Monday, July 24, 2017

Technology Marketing Then vs. Now

Back in the early days of network marketing, you worked for sales. Marketing was expected to create print ads, collateral, write up RFPs, and uncover which new products were being launched, which product was coming out in the next quarter by the vendor, and communicating to sales so they could update their customers. We relied on the vendor to tell us how to sell, how to market, and even at times to give us the PO. The Internet was just becoming available, email was just put on our desktop computers, and we all had beepers to find each other. Yes, my millennial readers, this was technology back in the 90s. Marketing was all event-based, relationships were key, and who you knew mattered.  Technology was a “word of mouth” business until companies realized they could share information faster and quicker. 

Mobile devices and laptops took over, and suddenly, we could work from home in the technology world. This was life changing for me; I was just starting to have children, so I could actually work from my home and be there when my kids got home from school, I could attend school events, and I didn't have to deal with traffic. However, since I was no longer going to the office, there was the question of how to communicate with my sales reps and customers. The answer? Email! That’s right, email, as the new form of communication for talking to our customers and coworkers. Vendors were just setting up their websites and used email to communicate with resellers, but not with their end users. So, Strauser Marketing started using email on behalf of vendors targeting end user customers. It was great until we realized we needed a website.

So now, we're creating a corporate website, sending emails, and working from home. Marketing is being relied on for geo-targeting customers, lead gen, demand gen and holding events all over the country. Then came webcasts, webinars, banner ads, landing pages, web content, and the evolution of channel marketing. Marketing was getting overwhelming as more and more vendors opened their doors and resellers started selling more than one vendor technology.

Keep that in mind while I go through today’s marketing. 

Today’s marketer has to maintain corporate website, branding, logo development, fonts, colors, collateral, digital, social media, manage budget, content creation, video creation, advertising  pro-services and vendor services, demand gen & lead gen programs, execute marketing plans, launch new products and services, handle email marketing. There could be 10 different verticals and 10 different vendors to do this for quarterly. Plus, you have to be an expert in all of it, because the likelihood of bringing on another marketing person is close to impossible.

The responsibility of marketing has shifted to more of a sales role then a marketing role over time without anyone realizing it. Marketing is asked to drive more leads to sales, drive attendance to events, come up with cheaper faster ways of targeting certain verticals, and find new ways to market as technology evolves daily, all using vendor marketing development funds (MDF), as most companies still do not carve out significant budget for marketing today.

ONE thing is for sure, whether then or now, technology marketers are still overwhelmed.

If you;re in business, technology or not, having a business/marketing plan is key to fostering business growth. Marketing plans need to align with your business objective to continue to grow your business. Marketing and sales need to be a partnership, working together, communicating, and executing. The best analogy I can think of: it's like a marriage; you have to work together everyday, or it will fall apart at some point.  

Marketing is becoming the new sales, so provide your marketing team enough resources, MBO and the compensation you give sales, and it will benefit your business in the long term.  

Strauser Marketing is made up of technology marketing experts with over 20 years’ experience in channel marketing.  We help reseller technology partners manage, create and execute marketing plans for all vendors, helping small businesses grow their sales and lead funnel.    

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