WTF do B2B tech marketers do when the world is WFH?

Justin Ellis is global head of creative strategy at IDG Strategic Marketing Services.

Technology has really come into its own this year, with broadband straining under the enormous pressure of back-to-back Zooms (“You’re on mute…”), a massive rise in online shopping, and the digitisation of so many parts of our lives. Lenin’s famous quote, “There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen” has never felt more pertinent than this year when we look at the scale of digital transformation across business and personal lives.

In a year like no other, there’s been a huge rise in the number of people working from home. In fact, 72% of technology decision makers think they need to modernise or upgrade their collaboration technology due to the shift. With so many office workers relocating to the kitchen table and swapping the daily commute for a swift walk downstairs, bringing technology solutions to life and showing the human side of connection is crucial for B2B tech marketers looking to win new customers.

In the world of tech marketing, there has always been a focus on ROI and product-led campaigns that often deliver little differentiation – but I’d argue that now, more than ever, is the time for more blue sky thinking and more creative campaigns. With over a third (36%) of CEOs looking to prioritise improving remote working experiences and 39% wanting to upgrade their IT solutions over the next few months, the demand and opportunity is bigger than ever. But opportunities also come with greater challenges for technology marketers, as channels to market become increasingly congested and omnidigital!

So what are the ways that marketers can create cut through that both inspires and educates potential customers?

Emotion picture

Technology is all about driving human progress – and this year has accelerated that. But the key word here is human. With the rise of Account Based Marketing in recent years, targeting the whole ‘buying team’ is on everyone’s agenda. But with so many people remote working, it’s crucial to remember that end users are real people, regardless of the complexities or sophistication of the tech they’re buying. So B2B tech marketers should think beyond specific services, products or platforms and look to create campaigns that speak to the people behind the business. B2B purchasers are almost 50% more likely to buy a product when they see personal value in the content.

Buyers want to feel a connection, that the brand is on their side and genuinely wants to help them shine in their role, see their business succeed from the investment in IT solutions, so appeal to these needs and you’re onto a winner.

Tell a story

Lockdown may have physically separated colleagues, friends and family, but at some point or another, we’ve all felt a real sense of community spirit during the pandemic, notably in the world of small business. Upbeat and optimistic B2B campaigns that tell a human story can reflect this and add warmth and positivity to often dry technology marketing. Consider the everyday, real-life problems that tech leaders and decision makers might be facing – are they struggling with their video conference calls because of connectivity issues? Are they finding it hard to retrieve crucial documents from the cloud ahead of an important meeting? Creative storytelling in your campaigns that touches on issues like these that everyone recognises, will speak to the viewer and position your company as a solution to those problems. Consider every part of the campaign through this lens – are you using relevant visuals, colour palettes, and a poignant soundtrack? What format does your content take and what information are you providing at what stage of the purchase process?

If you can augment a compelling, emotion driven campaign with complementary content around the same themes across social media, you are reinforcing your relevance to your buyers’ lives syncing with their content consumption behaviours. Stretching and extending your narrative will make for an even stronger communications strategy.

WFH has changed how best B2B tech marketers can reach IT solutions decision makers; many technology brands are rethinking their approach to marketing and content strategy – and if they’re not, they should be. With 41% of IT decision makers anticipating that their tech budgets will increase in the next few months, now is the time for braver, more creative campaigns to stand out and reach them.

Photo by Aleks Marinkovic on Unsplash

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