Rakesh Shukla, Founder & CEO, TWB
Is marketing technology services all that simple? Without going into the differences between technology products and technology services, let us stick to the business of services as in professional services or "software development" and increasingly "consulting" for this argument.
There are basic marketing concepts at the core of both products and services. But for the most part we would argue that marketing for technology services is actually more complex than it is for technology products. In the case of a product, the vectors on which it operates are better known.
What it does is clearly known.
- The position you keep in the market vis--vis competition is relatively clearly known
- The development path you have is relatively clearly known
- The challenge primarily is to drive engagement on these vectors
For products, the flexibility to commit is limited. With a product, while one can make forward-looking statements to make a dip-stick test of the market on features and requirements, you cannot throw the apple all that far from the tree. Your product will have to deliver and relatively quickly, too. Products and product engineering are not that quick to reconfigure.
In the case of services, however, the vectors are kind of fuzzier. That is because the services marketing mix has key differences from that of products: providing evidence, dependence on people, and repeatability of process. Customers need to see these things to decide in your favor and that is not exactly easy. Also:
- Services need a lot of explanation
- Difference to competition is not readily obvious
- The competitive advantages services create are not always clear
- The why and what of creating the technology services marketing engine
The first question to answer is who or what is creating the initial engagement? Is it your sales guy? And if it is –then you definitely need to up the marketing ante.
The second question to answer is how? To drive any engagement, you have to invest in creating a place for yourself.
Do not be anybody. Be somebody. The best companies are.
It is important for your marketing to communicate a thought out position into the future. Create a high flow of high-quality content across channels to create conversations to engage customers and provide insights.
If the service offered cannot effectively convince people to purchase, then there is an even chance customer will buy from someone else. If you are able to effectively demonstrate why your offer is better than your competitors, differentiate the offer, use the right medium for marketing, and communicate the benefits; then you have the opportunity for success. The best professional software development and consulting services see the value in driving engagement, and creating an outgoing marketing content stream to add even more value.