Are we bringing knives to a gunfight?

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(Enter the promo code MMDL to download for free)

Now in its seventh year, the Market Measures Survey aims to explore how Kiwi companies can arm themselves to sell more effectively against the world’s best tech companies. This year’s survey revealed we’re on the back foot compared to our US counterparts when it comes to ‘digitising’ our selling processes. With over half of our tech businesses exporting to the US though, the incentive to develop the same weaponry is in zone red.

Your primary source of leads

While we can’t often compete with the US in the size of our budgets, we can be smarter about how we arm ourselves to compete.     

It’s interesting to note that around 80% of US companies are now are using activities such as email and social media as their primary source of leads compared to just 35% of Kiwi companies. In 2014 the figure for Kiwi firms was 23% and this year it increased to 35%, so while improvement is showing there is a still a San Andreas fault-line gap.

Our tech firms tend to rely on more direct activities such as cold calling by the sales team, or referrals and while both are valid tactical approaches, they don’t deliver on the same scale that planned and sustained indirect lead generation campaigns do - especially those conducted online.

Why content is still king

The biggest new weapon in the armoury of a marketer now is using ‘content’ to drive digital marketing activity.  The survey found that 93% of benchmarked US firms say they use content marketing against 54% of Kiwi firms. So while the typical Kiwi tech firm is engaging with this concept, they’re just not choosing their content ‘weapons’ carefully enough. 

The best content is typically provided online through a company’s website and promoted through various direct, social and offline channels. As potential customers go through their buying journey they consume different types of content – e.g. blog articles are good for creating awareness, but before a decision to engage a vendor is made, buyers may want to attend a more in-depth webinar.

It’s not just social media

Over 70% of USA companies are producing additional content like whitepapers, videos, webinars, online presentations, and infographics. Sadly, Kiwi firms are too narrow in the content ‘weapons’ they select and are not deploying enough variety. (See image below)

Content marketing tactics used (% of companies in NZ vs USA)

Content marketing tactics used (% of companies in NZ vs USA)

Not only is our content ‘quiver’ often too sparse, we are vague in the way we drive potential leads to useful information. We tend to focus on using albeit good channels like Twitter and LinkedIn, as opposed to the typical American firm which is using a much broader mix of communication weapons.

And keep in mind that content marketing isn’t just for existing customers – US companies are using their content primarily as a tool for generating and nurturing new leads.

Here are some practical steps you can take to better arm yourself in content marketing

·      Understand the personas (key audience types) you are targeting and their decision-making drivers (emotional, financial and functional). Audit your existing content (i.e. every piece of online and offline information you have relevant to helping a potential customer with their buying decision).

·      Map the decision-making process for each of these personas (from awareness to acquisition). Identify what kinds of content would be useful at each stage. Particularly focus on what content might help attract a prospect into your sales funnel  and then compare your solution to their alternatives.

·      Develop content to support potential customers through their buying process.

·      Start trialling a wider array of social media channels in promoting your content, and measure the effect of each.

The good news

Our tech landscape is still a remarkable picture of innovation and entrepreneurial courage as we produce world-leading tech solutions across a range of industries and applications. To have this recognised on a worldwide scale however, we need to arm ourselves more effectively in the digital battle for leads where we lag behind best practice. The good news is that 75% of Kiwi firms said they were producing more “content” than last year. Lets aim to be more aggressive in this space, particularly as more of our companies dive into the competitive US market.

Click on the box below to download the full Market Measures Survey (PDF)

Emily is a Senior Advisor in the Deloitte marketing team who knows that behind every great business lies a great story. She loves talking to inspiring people who are thinking outside the box to create a thriving SME sector in New Zealand.