6 digital marketing lessons for technology companies from our interviews:

1. Look for unlikely places to communicate your brand

With new entrants constantly entering the technology space, it’s a constant battle to find new and innovative ways to communicate the key messages of your brand. Thankfully, most technology companies lack imagination and tend to fight among themselves in the same places. The smart brands are those that veer off the beaten track.

Increasingly, this involves using more traditional media while the crowds are all trying to outbid each other in Facebook and Google ads. Abba Newbury of Habito spoke of the crucial role that tube advertising had played for their customer acquisition – with a dwell time of 8 minutes it’s the perfect channel for a fintech to be influencing customer behaviour.

Richard Mabey of Juro spoke of a similarly innovative approach to communicating the brand, as his company set about designing the world’s most user friendly privacy policy. Hardly an obvious place for innovation, but that’s precisely what made it so powerful!

 

2. Use social media for targeting prospective employees

We tend to think of social media as a means of building brand awareness, promoting content and generating leads, and of course it can do all that, but for many B2B technology companies the biggest benefit is to be found in its ability to attract a stronger workforce. We live in a world now where people want to work for companies that not only offer a rewarding culture, but also stand for something beyond the generation of profits. Companies that provide real purpose and direction to their employees.

Social media is perhaps the most effective channel for opening up a company in this way, and allowing prospective employees to look inside. As Alastair Barlow of Flinder explained, “We viewed acquisition and retention of talent as our single greatest obstacle for growth, so decided to treat current and future employees as a distinct audience with their own communications strategy. We identified the channels that we felt were most relevant to this audience, particularly instagram and YouTube, and began sharing content that captured the culture of the business. We invited people to look inside and see for themselves what Flinder is all about – videos of our ski trip, imagery of our summer event, etc. We even launched a video series for new employees to journal their experience with Flinder.”

Of course the great side benefit to this approach is that it’s simultaneously communicating a wonderful message to clients. After all, what business doesn’t want to hire a firm that communicates so openly about its culture and cares so deeply about its people?

 

3. Become an influencer

B2B influencer marketing is still in its relative infancy, but its importance is only heading in one direction. For the most forward thinking firms of all, the real value lies in developing their own leaders as influencers. After all, think of the most successful technology companies of the last 25 years and in all probability you can also name the person at the helm – that’s no coincidence!

When we’re investing in technology, the vendor we choose says something about us and we want to believe that we’re associating ourselves with someone at the absolute top of their game. Mary Bonsor told us about how her company, F-LEX, had made sure she attended every major tech event in the legal sector for the first few years of the business, speaking at every opportunity. In doing so she was able to become synonymous with these key trends and a go-to figure for anyone looking for a quote or perspective on legal tech.

 

4. Be bold

Contrary to what we may like to believe, bad stuff is generally a more powerful motivator than good stuff. If we want to get someone’s attention, it pays to highlight all the problems of the statuss quo. Abba Newbury knew that when she designed her Hell or Habito campaign, shining a light on the myriad of pains and challenges one encounters when trying to secure a mortgage. Using the illustrators behind Rick & Morty, they set about developing a campaign that would make the audience’s skin crawl before proposing a solution. As Abba explained “Anyone that’s been through the mortgage process will remember their experience based on the worst moments, so we wanted to bring those extremes to life. By presenting the negative of our competitors we could then present the positive of Habito.”

 

5. Prioritise brand

Many technology companies go into their digital marketing with a focus on the numbers. That’s certainly a huge part of developing any scalable campaign, but in the long term those numbers will almost certainly elude you if it’s not accompanied with a focus on brand.

Brand development spearheads everything. From reducing your acquisition costs to growing customer lifetime value, not to mention growing your most important asset of all – your employees. A Dan Garret explained, “Building a brand is not only critical from a customer perspective, but also operationally as it allows decentralised decision making. The brand purpose and values act as a framework within which people have the autonomy to work out for themselves how best to achieve their goals.”

 

6. Research and prototype

It may not be the most exciting element of digital marketing, but there is a reason why every great marketer has an unhealthy obsession with research. Whether it’s researching into the customer or into the competition, they want to gather every piece of information available before leaping into new decisions. Even the greatest creative genius of all time, Steve Jobs, was famous for pinching ideas from other companies.

This is a point hammered home by Richard Clayton, who argues that a great designer should spend 50% of their time investigating the existing market landscape. He then goes on to discuss the importance of extensive testing. Even if it’s just with a small groups of people, building a rapid feedback loop is hugely important in minimising risk and uncertainty.

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