Are you falling into today’s technology marketing trap? The way we’ve been marketing software for years may not be working as well as it used to, according to a new report.
The 2021 Buying Disconnect exposes the gap between the way organizations are marketing technology and the way buyers want to engage now. This gap began to appear before the advent of COVID-19 but accelerated during the pandemic. The reasons for the rise include economic uncertainty and remote workplaces. These changes require buyers to not only search for products virtually, but also to be more confident in their purchase decisions than ever before.
The report’s findings provide insight on creating a new path for tech marketing so that organizations can meet consumers’ changing expectations in the new year and beyond.
For example, consumers now want more user reviews, self-service options and product research. Following this path may be critical for technology companies because 49% of buyers report decreased tech spending due to the global pandemic. Only about 1 in 4 companies reported increased tech spending.
Here are five of the main marketing gaps that technology makers are facing today — and takeaways on how to respond to boost marketing results in 2021.
Technology vendors primarily rely on three tactics to market their products: marketing collateral, case studies and customer references. However, buyers regularly use five main information resources in the early stages of making their purchasing decisions: product demos, websites, user reviews, vendor rep conversations and free trial offers.
Other findings: 92% of buyers who use reviews share them with at least one other person, and 2 in 5 buyers who use B2B tech reviews share them with four or more other buying committee members.
Invest in the resources buyers rely on to beef up your tech marketing program, including spending resources on building up user reviews, marketing free trial offers and deploying sales reps to interact with prospects. Note that when it comes to user reviews, what buyers today care more about is the review content. They are less concerned with a product’s score.
How to boost user reviews:
To boost user reviews, you have to go out and ask for them. Start by targeting repeat customers, who are likely happy with your products and services. When asking for reviews, keep these tips in mind:
Software vendors tend to create marketing programs for older buyers. However, 60% of all B2B technology buyers are Millennials (age 25 to 39).
In order to market successfully to your target audience, you need to understand what makes them tick.
Here is what you need to know about Millennials:
While older generations typically discover new products from their own prior experience with vendors, Millennials are almost twice as likely to discover new products by proactively conducting early-stage online searches across the marketplace.
Prepare for Millennials to take charge of buying decisions by making sure your product or service has a strong online presence. This will also benefit non-Millennials who must now conduct more product research online than ever before. Prioritize your web presence, including on review websites, so buyers find your solutions while doing their independent buying research. Make sure information about your product is easily accessible across all online channels, especially the ones that younger buyers prefer.
How to be found online:
Since the advent of the coronavirus, more buyers want self-service options on their buyer journey. Self-serve and remote interactions have made it easier for buyers to get information, place orders and arrange service. Over 87% of buyers want self-serve tools, while 57% of buyers already make purchase decisions without ever talking with a vendor representative.
Provide buyers with more self-service options to help support virtual product buying and reduce unnecessary friction during their online purchasing process. These include do-it-yourself product demos and the ability to purchase products with only a credit card.
How to boost self-service marketing options:
Due to the pandemic and data security concerns, buyers now spend more time researching products before making a purchasing decision. Over 35% spend more time clearly defining expected ROI, 33% of buyers spend more time researching products and 33% spend more time comparing products than they did before the pandemic. What’s more, the average buyer uses an average of nearly seven information sources to make a purchase decision, a 35% increase from 2019 to 2020.
Buyers’ research also includes their security and compliance concerns. Over 49% said they spent time doing extra research to ensure new products meet their data security requirements.
Note that when considering information resources, analyst rankings and reports may be losing their power to sway buyers. The study found that only 20% of tech buyers use them. By comparison, 45% of buyers seek out user reviews during their purchasing journey.
Create a full range of content to ensure your organization is providing the information B2B prospects are looking for when they are searching for new technology products.
How to support product research:
Consumer behavior changed significantly during the coronavirus, including for technology purchases — and in ways that will last long into the future. To prepare your organization for the new world of tech marketing, level up your information resources, understanding of Millennial buyers, online presence, self-service options and product research. Making these changes to your organization’s digital marketing strategy could help better position your organization to sell your technology products in 2021 and beyond.