Defining Your B2B Tech Integrated Communications Strategy

PAN Communications

As quickly as the technology industry evolves and grows, timing is everything. How can the skillful B2B tech marketer rise to the challenge of keeping up with the pace? Taking an integrated approach to your communications strategy can bring agility and speed to your marketing tactics. A winning strategy moves seamlessly between all marketing channels. Coordinate between your social media, public relations, inbound marketing and creative efforts, and you’ll overcome many of the challenges facing CMOs today.

B2B technology PR

Source: pexels.com used under CC license.

Look to further integrate PR and marketing strategies by evaluating past successes, learning from mistakes, and taking stock of the rapidly changing landscape. The need to create an omni-channel marketing strategy and consolidate messaging is at the crux of all brand activities.

Case Study: IT Innovator Fuze developed a research-oriented campaign using an integrated PR and marketing strategy resulting in 650M+ earned media impressions. Learn more here.

While many sectors constitute the B2B tech industry, they all can benefit from maximizing the effectiveness of their marketing including public relations, social media, content marketing and creative services. We break it down here, providing resources and information for B2B tech integrated marketing success.

Read along or jump to the section that interests you most: 

Artificial Intelligence and Integrated Marketing

82% of recently surveyed C-level executives stated that their organizations would be using AI, and 11% of participants are strongly considering it. - Source: Rage Frameworks

With so many business leaders looking to AI technology to stay competitive and transform their enterprise business strategies, it’s crucial that companies with AI capabilities follow trending topics and integrate them into their communications plans. With many PR pros stating AI is THE buzzword of the year, there’s been no shortage of fascinating topics to trend jack and pitch. Tying your AI technology into trending media buzz can lead to coverage in both the consumer and B2B tech publications and blogs.

AI Trend Jacking & Thought Leadership

CBI Insights recently reported that “nearly 140 private companies working to advance artificial intelligence technologies have been acquired since 2011, with over 40 acquisitions taking place in 2016 alone.” Regardless of whether you are an enterprise considering AI investments or a startup with AI capabilities, this trend presents an opportunity for your executives to demonstrate thought leadership about AI’s market value. When an M&A deal takes place, develop commentary on what this deal means for the future of AI technology and relate it back to your own product offerings through PR efforts and social media channels. Trend jacking news stories on deals is a great way to engage journalists at venture publications. Additionally, authoring blogs for Medium and LinkedIn is a way to get in front of targeted investment and customer communities.

Case Study: White Ops utilized an integrated marketing campaign utilizing data and research to capitalize on a trending industry conversation on click fraud. Learn more from here.

Using Personas to Drive Your Creative Direction

Integral to every marketing campaign taking advantage of AI is smart, creative mapping to your persona base to determine what effectively hits your audience, how it hits your audience, and where it hits your audience. A large part in getting all three of these in place comes down to your creative offerings. Increasing engagement rate and making sharing easier is crucial to marketers because tweets with images receive 150 percent more retweets than those without images.

Utilizing Marketing Data

Ben Lorica of O’Reilly Media suggests that industries such as security, retail, healthcare and finance will see focused AI technologies that directly benefit their customer bases. For AI technology providers, this presents an opportunity for a vertical communications campaign. Surveying your customers in a specific industry allows you to collect hard data on vertical pain points and demonstrate how your technology is helping them solve these problems. Once the data is collected, create a press campaign targeting media outlets in that customer vertical.

Content Marketing for AI

Another way to use that survey data is through the use of content marketing. Creating a piece of gated content such as an eBook or whitepaper with those survey results is a great way to capture leads and get prospects into your sales funnel.

Integrated Marketing Tactics for Banking and Financial Services

30% of large Financial Institutions are investing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) - Source: PwC Fintech Report

Finance and technology have merged to create a new beast — FinTech — which has a growing presence in our daily lives and has the power to disrupt the traditional financial services industry. Millennials and Gen Z are changing the way we use banking services, relying more and more on mobile banking and moving away from traditional banks. As tech PR professionals, it’s important to stay ahead of the trends shaping this evolving industry.

44% of Millennials prefer to pay with a mobile phone, as reported by JWT.

