This is my maiden voyage for the Gartner Blog Network. I joined Gartner about two and half weeks ago and plan to be a frequent blogger. I’m part of the Go-to-Market Strategy team for TSP (Technology and Service Provider) Research team. My focus is on Product Marketing and Product Management professionals and my specialty is marketing organization and operations along with solutions and ecosystem marketing. So I will be blogging on things like organization alignment, marketing budgets, product launches, positioning, MRM and other marketing technolgies.
But for my first post, I thought I would take a slightly lighter approach. MUCH lighter. I spend a fair amount of time on Facebook and last night I ran across two videos from one of my favorite sports and lifestyle blogs. One involved a bear opening the doors to a four-door truck, like any normal human being. The other showed a six or seven year-old kid playing basketball and making a ten-foot jump shot, but using a live chicken instead of a ball. I probably watched each one a half-dozen times because they were hilarious and clearly not something you see every day.
You might ask yourself, where is he going with this and as a technology marketer, why should I care? Because the technology buying cycle has changed and it has moved from supplier-driven to customer-driven. My colleague Hank Barnes recently authored a blog post called Teams, Streams and Provider Dreams and published a more detailed research note, Tech Go-to-Market: The B2B Customer Buying Cycle for Technology Products and Services (subscription/fee required). The blog post and research note reference a survey of more than 500 B2B marketers and discuss the many ways the buying cycle has shifted.
When the respondents were asked “What is your preferred resource for information during each phase of the buying cycle when choosing an IT provider?” their top answer, across all three stages of the buying cycle, was “Self-Driven Info Search.” When they come to your Web site, you still need to have a compelling value proposition, differentiated messaging and proof-point driven content. But your Web site isn’t the only place vendors find you. You have social networks, YouTube, communities, blogs and other resources, both ones that you control and ones you don’t. And while these are all good venues to post traditional content and messages, they are also places that support (or demand) more creative content. You’ll undoubtedly get some comments and discussion, which will drive up hits, likes, page ranks and other key metrics that will make it easier to find.
Maybe animal videos aren’t your cup of tea, but they do make people laugh. There is a reason so many people are fascinated by cats doing tricks. So take something silly, tie it in to your brand or products (through words or imagery) and have some fun. Sprinkle that in with your more traditional content, especially if you don’t have a lot of new content to promote at any given time.
And make sure to send it to me when it’s posted. I am always on the lookout for creative marketing from technology and service providers.