As the digital revolution has taken hold there has been a massive change in how we market technology.

The biggest driver for this change has been the transformation in buying behaviour; in the past marketing would make some general noise aimed at a buyer in the IT department.

Once this had caught their attention a sales person would engage with them, control the flow of information and drive the majority of the sales process.

“Now multi-channel marketing programmes aimed at building ongoing value led relationships with technology buyers that lead to more sales are required”

 

Now the buyer is just as likely to be from a line of business rather than the IT department; they won’t engage with a sales person as early in the sales cycle and they definitely won’t depend on them for the flow of information as the web is full of product information and peer reviews.

Marrying marketing techniques

So marketing techniques that used channels like email, direct mail and telemarketing in isolation no longer work. They have to work in conjunction with digital collateral to create multiple touch points the buyer will find valuable.

Now multi-channel marketing programmes – aimed at building ongoing value led relationships with technology buyers that lead to more sales – are required.

Multi-channel marketing (MCM) is constantly evolving, however, and it means different things to different people.

Below you’ll find the answers the questions our clients frequently ask us about MCM within the technology sector.

What does a multi-channel marketing programme look like?

The overall aim of the programme is to create multiple touch points along the length of the sales cycle where a buyer can access valuable information about the relevant solution.

The model is completely flexible but it is generally centred on a website or microsite with collateral that buyers can download. This collateral is gated so the buyers’ details are captured when they download it.

Buyers are driven to the site by click through emails, direct mail, social media and advertising. Downloads and other expressions of interest are followed up by telemarketing or in individual emails.

Often as an MCM programme progresses, different channels are introduced or removed depending on what is delivering the sales leads.

How big a part does social media play in a multi-channel marketing programme?

Social media is becoming more and more important for MCM programmes.

For technology this versatile channel focuses on networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter, but should also integrate with your website and blogs, and creative media on YouTube and Vimeo.

“The key to successful ABM is to identify as many people within a buying team as possible and build a valuable long-term relationship with them”

 

There is still debate about the ROI from social media and how well it can produce leads but, this can be achieved with the right know how.

We have a developed a five-stage process to teach our clients how to use social media efficiently and, most importantly, to get them into the habit of using it so they can drive the social media strategy themselves.

1. A social media audit.

2. Identification of the relevant groups for our target audience on LinkedIn.

3. The profiling of buying teams within our target accounts and an understanding of their social media activity.

4. A workshop to develop a sustainable social media strategy.

5. Three months of coaching the client team to hone activity.

multichannel_world

How much content do you need for a multi-channel marketing programme?

There is no set answer for this and typically our clients normally have more content than they are aware of.

The key is to leverage the content across the channels efficiently to maximise engagement.

How does account based marketing fit into a multi-channel marketing programme?

Account based marketing (ABM) is becoming more and more important in technology marketing.

The key to successful ABM is to identify as many people within a buying team as possible and build a valuable long-term relationship with them, so using a consistent multi-channel approach is the most effective way to do this.

Account-based marketing takes time, however, so it fits perfectly into MCM programmes that last six to 12 months.

How does marketing automation fit into a multi-channel marketing programme?

Marketing automation is a key component of an MCM programme.

Indeed the larger vendors Martrain works with tend to have lots of content and sophisticated marketing automation systems like Eloqua and Marketo to distribute it.

“So what they tend to do is ‘spray and pray’ – in other words hit everybody in their database with every bit of content hoping some of it will resonate”

 

The problem is that they often don’t use these systems in a sophisticated way because their contact data is very poor and there is very little segmentation.

So what they tend to do is ‘spray and pray’ – in other words hit everybody in their database with every bit of content hoping some of it will resonate.

The result of this is lots of unsubscribes – in other words the vendor breaks the relationship they actually intended to nurture.

In technology sales the target numbers of relevant contacts are in the hundreds, not the thousands and to maintain a valuable long-term relationship any content has to be specifically relevant to them.

Being laser focused on engaging the right contacts with the right content is essential in maximising the relationship and sales revenue.

How important is good creative in a multi-channel marketing programme?

The stats are conclusive: attention grabbing creative is a must for successful marketing and with the rise of platforms like YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Vine, visual collateral is getting more and more important.

“Making good creative is time consuming and expensive so to maximise its value it must be leveraged through as many channels as possible”

 

When, however, you are marketing complex technology your creative cannot just catch the eye. It must also amplify the key messages.

Making good creative is time consuming and expensive so to maximise its value it must be leveraged through as many channels as possible.

hector-taylorHector Taylor is the Director of Martrain, a full service marketing agency specialising in the B2B technology sector. Martrain has developed multi-channel marketing programmes aimed at building ongoing value led relationships with technology buyers that lead to more sales.

 

Kulsoom Middleton