Social Media and Influencer Marketing for FinTech

In 2018, smart CMOs will “go all in” with social media and influencer marketing. If 2017 has taught us anything about marketing, social media has evolved to become one of the best digital advertising platforms for brands to reach targeted groups of buyers, including financial institutions. Banks have been slow to embrace social media marketing. Don’t miss out on this essential digital marketing channel for your FinTech organization.

Creating Great Content for FinTech

Done right, B2B content marketing can match and even rival the creativity and appeal of the best B2C ones. Creating great content grows fervent, dedicated audiences.

Two B2B marketers stealing the B2C playbook are Liberty Mutual and SS&C. Their content defies convention and stands out in what is often a less than creative vertical. Be sure to include content marketing in your integrated FinTech marketing strategy.

Good Visuals Drive Fintech Content Strategy

Don’t neglect to incorporate good creative, including effective visuals, into your FinTech content strategy. Of course, having a presence on visually focused channels like Instagram and YouTube is vital -- but when it comes to your written content, don’t be afraid to use visuals there, as well. Make it human. After all, articles with an image once every 75-100 words get double the number of social shares than articles with fewer images.

Proving the ROI of Your FinTech Marketing Activities

Measuring the effectiveness of digital marketing is one of the greatest challenges facing all organizations, including fintech companies. According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound report, 46% of marketers cited “proving the ROI of our marketing activities” as one of the biggest challenges they face within their company. With an integrated marketing strategy, you’ll find the true power of analytics comes into play as you tie the effect of multiple channels’ performances together.

The Internet of Things IoT Trends for Integrated Marketing & PR

40% of IoT buyers are concerned about data privacy, and another 40% are worried about the security of IoT solutions. Source: Ironpaper.com

What is the Internet of Things? A better question might be, what is NOT the Internet of Things?

Research firm IDC estimates that global spending on IoT devices and services will rise from $656 billion in 2014 to $1.7 trillion in 2020. IoT is quickly becoming an integrated part of our daily lives. Entrepreneurs are capitalizing on the IoT trend spanning across all verticals of our lives. While it’s too soon to make predictions, the space could look very different in just a few short years as some startups pull ahead of their competitors, get acquired by bigger companies like Microsoft, Google or Facebook or simply get lost in the crowded market. An integrated marketing strategy can make your IoT offerings stand out in this exploding market.

Maximizing IoT World for Public Relations

Trade shows and conferences can be an effective way to build relationships with key influencers, media and analysts. IoT World takes place again in May 2018. Plan your PR and social media strategy for maximizing this event by reading this checklist. Develop and review your PR briefing book in advance, make a list of key individuals to connect with, then follow up after the conference by sending a nice note on LinkedIn. Better yet, send something of value like a case study instead of a generic note.

Utilize IoT Trends for Content Marketing

IoT offers a wealth of content marketing opportunities, as trends include hot consumer items such as smart homes featuring home security, home entertainment and management of home appliances, lights and temperature devices. Consumers are thirsty for robust content on these topics, and B2B tech organizations catering to them would be wise to help quench that need with a strong integrated marketing strategy.

Leverage the Power of Content and Images for IoT Marketing

Master the art of content curation and spotlight the best creatives and images in your niche. Leverage the power of images. Draw in your audience with images to encourage further engagement.

Using Data-Driven Decisions for IoT Marketing

IoT devices provide a unique opportunity to have a deep dive on data as every interaction is measurable. So, it stands to reason marketing in the IoT world should similarly rely on data-driven decisions.

Analytical decision making is more important than ever: This study by Worldwide and Regalix shows that nearly 80% of marketers will invest in dashboards for marketing analytics. Furthermore, nearly 65% will invest in SaaS and cloud-based analytics software. Report ROI on specific marketing actions and minimize failures by reacting quickly to data, cutting low-performance spending.

How to Leverage Integrated Marketing for the Digital Economy & Cloud Computing

Cloud migration is moving quickly with an average of 15 months until 80% of an organization’s IT budget will be allocated to private cloud. - Source: Intel

“Cloud” has retained its crown as perhaps the most widely used buzzword in the industry. Cloud computing has come a long way as more and more applications are stored on servers rather than on one’s hard drive.

For small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), cloud computing may mean applications that can be accessed using the Internet, while larger enterprises may store large amounts of data on public cloud platforms such as Amazon or their own private clouds. Smaller organizations may find it more economical to use public clouds while larger businesses with greater storage needs may prefer hybrid or private clouds.

