I hate the mail.
(Weird way to start a blog post, eh?)
Well, I don’t hate
ALL mail, but really just the bills and ‘junk’ that make up 99% of it.
This is exactly why I usually let the mailbox fill up to the point where the mailman can barely shove in one more credit card offer (he can
keep them) and then my awesome Wife cleans it out. (She’s the exact opposite – she’ll ask me 3 times in a day if the mailman has arrived yet.)
I Don’t Want It! Send It Back!
Even with my aversion toward snail mail, about every 2 weeks, there’s one magazine (within the 1% of ‘good’ mail) that I’m
always excited to see my Wife plop down on my desk – Network World.
Yes, I no longer work in the daily trenches of IT, but I still enjoy keeping up with the latest trends in technology and how they relate to business.
While thumbing through a recent issue, I came across an insightful article titled ‘Outlook 2012′. The final section of this article detailed how IT departments and service providers were coping with the “meteoric adoption” of mobile technology and
social media in business.
The author explained that sales, marketing, HR and other departments want to utilize social media as a business tool, but IT “doesn’t want to
expose the compan[ies] to unnecessary risk”.
Regardless of how IT departments and service providers view social media for businesses, many organizations realize that it’s not a ‘fad’ and will become more of a business requirement (for many organizations) sometime in the future.
This is a
HUGE opportunity for IT service providers – one they should most certainly NOT ignore – as it will allow them to become “value-added” companies.
In my video above, I explain
exactly why the risk associated with social media for business is probably not ‘unnecessary’ and how IT companies should jump on the ‘social media bandwagon’ to increase the value provided to their clients.
This video comes to you from the comfort of my living room so please
take off your shoes before entering!
share this post with your colleagues (“Like”, Tweet, +1, smoke signals, etc.) and drop a comment below with any feedback you have.
P.S. I’m not a “social media slappy” by any means. Yes, Next Door Neighbor Marketing provides social media services, but I have no problem telling someone that social media isn’t ‘correct’ for his or her business. I just see too many companies being behind the trend rather than in front of it.
It was 10:03pm on a cold, Wintery Monday night.
The wind howled as it pounded insistently against the outer wall of our master bedroom.
As my Wife came out from the bathroom, she walked over to the windows and slid the curtains closed.
Then, in what seemed like one long-flowing motion, she flipped down the light switch, leaving the flickering candle next to the bed as our only source of light.
As she slowly opened the sheets and joined me underneath, she looks directly into my eyes, puts down her Blackberry and asks:
“What’s ‘The Cloud?’”
“What’s ‘The Cloud?’” I kid you not.
Were you slightly curious and/or worried about where I was heading with this story?
GREAT! Now, I have your attention!
Photoshop At Its Finest….Kind Of.
In all seriousness, my Wife actually did ask me a few nights ago about the definition of “The Cloud” and I immediately took on the task of explaining this concept to her.
I’m still now questioning if my “10pm-at-night-been-working-all-day” explanation satisfied her curiosity, but regardless, our conversation
really got me thinking about technology and how we (“we” as in “information technology marketing experts”) need to be VERY strategic about how we explain “tech-heavy” concepts to potential and current clients.
So, without any further ado (or weird stories from my bedroom), here are
4 critical tasks you must perform as an Information Technology Marketer to successfully have your marketing messages consumed AND understood.
1. Ask “Who’s my audience?”.
This question really applies to the creation of any marketing that you would present to ANY market.
Now, when I say
“Who’s my audience?”, I don’t mean “Who do I want my target market to be?”. I’m assuming you already know that answer.
This question should solidify your understanding of the
demographics and psychographics of your potential and current clients. Furthermore, it should also help you understand how this information affects their level of technical knowledge and/or their desire to increase it.
For instance, a mechanical engineer will be more likely to want to understand the inner-workings of an online backup system than the CEO of an accounting firm.
….How The Backup Works. Just Make Sure It Does.
In the case of my “cloud” explanation to my Wife, she was intrigued by the concept because she hears about it all the time on TV and the Internet, but I could tell her eyes were starting to “glaze over” when I was explaining how services from the LAN were migrating to “hosted services” on the Internet.
And, yes, she is in a scientific field (Cytotechnology), but she also has
no vested interest in cloud technology (she doesn’t own a business that might invest in it) and so she just expects these services to work when she personally accesses them.
Note: In my experience, besides profession, the
age of the individual can also play a significant role in not only a person’s level of technical knowledge, but also their desire to increase it.
2. Empathize with your audience.
It will be impossible for you to effectively “talk to your audience” unless you can
understand and also accept their level of technical knowledge and ability. For some of us tech-savvy creatures, it can sometimes be difficult and maybe even frustrating when attempting to explain how software is designed to work or why a piece of hardware has failed.
If you go into the situation with a
sense of empathy (you can even secretly feel a little sorry for them ), it will be much easier for you to view the situation (or technology concept that you’re attempting to explain) from your potential or current client’s point-of-view.
Be The Exact Opposite Of This.
Without at least some level of empathy, the
effectiveness of your communication will be minimal at best.
3. Provide tangible examples and/or analogies
Many times throughout my career, I’ve witnessed the “deer-in-headlights” look from clients as I’ve attempted to explain how I fixed his or her broken server or how the term “disk space” is
completely different from the term “system memory”.
It is AMAZING how tangible examples would
instantly remove most, if not all, of the confusion from the faces of these less technically-versed people (bless their hearts).
When I would walk away from their office and return with a traditional (non flash) SATA hard drive in one hand and a stick of RAM in the other, they started to get the point.
needs to be applied to exact same mindset all of your marketing based on your audience (see above).
One of the largest obstacles to a sale that you must
completely avoid (in ANY industry) is the confusion of your prospect…….
…..Especially considering most of them are probably
busy entrepreneurs and high-level executives who don’t have enough time in their day as it is. Make it easy for them.
See The Difference?
Note: In my “cloud” explanation, I made the comparison between Google Docs and Microsoft Office. I’ll have to follow up with my wife tonight to find out if I succeeded in my teaching lesson.
4. Never assume.
This last item should really be applied to ALL areas of life (not just in business), but I digress.
In regards to marketing content,
never ever assume what your potential and current clients want and/or need to receive from you.
Research. Survey. Research again.
Here’s a great starter question for your audience:
“What tech-related content would be helpful to you?”
Well, in order for your content to be “helpful”, this question really needs to be broken down into two separate questions:
“What topics of discussion would make your use of technology more efficient?” and
2. “At what technical-level does this content need to be provided so that it’s useful for you?”
Please keep in mind, your content will not always be “spot on” in regards to these questions, but just keep working on it until you find that
sweet spot with your audience.
Keep Tweaking Your Marketing Content And You’ll Find It….
As the old saying goes,
“Marketing is just a bunch of tests that never end”.
Use this saying as an excuse for your on-going work and occasional failures.
So, there you have it!
If you got any value out of my post today, please
share this on the social network(s) of your choosing (see buttons below).
leave a comment below and let me know what you think about these 4 tasks and maybe any others you can add.
To technology! (*Clinks glasses*)