Marketing to Tech Buyers — It Isn’t the Same as Choosing Coke over Pepsi

I’ve spent all of my 26-year career in the tech space and the last fifteen of those years in an executive marketing role. One thing that I’ve learned crystal clear during that time is that marketing to tech buyers has no resemblance to any other marketing sector on the planet.

I learned this the hard way a few years back. I wrote some brochure copy that I thought was pretty good stuff. My marketing counterparts agreed. When I put it in front of a CIO, he shredded it. Hated it. Called it junk. It was at that moment that I realized that techies…IT folks….CIOs… DON’T WANT TO BE MARKETED TO. At least not in the same way that consumer marketers try and get you to think you’ll be cooler if you drink Coke, than if you drink Pepsi.

What the tech sector wants is useful information. Information that will make them better at their jobs and put them in a position to make more informed decisions. If it has even the least scent of marketing or "slickness" to it, see ya! They are outta here.

So what that means is that content becomes king. White papers, practical guides, surveys and studies, trend papers, fact-based case studies, analyst reports, demos; these are the things that allow a marketer to engage with a tech audience. It is also a key contributor to building a trust between the tech buyer and your company.

Now lest you misunderstand me, the tech buyer still likes a free t-shirt now and then, but it isn’t anything that will influence his buying decision. He just thinks it looks cool.

So fellow marketers, knock it off. Quit treating the tech buyer like a consumer shopping for running shoes. Build great content, make it easily available, then get out of the way. You’ll find that you have far more tech buying prospects talking to you as a result.

Consider yourself a tech buyer? Give us your perspective.