Cloud computing appears to be the foundation for a digital economy, and while CIOs and IT staff are well versed in the technology, they need to make the case for cloud migration to company leadership to convince them that cloud can be a revenue driver and not solely an expense. That discussion should focus on impact on business functions and employee activity, cost of migration, and the impact of not migrating. Cloud computing organizations need to be agile and move to market quickly using the following integrated marketing tactics.

Social Media for Technical Support

Cloud computing organizations can capitalize on social media in a number of ways. Dell uses social media for technical support, with 98% of customer issues responded to through it resolved without customers needing to work with an agent. How can your cloud computing organization take advantage of this powerful marketing channel?

Case Study: TriCore Solutions secured more than 100 articles in target publications, resulting in a 40% increase in SOV YoY.

Nurture Leads with Content Marketing

IT Value Added Resellers of cloud computing typically have a long sales cycle. Marketing teams need to consider how content marketing can aid in nurturing leads and prospective clients. Using personas and effective storytelling can help move prospects through the sales funnel.

Promoting the Cloud with Great Creative

In today’s world of all things digital, the demands on people’s time are more intense than ever. As marketers, we can shout, loudly and often, and hope someone hears us over all the background noise.

Or we can capture people’s attention through truly creative work and start engaging with them in a meaningful fashion by appealing to their hearts.

It’s a matter of value versus volume.

According to MarTech Today, great creative always starts with strategy. Here’s an area where all that scientific data comes into play as it’s mined for insights into what the customer wants, and what you can provide. Essentially, you need to be relevant to be engaging.

Analytics for Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is booming, and with it comes the need to measure marketing results and respond with agility, or better yet, use predictive analytics to anticipate customer behavior. The future of B2B marketing will focus on predictive analysis and intelligence and have a major impact on lead scoring and content targeting.

It’s also critical to understand that measuring marketing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) alone is no longer sufficient. It’s time to move away from generic measurements and get to true ROI (Return on Investment – or Return on Impact). Start measuring like a business and take a dual approach to your analytics. This means aligning those marketing KPIs with top-line business goals

For more information, check out the blog: When it’s Time for Cloud Migration.

Developing Integrated Marketing Strategies for Security Technology Companies

With the “Mother of hacks” Experian data breach, the 14 million Verizon customers who had their personal data exposed, and the NSA data leak, 2017 was a big year for security tech professionals. Where there are challenges there are opportunities, and there are many opportunities for the IT security industry with an integrated marketing strategy.

Influencer Marketing for Security Pros

Analysts and thought leaders are abundant in the Security vertical. This gives influencer marketing great potential for success. Here’s a first step to take today. Review this list of the top 25 influencers in the infosec space to follow and stay on the pulse of trends important to B2B tech. Trend jacking news can also be effective with high-profile hacking incidents, if you are able to align your products and services as a solution to the problem. You’ll find more social media and PR strategies for security pros here.

CASE STUDY: Black Duck’s open source security offerings were highlighted in a creative media outreach campaign resulting in 100% year-over-year increase in media coverage. Read the case study here.

Using Videos for IT Security Marketing

Forty-three percent of people want to see more video content from marketers. And 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. Smart marketers in the IT Security field should be sure video is part of their integrated marketing strategy. Check out this Q&A video from eWeek Senior Editor Sean Michael Kerner for PR tips for security pros.

Infuse your IT Public Relations with Visuals

Are you infusing your PR with effective creative? Be sure to harmonize your visual and written communication strategy using graphic specialists. Working with an integrated agency will bring together your PR and creative/design teams to work collaboratively to create effective visual assets – like infographics, social tiles, microsites and landing pages – that extend the life of PR campaigns.

Data Access for Media Use

Research matters big time to security media folks. From vulnerability disclosures to other types of intel on the latest threats, the media is hungry for data-driven insights.

Dark Reading’s Tim Wilson talks about how reporters are not only interested in hearing about attack trends, but also “looking for new data that shows that a particular type of defense is really working.” This client spotlight shares more about Dark Reading’s use of predictive analytics and research to counter cyber-attacks.

Look now at your assets and determine if you have access to any type of data that can be leveraged for media use. Then you’ll be ready when the opportunity arises.

