Figaro Digital spoke to Robin Selden, CMO, Avast and 20 year tech marketing veteran, investigating her insights into how best to market tech companies – and how tech companies can in turn pave the way for marketing professionals. With a long-spanning tech marketing history, Selden has experience working with companies such as Logitech and several businesses in Silicon Valley.
How does marketing for tech companies require you to be ahead of the curve, digitally?
Marketing and digital expertise are synonymous today. You cannot be a marketer without understanding how to reach your customer digitally on their mobile phone in the most cost efficient way. For tech companies, it is somewhat easier to stay on top of the latest techniques and tools at your disposal, because we are all in the same tech industry together. You see what other marketers and new start-ups are doing all the time to help the marketing professional do their job better.
What is the most important channel for marketing tech companies? Why?
It varies by product type. For tech companies who sell a physical piece of hardware, Amazon is critical. Many searches for both business products and consumer products start and end on Amazon. For software, it is important to have channel partners such as reputable download sites that can distribute your software for you, such as CNET. What these channels have in common is they both offer unbiased third party reviews so people are empowered to make the decision online and buy.
Which platforms should marketers be investing in for the future?
It is important to have a strong platform to share your content with the world – such as a blog. Content is everything when trying to grab attention of a potential buyer, so you need an easy to use and easy to navigate resting spot where your customers get a great impression of your brand.
What are tech companies doing well in marketing that other brands can learn from?
I think tech companies are not afraid to try a new tool or service from a start-up if it sounds like a good idea. We are less risk averse and might have less restrictions on changing internal systems.
What are you currently working on?
Avast is the most popular security software globally, with over 15M customers in the US; and 15M in the UK, but even with that pedigree, we still have relatively low brand awareness in the US and the UK. My biggest project right now is developing a campaign to raise awareness in those countries. So you will be seeing more of Avast in the weeks ahead.
How can you cut through the noise in a saturated market?
It is so difficult. There is more noise than ever. You need to have a relevant headline. Never underestimate the power of a headline. You also need to create something that takes on a life of its own and goes “viral”, to coin an over-used, but relevant term. And lastly, repetition is important. Do not be tempted to change out your creative too soon. You need to repeat and repeat in order to get your message remembered.
What advice can you offer to start-ups who are looking to invest in martech for the first time?
Do not lock yourself into a long term contract. Negotiate good termination conditions because it is difficult to know what you really need, and often services seem more attractive when you get the “pitch” than they are really worth. I always ask for a 30 day free trial so that I can determine if we will really use the service and if it will help my team. Also there are new analytical services coming on the market every day, and you do not want to lock yourself in.
How can marketing and IT departments collaborate to make the most of their tech stack?
It is good to have a monthly check in with the CIO on marketing priorities. I make a simple, prioritized list I share with IT so we stay top of mind and we have a chance to discuss what resources are required for each project. It makes them more likely to happen. And of course, I always am responsible for identifying “what” I need, and IT give me options on “how” they will implement it. It makes the collaboration clear and less likely to be antagonistic.
What are the challenges involved in adopting a more tech-reliant strategy, and what are your tips for overcoming these?
The challenge is automating everything, so that becoming data driven does not become a burden for your team. It is also important that all of your leaders feel accountable to the rest of the team for driving results – measurable and quantifiable. Sharing performance results across the team helps achieve this.