Tami Hernandez is president of St. Charles, Ill.-based Martopia, a branding, marketing, public relations and interactive agency whose clients include IT providers that sell to financial services companies, health care organizations and gov-ernments. BtoB recently spoke with Hernandez about trends and best practices for marketing to an audience of IT buyers.
BtoB: What should marketers know about targeting an audience of IT professionals?
Hernandez: IT buyers have become a little bit more guarded because the economy—that's affected their decision-making because maybe their budgets have been cut and there's more pressure on them to meet the demands of all their stakeholders. They're also one of the most targeted audiences on the planet, as far as being inundated with offers and messaging; there are a lot of vendors vying for their attention, trying to position their products as a must-have solution. Trying to get at the IT buyer has become increasingly challenging because of their time limitations. Some of their staffs have been cut, which makes that even more challenging. They are even more taxed then they have been in the past.
BtoB: What messaging tactics work best with IT buyers?
Hernandez: There needs to be some value and more of a problem/solution approach to the messaging, rather than just discussing features and function of your solution. When we review messaging for companies, the common claims are “saves time,” “increases efficiency,” “reduces costs”; [IT buyers] hear these high-level benefits over and over. So it's important to get more granular, to provide detail—the hows and whys, versus just those high-level benefits. That's what's going to end up giving you credibility. They're very analytical and methodical in how they review products. You can work your way starting at the top with your promotion to drive them to that detail; you don't have to say everything in your mailer or in your ad. But you can you can then get them to the information they're looking for if you use an integrated campaign.