complex marketing technology.
We've got marketing tools and templates to support you. Find out how Smart Insights membership can transform your company's approach to IT marketing. Get started today.
4. Convert: Retargeting - ads and personalization
A popular tactic for converting middle and bottom of funnel traffic is personalized retargeting. This includes both paid social media and display ads outside your site, plus a personalized experience if the user returns to your site. Either way, you can use data and retargeting to ensure your product stays at the forefront of your customers' minds during their decision-making process.
Just as before, content is key to winning customers at this crucial stage. Retargeting web traffic is much warmer than first-time visitors since they are further down the path to purchase.
There are lots of practical factors to building a suitable retargeting funnel, as demonstrated by this diagram from our 'set up ad retargeting' module in the RACE Practical Digital Strategy Learning Path. The best retargeting content for IT marketing is informed by contextual, behavioral, and demographic targeting.
The key to retargeting success is testing, tracking, and using conversion data to inform you decision-making before you scale up. You may think a particular message/CTA/image would be more likely to convert your customers, but before you see it in action it's very difficult to be able to tell.
Retargeting can return a fantastic ROI, but it can be easy to spend but still miss your audience, that's why you need to test before you scale up your activity. This could be as little as £5 a day!
Our 'select media investments' module in our RACE Practical Digital Strategy Learning Path will guide you through the step-by-step process of selecting and managing your media investments.
5. Engage: Customer onboarding
Customer retention doesn't get enough attention. Here are three cold, hard facts to help demonstrate exactly why customer retention is so important:
- It is 5-7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an old one
- It costs a company $234 every time they lose a customer
- Loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase
Particularly in the high tech/IT marketing sector, where customer decision-making is understandably a very long cycle for high-value first-time purchases, retaining your customers can transform your ROI.
We've got marketing resources and planning templates to help you convert, onboard and retain more customers. From strategy to channel management, upskill yourself and your team so you can confidently execute your winning strategy across all elements of the RACE Framework. Get started today.
6. Omnichannel planning for IT marketing
Eagle-eyed readers will have spotted that the RACE funnel preceded by a P, for plan. It is true that without a strategic plan in place, your marketing funnel won't necessarily meet your objectives. That's why skill number 6 is omnichannel planning - and it's not all about the customer!
In the diagram below, by Gartner, you can see the omnichannel connections between customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX), and multiexperience (MX). It's important to make sure, when planning or tweaking your IT marketing strategy, that you can connect up these experiences.
Gartner states that IT marketing sits within the 'digital experience economy', and 'requires a holistic and integrated approach to omnichannel planning.
For IT marketers, working across a number of omnichannel touchpoints and platforms, this is where the RACE Framework really comes into its own since you can use it as a checklist for all customer-facing activity. You can apply the above diagram to your IT marketing planning by covering the 4 strategies given by Gartner below:
- CX strategies need to generate enduring memories of the product or service by incorporating great EX, UX, and MX principles.
- Leading companies in CX invest heavily in EX, particularly by empowering frontline workers with MX capabilities and great UX in the digital workplace.
- Great UX strategies reduce effort and friction by designing for an MX world in support of CX and EX.
- MX strategies are required to address the architectural and development needs of organizations to support customer and employee UX, particularly the overlapping experiences that are most impactful.
7. Digital Transformation in the IT and high tech sectors
Finally, the IT and high tech industry, like many others, is currently undergoing rapid digital transformation. Naturally, some companies have adapted more quickly than others. Factors in the Digital Transformation process include digital marketing capabilities, management, and willingness to change.
Interestingly, Garner has reported that most CEOs expect IT and business executives to work together equally to own the digital initiatives and that 'IT leaders must reach out and broker conversations to keep momentum going, even in these tough times'.
We have resources to support marketers leading and engaging with institutional digital changes. Our Digital Transformation Learning Path has resources to support Digital Transformation and change across a range of industries and sectors, for large and small businesses. So, you can represent your customers at executive level, whilst continuing your day-to-day IT marketing activities. Find out more.