Data and Analytics Fuel MarTech

42% of B2B marketing professionals state that a lack of quality data is their biggest barrier to lead generation. - Source: HubSpot

Networking for B2B Tech Marketers

Networking and developing media relations at US Data Conferences should be on the to-do list of B2B Tech marketers in 2018. With data and cloud growing rapidly, it’s important to remain a part of the conversation, and stay up to date with the latest trends, products and companies. Read up on the top conferences in 2018 here.

Analytics for Content Marketing

B2B tech marketers utilizing content marketing, take note. There are 10 easy ways to detect if your content is cutting it. Review analytics such as website traffic, subscriber growth, search rankings, social media followers and more to evaluate your content marketing efforts.

Creative Testing for B2B Tech Marketing

The use of compelling creative can absolutely have an impact on your marketing results. Virtually every marketing channel in your integrated marketing strategy – social, content, inbound, email – allows the opportunity to test and learn from different creative approaches. Don’t pass by the opportunity to test, test, then test again and learn what connects with your B2B tech audience.

Gathering Customer Insights

CMOs are predicting that 2018 will be the year that B2B tech companies will embark on driving digital information across the enterprise. They will systematically gather customer insight and optimize marketing tools and tactics to deliver measurable ROI.

Integrated Marketing for MarTech

With so many moving pieces in the marketing world, it makes sense that marketers turn to various technology platforms to simplify, improve and automate parts of their strategy. The value- add is the overall effect on ROI, but before you get to the finish line, you get an abundance of data at your fingertips, as well as better technology to help improve your overall strategy and brand experience. This also makes integrated marketing a logical choice for your MarTech strategy, which, at its heart, is an approach that reaches across multiple channels, using data and analytics as its bridge.

MarTech Influencer Marketing

MediaMath utilized both PR and social to launch its new Helix™ business unit with great success. The result was two feature stories, six additional news stories and five media interviews resulting in a total of 14.4 million media impressions and 1.7k social shares. Influencer marketing should also be part of a robust PR plan for the B2B tech marketer.

MarTech Content Strategy

The MarTech field is crowded and some say it has reached its peak in terms of players. Nearly half of the brands (48.8%) are investor funded startups at any pre-exit stage. That could signal two major possibilities – 1) many of the “smaller fish” could join forces via mergers/acquisitions, or 2) the “bigger fish” will eat ’em up. Those wishing to survive need to differentiate themselves from the competition. Content marketing could be just the vehicle in your omni-marketing channel approach. Be sure your content strategy is up to the challenge.

Break Out from the Noise with Strong Creative

Ad Age’s Ken Wheaton suggests an approach to MarTech marketing creative that counters the “noise around MarTech.” The goal of any successful MarTech company should be to make it all seem easy so that marketers can go back to worrying about campaigns and creativity and strategy. Make the complexity invisible and your creative will shine.

MarTech Stack ROI

Don’t ignore the data, analytics and insights. Regardless of the depth of your MarTech stack, you have access to data through Google Analytics, social platforms, your CRM, etc. The data is your ticket to continually improving your buyers’ journey and customer experience. Your analytics and insights can show you where your MarTech investments will be most worthwhile. And all your data, analytics and insights will ultimately translate to proving your marketing team’s ROI – and impressing your C-suite.

Integrated Marketing Best Practices for the Retail Tech Industry

On average, retailers spend 70 cents on the dollar to fulfill eCommerce orders, which is simply not sustainable. To provide the experience consumers want, retailers need an integrated order fulfillment system and secure back-end processes for seamless omnichannel execution, however, many struggle to manage the associated costs.

For many retailers, outsourcing offers the key to providing the flexibility, scale and depth needed to deliver an Amazon-like customer experience affordably. Working with a partner who can scale operations quickly and cost-effectively can mean the difference between meeting demand or playing a losing game of catch-up. By outsourcing, retailers will be better positioned with a long-term solution to address shifting customer demands, while growing efficiency and limiting costs. Retail tech marketing pros can utilize omni-channel marketing tactics to reach retailers and help them understand the opportunities available.

PR and Social Media Drive Online Retail Sales

Online sales broke records in 2017, including a record $5B in sales in 24 hours on Black Friday. Retail Tech companies can come along for the ride by offering rapid response commentary, weighing in on changing consumer expectations, best practices for success and implications for the overall market.

