Co-ordinated marketing: A single voice

Vendors can no longer blame economic conditions for a tough tech marketplace: co-ordinated marketing is the key

Many technology companies are blaming the current economic uncertainly for slumping revenues, poor profits, and lousy customer loyalty. Too many assume that technology will sell itself again once the political scene has settled down.

Buyers have now reverted to a more basic purchasing pattern -- by only buying products and services that they can prove will help their businesses. Technology vendors must do two things: highlight their focus, and simplify their marketing messages.

Establishing a strong, defensible brand identity and strategic positioning are make or break propositions. Yet many vendors still view their brand initiatives only in terms of communication, or fail to link their branding efforts effectively to the overall business strategy.

The real goal of marketing is to win the market, not just to make or sell products. Smart marketing means defining which part of the pie is yours. It means thinking of your company, your technology, your products, and your service in a fresh way, a way that begins by defining where you can lead. Because in marketing, where you lead, you own. Leadership is ownership.

Even the big fellows will have to do more in the way of educating prospects about the details of their offerings so they can become more efficient buyers of their products and services.

Technology has also expanded branding opportunities and media offerings. This has resulted in changes to the ways marketers push information to customers, as well as to how and when customers receive the information. The Internet has also changed the nature of competitive analysis. For starters, Web sites are great foundations for the study of almost every company.

And search engines and news site archives now enable customers and competitors to find information that used to be available only through expensive subscription services. It's a great way to gain an enormous perspective on a company's current activities, performance, and future plans.

Whereas ICT is often regarded as being fraught with a degree of novelty, one might rightfully regard the "concept of the new" as a subject for investigation. What do people, (customers, prospects, opinion leaders, analysts, etc.) understand when they come across so-called new products, services, and even new competitors?

What will make the sales funnel flow faster? The key is being able to co-ordinate all the sales and marketing efforts and align everybody in the organisation. A marketing mix must meet the needs of target customers, but vendors must also realise they aren't likely to gain a competitive advantage if they just meet customer needs in the same way as their competitors.

Len Rust is publisher of The Rust Report.

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