The New Way of Talking Tech

Technology is the prime-mover in today’s economy. And it’s not just traditional tech companies like Apple, Google and Facebook. Technology and technological innovation are driving major sectors such as energy, healthcare and financial.

While the growth is welcome, it brings with it chaos, disruption and competition. As marketers, it’s essential to recognize that these traits aren’t constrained to the product development side of the business. Technology-oriented companies face some unique challenges when it comes to the marketing of their products. Identifying these challenges is the key to understanding how to overcome them.

Challenge I: Explaining the Abstract

Feature and benefit copy is building block on which all marketing communications are based. However, this can present a challenge for technology oriented companies. The differentiating attributes for many technology oriented products can be so technical that they’re unrecognizable, even to long time users. By association, the corresponding benefits would also be unrecognizable.

Consider a fictitious “digital system” with a new processor. The new processor could be 100% more powerful than the competition (the feature), eliminating the need to overclock the system or drain resources from another program (benefit). But what does this tech-speak mean to the average user? Most likely, nothing.

Challenge II: The Problem of Parity

In today’s information-driven society, there’s little information that isn’t readily available with an internet connection, a browser and some basic research skills. The information available runs the gambit from song lyrics to complete schematics to build (and launch) a satellite.

With information so ubiquitous, true product differentiation is hard to establish and impossible to maintain. Nowhere is this more true than in the technology sector, where the difference between a premium product and fast-follower is often nothing more than a brand name.

Unfortunately, many tech-based companies have embraced a ‘laundry list’ approach to marketing communications. In essence, they’re turning every ad into a spec sheet of sorts. It’s now an arms race of who can attach the most impressive sounding (but frequently impractical) features and buzzword(s) to their product.

Typically the feature and benefit are the bread and butter of marketing communications. But in the tech sector, it can be helpful to step back from the tried and true and perform a little categorical cross pollination.

Rather than speaking to the technical nature of the product, focus on the experiential aspect of the end user. This type of approach can be especially effective in a vertical category where sales and distribution can play a disproportionally stronger role than traditional advertising. This type of execution allows us to depict the technology without getting bogged down in technical details. The focus is on the experience of the user, rather than the execution of the product.