In the last several weeks, we’ve seen turbulence across the economy and within the tech sector. The high-fliers of the pandemic have implemented hiring freezes, stock prices have slid, and profits are down. From entertainment and e-commerce to the gig economy, adoption has accelerated and then plateaued. Yet, while the consumer-driven frenzy has ended, many changes are permanent, and they have created a ripple effect that is driving the adoption of new sets of technology.
AI, forms of automation and advanced analytics platforms continue their transformative push across industries, and economic conditions across many of these have primed them for the adoption of advanced technologies to combat the slowing of growth, inflation and workforce constraints.
In speaking to B2B marketing executives across the country who represent the most advanced and transformative technology companies, a picture is emerging of solutions simultaneously maturing to a point where they are rapidly solving some of the most complex, cost-intensive challenges in their markets. The key priority for leading marketers is to know how to communicate the benefits of their platforms at scale and with a market-moving impact.
Companies serving different markets with varying areas of focus are turning to public relations campaigns that can accomplish their objective – namely, reach their decision-maker and help them understand how the technology is beneficial, differentiated and transformative.
Here are some of the common issues anthonyBarnum hears from marketing executives, and corresponding tips for shaping a PR strategy that can be a game-changer.
The Pre-existing competitor
Company A’s solution is more efficient and seamless. A large competitor has a greater market share, a larger portion of the voice and is the de facto standard, but the solution is nowhere near as effective.
Quantify and research the issue
In these situations, it’s important to get specific and wrap your arms around just how much of a thought leader the larger, more established company has become within its market. One way to do so is by running a Share of Voice report to calculate its reach. The findings can then be used as a tool to 1) determine what type of thought leadership and visibility strategy is working for the competitor; 2) research specific reporters following the subject matter; and 3) figure out just how far ahead they really are. When evaluating these reports, it’s important to ask: What is the competitor leaving on the table?
To effectively gain ground on an existing platform, it’s important to get surgical about all the differentiators of your technology over the competition, and really articulate that in great detail. There may be facets of weakness in the competitor that can be leveraged in relation to efficiency. These improvements over the competition should be quantified and measured as part of the narrative-building. Numerous avenues should be explored in constructing the concept to find the most powerful way of drawing a contrast without, of course, being overtly or directly negative toward the competitive company. It’s important in marketing to really make sure the PR team is well-briefed on the differentiators. Sometimes the most valuable contrasts are not immediately obvious.
The Brand-new Category
In some circumstances, technology is a totally new solution to a manual process, or it’s an entirely new way of approaching a recurring industry challenge. There are no competitors that exist from whom you can compare and contrast capabilities. It’s a truly disruptive technology.
Build the argument in the media
To win over the media, the product narrative must be compelling and quantify or strongly contrast the inefficiency of the existing approach with the innovation. The concepts must be constructed to drill into the problem that the platform solves, and then work outward to detail how this persistent inefficiency and pain point can be solved. Use cases, which don’t necessarily have to name a specific company, must paint a picture to bring the technology’s value forward.
In it to win it
It’s typically going to take more time to garner interest in media coverage, simply because introducing a new technology is always a more difficult conversation than working with a pre-existing ecosystem of coverage. The campaign needs a longer ramp-up time in the early stages to warm up the media. It’s a challenging dynamic, but don’t assume a couple of extra weeks of media outreach means it’s impossible. Our case studies show that once the media begins to cover the breakthrough, coverage scales rapidly. In fact, our case studies demonstrate that the slow start is more than compensated for within a brief time. Once the targeted media understands how valuable the innovation is, they tend to cover the disruptive platform at just as a high or higher clip than pre-existing categories.
Technology is advancing quickly. Marketers are seeking to drive adoption or convert markets. PR is a highly effective tool in the marketing mix to communicate nuanced and market-specific differentiators. It’s important to consider all the dynamics of a specific solution set and build arguments that are convincing in the media, bring to life the advantages of the solution through quantification, and know when to stay the course with the media to win over their interest in coverage at scale.