Technology work. Technology sell.
At its core, technical marketing communications is simple but not easy. Try not to be distracted. You have a new technology, but remember that to succeed you must break through to pragmatic and conservative buyers. TALC, the Technology Adoption Life Cycle, is a useful construct no matter what your target market might be.
But, first, let’s get down to basics. Marketing communications can be encapsulated in a single rhetorical statement—something between a question and an assertion:
Ain’t this great?!
Our antediluvian ancestors were hardwired to communicate the advantages of new technology—maybe a better club—to other hunter-gatherers. The light went on when the innovative club developer saw that his compatriots wanted what he had—that his new tool improved his life and upped his and his kin’s chances of survival.
You can bet that it was a “multi-touch, multi-media” communications process. Maybe the first touch was getting back to the fire early and showing off his quickly won trophy to the poor saps trudging back to the fire after a long, fruitless day. His display—his leisure and his edge in the survival stakes—kindled a desire for what he had, helped along by his fellows’ same instinct for self-preservation. Then he would have demoed his better club, complete with a triumphant shout and touchdown dance once the kill was made.
Who knows what things of value were exchanged. Probably we don’t want to know. But there was an offer and an acceptance, a contract, that closed the sale.
And so it goes. Before the deal, there is a message promising a better life and a buy-in to that message. The process has and always will be the same. It’s not (see EVA above) rocket science. That’s the technology. Before adoption, there has to be communication. Let’s break it down into the simple process it is:
- Define the target market (audience)—to be plain, what they hope for and what they fear
- Differentiate your offering and who you are (differentiate customer experience and build ethos)
- Create messaging for your technology that shows how it meets those needs (a logos that embodies the new customer experience)
- Integrate your message through the best media to define the customer experience it produces
- Use your integrated communications to create a dialog that moves your audience into awareness, then on to interest and through to adoption and advocacy
- Repeat, with improvements learned from the process (communications must be agile)
If you are build new technology, you probably believe that engineering should be “elegant,” that tool is made by following principles that focus on the use of the tool. The same is true of marketing communications, elegant solutions always surprise, appeal to, convince by addressing the experience of the reader, watcher or listener. There are useful concepts such as branding and integrated marketing communications, but it has never been more true that listening to feedback and reacting appropriately—opening a continuing dialogue that drives home customer-experience advantages—is at the heart of successful marketing communications.
It is this dialogue that improves the creativity, quality and effectiveness of your message and your media. If your marketing communications are perceived as more noise to filter, they are barriers to achieving your goal.