CASE STUDY: Radial grew its brand awareness through an integrated marketing campaign resulting in 5.16B impressions, 110 briefings and 238 articles. Read the case study here.

Content Marketing for Efficient Results

With the cost of goods constantly rising, profit margins in retail can be razor thin, which means retail brands need to be highly strategic when it comes to their marketing budget and content team’s resources. Content marketing’s overall cost efficiency makes it a highly accessible technique for retail brands at any budget level.

Casandra Campbell, content marketer lead at Shopify and managing editor of the Shopify e-commerce blog, points out that content marketing can even help retail brands to decrease paid-traffic customer acquisition costs (CACs) and build more sustainable businesses. “Using tactics like blogging, you can create warm traffic to remarket to later, with a much lower CAC than cold traffic,” she says.

Retail Tech Creative Services

We are facing a peculiar time in retail, which many have pegged as the “Retail Apocalypse.”  Only the fittest will survive. It’s a fact that the use of great visual assets and graphic design improve the effectiveness of your integrated marketing efforts. Use them and watch your marketing ROI improve.

Optimize Retail Marketing with Targeting

CMOs predicting trends for 2018 put data analytics in their top 10 for the year. “CMOs will constantly look to optimize their marketing campaigns to be on one hand more targeted and on the other hand more agile, reacting quickly to campaign performance and pivoting their message to make their media investments generate a better return on invest,” stated Nilly Assia, CMO, Portnox. Retail tech marketing pros can take the same tact, using analytics to continually improve their results in an ever more competitive arena.

Utilizing Integrated Marketing for EdTech Growth

The education market is valued at $5 trillion per year, providing tremendous growth opportunity for companies looking to disrupt how students learn and the career paths they follow in the future. From virtual/augmented reality to gaming simulation, children are growing up in a generation that requires technology to support their intellectual development. Marketers in the EdTech sector had best be at the top of their game with an integrated marketing strategy to take advantage of this booming industry.

Case Study: B2B tech company CloudBees developed a unique strategy utilizing podcasts and social media resulting in 31,332 downloads and 6,600+ website visits. Read the case study to learn more.

Employee Advocates as Influencers in EdTech

Influencer marketing is hot for 2018, and those in the EdTech sector have a built-in audience of potential supporters in the form of educators. An effective EdTech marketing strategy to consider is engaging teachers as ambassadors. Educators build better trust with your audience. Launch an ambassador program by allowing educators to test your product in their own classes, then encourage them to share their experience with their peers through social media channels, or by featuring them in your media outreach efforts.

EdTech Blogging

Blogging continues to build as an essential part of a mature content marketing plan, for EdTech marketers and everyone else in the B2B tech sector. Maintain an active blog, posting on a regular schedule. Your goal is to establish your EdTech brand as a subject expert. Focus on the kind of information that benefits your target audience. Become the go-to source of information for educators, and watch your brand awareness blossom.

Visual Content for EdTech

Visual content and the creative services that support them are part of every successful EdTech marketing strategy. Words alone aren’t enough to keep customers and prospects engaged and involved – be sure to use visual content to inspire.

Aligning Marketing Goals with Revenue Goals

CMOs predict that in 2018, marketing will move from being a cost center to being a profit center driving measurable, repeatable sales and revenue impact. Look beyond the myths of marketing measurement and align your marketing goals with your EdTech company’s revenue goals. Those are the measurements that will bring you success in the new year.

Conclusion

Now, more than ever, B2B tech marketing can’t succeed without an integrated growth strategy.

Using an agency specializing in inegrated marketing and PR gives your B2B tech brand a distinct advantage. B2B marketing can present challenges B2C marketing doesn’t, but you can borrow from consumer tactics for your tech plans.

97% of B2B marketers surveyed said ABM had a somewhat higher or much higher ROI than other marketing initiatives. - Source: Altera Group

Integrated marketing programs, including influencer marketing and Account Based Marketing (ABM), can pay dividends. Developing a strong B2B influencer relations program takes time and the reward isn’t always immediate. However, a strong influencer relations program can lead to more industry recognition, brand awareness and market validation.

To develop an omni-channel approach on all sides of messaging, consider working with an integrated agency to bring you speed, agility and efficiency as you launch increasingly more effective B2B tech marketing strategy.

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