Highlights

The marketing of advanced products to technical audiences has unique characteristics.  Like any market segment, effectively reaching this audience requires meeting them on their terms.

Product Marketing

The marketing of advanced products to technical audiences has unique characteristics.  Like any market segment, effectively reaching this audience requires meeting them on their terms.

This is an interesting challenge!  It requires combining sales and marketing messages with useful information and presenting it to a suspicious and often cynical audience who distrust anything that looks like sales or marketing.  It requires understanding their thought processes and decision making style.  It requires a deep understanding of product, technology, applications and alternatives.  And it requires the ability to communicate this information in a credible way.

Beyond this, it is critical to address the fact that the technical people are usually recommenders and influencers, rather than the ultimate decision makers.  A complete marketing and sales program must also reach the executives who have the final say.

Product Marketing

While developing strategies to address certain high-end computer markets,  we created a set of marketing guidelines.  Although elements of these guidelines might be specific to computers, much of it is applicable to any technical market -- engineers, scientists and technical professionals have much in common, whatever their area of focus!

Traditional "decision makers," notably senior executives, do not so much make decisions on product selections as they affirm the recommendations made by their technical staff.  They still hold the ultimate power, so it is necessary to market and sell technical products to multiple audiences at the same time -- technical, financial and executive.

  •  Technology markets are technically astute and demanding.

  •  They value and demand solid, content-rich, credible information.  They reach decisions and take action based on research and analysis.

  •  They are used to doing research -- it is part of their daily life.

  •  They rely on technical journals, papers and magazines for much of their information.  They value quantitative data.

  •  They will read publications of almost any length -- if it is credible and useful!

  •  They absorb data, evaluate alternatives, reach conclusions and make decisions.

  •  They have little interest in -- or tolerance for -- traditional marketing and sales materials.  They have an effective "marketing firewall" that filters out anything they perceive as marketing or sales.

  •  They demand performance, are price sensitive, but often have the ability to make large purchases.

These markets are fragmented and diverse.  It is necessary to implement programs that have both broad-based and highly focused elements.

For smaller products, purchasing decisions are decentralized, and made at a relatively low level.

Benchmarking is an extremely common component of the sales process.

For large products, major hands on benchmarks are run.  These are expensive for everyone involved, especially vendors, and are becoming less common.

For less expensive products, "paper benchmarks" and detailed comparisons are usually done.  It is critical to both supply sufficient information to enable these comparisons as well as to properly position this information.  Explanation of the significance of specific features and how to compare them can be critical in coming out on top in these comparisons.

There is extensive networking and sharing of information within each community. This is a double edged sword which makes it difficult to restrict information to a specific audience while at the same time widely disseminating information considered interesting or useful. 


Product Marketing covers the spectrum of tools, programs, projects and campaigns involved in marketing a product or set of products.  Here are examples of a variety of successful product marketing efforts.

Marketing Programs

Technical Collaterals

Presentations

Projects

Marketing Programs addresses several areas, from direct marketing and trade shows to seminars and training events.  Special mention is given to Presentations, both those delivered personally as well as tools designed for the sales force to use.  Tech Collaterals includes samples of various types of collaterals that have been used in marketing campaigns.  Projects describes several projects in areas such as proteomics and supercomputing.