Using PR to Reach the IT Market – Q&A with Marketing to IT

Marketing to electronics companies and electronic engineers requires than marketing to other audiences/industries.

Q. What’s unique/different about marketing to IT?
A. 1st of all, the marketing landscape is completely different than just a few years ago. The channels of influence are varied and in many cases, traditional platforms for influence have shifted in favor of more p2p (peer to peer) aggregation networks emerge. The difference is extreme. Electronics companies and electronic engineers work within a different paradigm. Their produce development lifecycle is constantly expedited, developing products according to Moore’s law as well as expected market demand. The lifecycle for most electronics are unbelievable short compared to other products in most industries. Product mangers and engineers have their blinders on in order to meet goals. They’re looking for solutions that will help them. They simply don’t have time or interest in hype.

Q. What are the obstacles marketers have to overcome to reach and engage this busy, skeptical group?
A. Yes, this is not just a skeptical group, they’re a highly intelligent, sophisticated audience. Simply put, they’re not looking for bull S#!t. So it takes a marketer with a bit of engineering and product development savvy in order to determine the pain and deliver the pain killer – effectively.

The primary obstacle to overcome is the learning curve. Effective marketing to this channel requires a unique, and rare, ability to understand technical capabilities with effective, cutting-edge marketing strategies and tactics. Marketers can’t be effective simply because they’re greater marketeers. As well, engineers aren’t the best source for compelling and creative marketing campaigns. But find someone who can become a jack of both trades, and you’ve got yourself a credible candidate who can unite both fronts.

Q. Are there any special opportunities today for would-be suppliers to this industry?
A. Yes. But they’re not special, they’re just mostly overlooked by people who do not take the time to train the marketing staff in charge of broadcasting the supplier’s capabilities and solutions. The opportunity is education. For those who take the time to truly understand the product and how it fits into the greater scheme of product development, development cycles, budgets and ultimately market requirements, will be successful. You have to take the time to understand how the technology will benefit every stage of development to customer adoption.

Q. What products or services are in high demand by electronics engineers/companies?
A. Smaller, faster, better, oh yeah, enable wireless in multimedia at the same time. Wireless HDMI and UWB are the next big thing for consumer electronics.

Q. What major trends can savvy marketers take advantage of?
A. I’m not sure that there are trends per se, but marketers can benefit highly from painting the end-game picture. How is this stuff ultimately going to be used and how is it going to make life better.

Q. What are the best marketing tactics/strategies for b-to-b suppliers to use to reach and engage the electronics/engineering community? What media work best? What types of marketing messages and creative work best?
A. This is a great question, as really, it could be a book, or a real-time blog. Really though, B2B suppliers need to apply all forms of marketing campaigns that help electronics execs/engineers develop killer products. Whether it’s through direct sales, direct marketing, PR, and/or customized print and online advertising, the message has to be consistent. Why should they care about what you do…how do you help them be more successful…how does what you provide help them? Print media is still important. Email can’t be ignored. However, the online community is the next wave to ride. Web 2.0 isn’t just about publishing companies extending print entities online…it’s about the opinionated, educated, grass roots entities out there gaining ground and increasing their audience. All of these outlets combined – along with compelling stories, customized by audience and channel, will help marketers be successful.

Q. What mistakes do you see marketers commonly making in reaching and engaging this audience? How can they avoid them?
A. The biggest mistake is that they apply what they learned in marketing 101, PR 101, and advertising 101 to everything they do. It’s so much more sophisticated than that today. Who knew, that along the way, you’d actually have to study. Marketers often forget that their messages and campaigns are aimed at real people with realword needs. So most messaging is the victim of corporate “kool aid” which usually falls flat. This tactic relies on the hopes that savvy recipients will hear their messages and act.

These mistakes can be avoided by doing homework, competitive research, market analysis and thinking like the target demographic.

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tags: PR B2B futureworks



Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist. In his work at Altimeter Group, Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an avid keynote speaker and award-winning author who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation.

His most recent book, What's the Future of Business: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. In 2009, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.

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