It’s a brave new world out there for b2b tech startups. In the last few years alone, the b2b tech landscape has changed dramatically.
Firstly, the demographics are shifting with researchers and buyers of b2b tech services. In fact, 46% of them are millennials. As a result, b2b companies need to adjust their PR and marketing goals to cater to this fresh-faced audience.
In addition, the delivery of b2b tech has been completely uprooted. In the past, b2b products were solid as a one time package, purchased by businesses and not updated for a few years at a time (for example, Microsoft Office). However, in 2019, this is no longer the case. It’s now become the norm for services to be fulfilled via SaaS models and those upfront payments have shifted to monthly or yearly subscriptions.
Herein lie the issues facing b2b tech companies when developing a marketing and PR plan. They need to be reaching an increasingly millennial audience while also keeping their customers happy to ensure they renew and don’t skip out on subscriptions. So here are four tech marketing trends that b2b tech companies can implement to help cope with these challenges:
Millennials are increasingly b2b tech’s target audience
As touched on, millennials are slowly becoming b2b tech’s target audience. And this generational shift is something that needs to be embraced by b2b tech companies.
Standard marketing just doesn’t work on millennials. This cohort spends an average of 25 hours a week online. Therefore, the majority of your PR and marketing efforts towards this particular demographic needs to be digital content that they will find engaging.
Here are a few content ideas to reach through to this market:
- Videos - At the risk of sounding very reductive, millennials like visuals and nothing is more visual than video! In fact, video can be a great way of informing this target market about complicated concepts related to your product or service. 70% of millennials prefer to watch videos when learning about a product or service. Therefore, if your b2b company has some complicated concepts, consider producing how-to videos.
- Quizzes - Millennials also like content that is interactive and there is nothing quite as interactive as a quiz. For example, say you’re a workplace messaging service like Slack, you could create a quiz called ‘What Kind Of Employee Are You?’. This tongue-in-cheek quiz is an example of a way you can have fun with your marketing and it’s more likely to be shared among this demographic.
In addition to your owned media, it’s also worthwhile to do some research and find out what kind of publications the millennials within your target audience are reading. These will then become target media outlets to win press coverage as part of your PR efforts.
Social media is bypassing traditional PR
Social media is increasingly the go-to resource for businesses. In fact, 58% of organizations treat social media as one of their primary channels for information on vendors. When you couple this with the glaring statistic that 90% of millennials use social media on a daily basis, it’s clear that social media is increasingly important to your b2b company’s PR and marketing strategy.
While traditional PR would have been the go-to channel when making company announcements in the past, this is a less effective means to reach millennials. However, combining social media and PR is now a great way to do this.
For example, SaaS businesses are constantly releasing updates or installing new features. Rather than announcing these via press releases, social media can reach far more of a business’s target audience. Plus the ability to share at the touch of a button means your news is likely to travel.
SEO and content is being used to build brand recognition and trust
SEO is still a mainstay of many b2b tech marketing strategies, especially when you consider that 61% of B2B decision makers start their buying process with a web search. And now that monthly SaaS subscriptions have made switching between providers easier than ever before, b2b providers need to be capturing a broad range of searches.
However, while it’s easy to switch, tempting users to do so can be as hard as ever. Therefore you should be investing in plenty of top of the funnel informational content to capture informational searches related to your service. This helps you build brand recognition and trust with your target audience.
This can include content that provides solutions to common problems or pain points that your target market has. The purpose here is not to try and immediately sell them your product, but rather to become a trusted source of information. You can capture the top of the funnel leads with gated content, such as ebooks or toolkits, which can then go into your lead nurture process.
Your mobile experience is becoming your selling point
B2B tech users now expect to use these products in almost exactly the same way as their B2C tech that they couldn’t function without. I mean how many times a day do you open Slack, Gmail, or perhaps Google Analytics, on your phone?
So whether your product boasts a mobile app or a mobile responsive website, this can give you the edge over many legacy B2B service providers who may not have any mobile strategy to speak of.
Therefore, your product’s mobile experience should be a key feature that your promotional material focuses on. Talk up its features, create informational videos and publish customer testimonials that explain all of the key benefits.
To wrap things up...
It’s an exciting, but challenging, time to be a b2b tech company. The businesses that invest in b2b products or services are getting younger and more tech-savvy. Furthermore, the growth of shorter subscriptions for b2b SaaS services means that you have to be on your PR and marketing a-game. However, these trends will help your company stand out and achieve your business goals.
Written by Mark Linsdell, Marketing Associate at Digital PR Agency Publicize, who specializes in PR for tech companies.