A friend of mine recently became chief marketing officer for a mid-market technology company. Prior to his arrival, the marketing team’s primary function was producing one-pagers and decks for the sales team. Rather than cringing and running away, my friend saw this as an opportunity to help the brand proactively tell a story through a myriad of online channels.
I wasn’t surprised in the least when my friend told me about his new gig. In fact, I’d argue that the majority of software brands build their marketing foundation with product marketing – overlooking messaging and storytelling.
It’s an easy trap to fall into. Tech companies are most comfortable talking about the technical aspects of their solutions, and the sales team needs promotional content to help them close deals. But a product marketing-only strategy will eventually dry up your top-of-funnel leads and diminish your industry mindshare.
Enter storytelling content: like blogs, whitepapers, videos and press releases. According to cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner, messages delivered as stories are 22 times more memorable than just facts. I’m not arguing that you should ditch product marketing and spend your days doing nothing but storyboarding. But if you’re at a company like my friend’s…well, keep reading.
Timing is Everything in Tech PR
Stories can be told from multiple perspectives in a variety of formats. For example, your CEO can write a narrative in a byline article; your customer’s experience can be told in a case study; and your brand can tell its story in web copy. These content types are most beneficial in the first phase of the buyer’s journey when prospects first realize they have a problem and conduct self-research into possible solutions.
Content marketing pieces, such as how-to guides, sales slicks, landing pages and email marketing, are most effective at the second and third stages of the buyer’s journey. At these points in the sales funnel, prospects are considering a pool of vendors, and deciding which one to ultimately select. This is exactly the time to boast the needs, speeds & feeds of your technology and even offer a promotion. “Product marketing” is often used interchangeably for “sales enablement” for this reason.
Creating the Right Mix
The most successful software brands use a chorus of creative storytelling and technical product marketing. The trick is to map out a content calendar that ensures you’re striking the right mix, and subsequently holds your marketing team and PR firm accountable to the production timeline.
Ready to get started? Download our content marketing checklist. This framework will enable you to strategically attract prospects with storytelling and nurture buyers with product marketing – all 12 months of the year.