Working in technology and software can be one of the most rewarding experiences as a marketer. It’s an exciting and fast-growing space, with new innovations breaking onto the market regularly. However, it comes with its fair share of challenges.
This is particularly true of disruptive innovations. “Disruptive” can mean a lot of different things.
For the purpose of this article, disruptive means the following. Innovation means doing something that already exists, but doing it faster or better than anyone else.
Disruptive innovation is doing something completely new. Your disruptive innovation should solve a problem that many people have, but don’t know that there is a solution.
Many software companies are truly disruptive innovators. For example, Mind Foundry, an Oxford-based AI company brings to market automated machine learning (AML). This is truly disruptive tech.
However, it doesn’t fit into the existing market or solve a problem that people are already looking for. The only relevant target is those that have already deployed complex machine learning projects. They are aware of how time-consuming and expensive they are. These buyers can be few and far between.
Despite this, disruptive technologies like AI have some of the highest growth potentials, and are extremely innovative and exciting.
For marketers, this begs the question; How do I generate demand, inbound leads and land big deals?
Demand Generation: The Problem is the First Step
The first step is to get your perspective market to admit that there is a problem, or identify a problem that you can use. This may sound cliche, but the first step is to admit there is a problem. Your buyers may not have done this yet.
This is a fairly research-based step. You need to write down your hypotheses. These should be the problems that you think your customers have. Then, test those hypotheses.
For example, consider talking to existing customers, conducting interviews or asking them to fill out a survey. Your existing customers are the best resource to find your value. You might be able to help leads in the same way that you helped them.
Avoid the fear of being wrong. This is why we create hypotheses and conduct tests. You have built your company from the ground up. This rarely allows you to be objective about your targets and successes.
If your customer research is performing poorly, contact business analysts. These could be market analysts or consultants outside of your company. The real key is to get perspective and objective feedback from knowledgeable outsiders. Business or market analysts are likely to know your market even better than you, as they work with varied businesses.
Identifying the problem your company solves can help you to target the exact people you want. This is useful for both inbound and outbound marketing strategies. Your inbound content, and your outbound messaging, should align around the problem for the most success.
Buyer Personas: Who is your customer?
You might think that the answer to this question is obvious. However, it’s important to dig deeper. This can actually be a really challenging step for many businesses. Again, objectivity is key.
It is not possible to generate demand if you don’t know who is likely to demand your solution.
It’s important to be extremely specific. Avoid just identifying demographics, or people based in industries. This is limiting, and your marketing is unlikely to truly resonate with any one group. Be as inclusive and specific as possible:
“We target CFOs in London working in International banks with both UK and US branches who are overwhelmed by complex regulatory requirements and looking for how new technologies might help them turn their regulatory burden into a competitive advantage.”
You need to be as targeted as possible. Then, test your hypothesis. Again, you can conduct research through interviews and surveys. However, you can also run small marketing campaigns to confirm whether your messaging resonates with your target buyer.
Remember to think about who is your ideal customer, in detail, and what makes an ideal vendor for them. The key is to ensure that there is a match between these two ideals.
Search Engine Optimization: Google is your Friend
You have identified the problem that you solve, and who needs your solution. Now, you need to work on inbound strategies, and SEO.
For the majority of people, the first step to finding a solution is searching on Google.
Therefore, to reach those people, you need to build a content marketing strategy. Generate content for the specific customer that you identified as your buyers’ persona. Use keywords that are relevant to that specific buyer and their problems, to guide your content.
Answering questions relevant to their search terms is key to inbound marketing. This is how your buyer will find your site, and your solution, using search engines. Your optimized content should appear above your competitors.
However, whilst important, to generate demand you need more than just content marketing. You need to raise visibility through analyst briefings, a robust outbound marketing approach and a targeted website. Each of these elements should be specifically targeted around the problems that you solve, and who you solve them for.
Whilst there is creativity involved in generating good content for your strategies, demand generation is not an art form.
Consider demand generation as a science. It is based upon hypotheses, and testing those hypotheses as objectively as physically possible. Just like a scientist in a laboratory.
Typically, marketing agencies don’t focus on-demand generation. Of those that do, they usually discuss Google and search engine optimization.
It’s important to note that you are not the first or only company that needs to generate demand. Many businesses are looking to generate better inbound leads, hoping that customers will approach and discuss their problems. Inbound lead generation seems like less hard work.
However, the truth is that it is challenging. It isn’t rocket science, but you need good planning and an effective strategy.
At Nituno, we generate effective content to build a successful inbound marketing strategy. We understand the tech space, and can identify problems to solve in your market. Get in touch with us today to discuss demand generation for your business.