Ad tech has become a necessity for marketers, even though the words so often associated with the space are “complex” and “confusing.” The space is dense with tech-speak, and many companies fall into a trap of adopting messaging that overcomplicates things and creates misconceptions that other companies then have to fight against.
If this is marketing technology, why does it have so much trouble marketing itself? There’s a fine line between getting too deep in the weeds and not saying anything at all. Here’s a basic list of prompts ad tech marketers can ask themselves when devising their marketing strategy.
Who is your desired target?
Marketing technology isn’t quite the same as selling a consumer-facing product. Rather than the general public, B2B tech brands look to a small but powerful audience controlling media spend. The first step is to decide on your specific target – whether the messaging should be aimed at brands, agencies or both. Then, within those groups, decide on the audience that is most likely to connect with your product. Are you going for the brand’s CMO or the CTO? Do you want to reach agency account managers or direct brand strategists? And are you customizing your message to a specific vertical with the right keywords and KPIs? Ensure the messaging (tone and language) is aimed at the target audience.
But no matter the target, the idea is to tell a story. Present your offering in a way that is immediately relatable and applicable. There is no point in throwing up a menu of options and hoping that the client gravitates to something on their own. Marketing technologists are the experts here – so curate a customized experience for clients, directing them to the products and services that will be beneficial for them.
How are you selling your product?
When selling directly to other marketers, your physical marketing needs to look sharp, with a defined aesthetic. Marketers do this for a living, and they will judge what they see.
Is the messaging cluttered? Marketers don’t have time to read dense paragraphs of text. In our Instagram driven society, visuals speak louder than words. Complex concepts can easily be condensed into infographic-like diagrams. Do the graphics within the collateral look like basic clip art? As a member of the tech community, there is an expectation to be on the forefront of innovation, with modern-looking messaging.
In a commoditized data and inventory landscape, conversations naturally turn to differentiators. Fully understanding the competitive landscape is crucial for highlighting the specific differentiation points for each competitive category in client meetings. For ad tech companies, utilizing your own technology on the backend to run a house campaign that reaches and engages target marketers is a proof point unto itself.
How easy is it to understand?
Every company needs a 10-second elevator pitch. Create a specific pitch for tech savvy friends, one for tech-averse friends, and still another one for your great aunt. Furthermore, the messaging has to consider both the marketers who buy the technology as well as their consumers.
To maintain an ease of understanding, stay consistent. Don’t over-think or productize every little thing. The market changes so quickly that by the time clients remember what a product is called, it may have pivoted to incorporate new features and functions.
What are your goals?
Different goals have different execution tactics. When planning a campaign, tech marketers need to look at previously set (and met) benchmarks and adjust growth accordingly. Examples include website traffic, Contact Us form leads, downloads for whitepapers, and qualified attendees for an event.
At the end of the day, ad tech companies are sales-driven organizations. Marketing can add to the bottom line through both tangible leads (coming from events, conferences, or website traffic) and softer methods, such as brand awareness and thought leadership.
What else are you doing?
Although ad tech companies are not directly engaging consumers, these companies still need to treat themselves as brands within the digital space. Maintain a consistent social presence, sharing original content like articles, data stories and whitepapers, touting success stories, re-posting research points from across the digital ecosystem, showing office culture and sharing relevant content from clients.
Tech brands need to know exactly what they are, develop a core message, and then customize that message to fit their appropriate target audiences. By being transparent and thoughtful, marketing can attract new partners by becoming an educational resource and a dependable long-term advisor, rather than angling to make a quick one-time sale. There’s plenty of innovation happening on the product tech side of the business, it’s time marketers get more visibility innovating on the front-end as well.
Lynda Liu has worked in the digital marketing space for the past 8 years. As the Marketing Director for Netmining, Lynda oversees the entire marketing strategy from developing messaging, branding and thought-leadership content to driving sales through multi-faceted events plans and unique marketing activations. Prior to joining Netmining, Lynda managed the multi-million dollar Oberon Media global network games workflow and marketing promotions. Lynda started her digital ad career in New York as a media planner at FCB.