Technology companies have a special place in the world of marketing. Users expect high-quality innovation news and easy-to-understand technical articles from them. And 78% of customers visit websites of IT companies for educational content that helps to solve issues in the IT environment. And all this work must somehow lead to sales. Without a well-built content strategy, technology companies risk being left behind the competition. Let’s consider the cases of four corporations that have become leaders in their niche thanks to thoughtful content marketing.
SAP: Content performance measurement is of key importance
For over 50 years, the German corporation SAP, a leader in the development of enterprise application software, has been constantly improving its content marketing strategy.
Jung Suh, Vice President of Digital Marketing, noted that the company is constantly creating and improving content. The manager emphasized that with the right tools, this is not difficult to do. Marketers detect which content is not true, identify gaps, and find new opportunities. They also must measure the content performance to understand whether the resources are spent correctly.
The marketing department focuses on a continuous cycle strategy that includes three elements: demand orientation, content optimization, and measurement of results.
In 2011, Michael Brenner, a marketer, conducted a large-scale optimization of SAP’s marketing strategy according to this principle. Previously, the company posted only product information on its website so as to communicate with the audience. SAP CEO Bill McDermott asked the marketing department to refocus on customers. The manager came up with the idea of publishing inspiring stories about how SAP products helped customers reach business heights.
The company launched Digitalist, its first content marketing site with intensive research and storytelling. By the end of the year, the new strategy had produced an astonishing result. About 1,000 new clients brought in $750,000 in revenue. The digital magazine created by Michael Brenner contained customer stories and kept attracting clients and maintaining sales.
IBM: Marketers need to create content so that people feel like we know who they are
The American technology company IBM is rightfully considered the leader in content marketing for IT companies. The company maintains about 45 independent blogs for different audiences (target industries, businesses, developers) and publishes texts on various platforms. IBM has over 1.1 million Facebook followers, about 670,000 Twitter followers, and nearly 300,000 followers on its main YouTube channel. The company generates information, scientific, and advertising content:
- IBM Blogs publishes stories, news, and articles about breakthrough technologies that improve business and change the world.
- On IBM Watson, writers share stories about how businesses are using AI technology in financial services, healthcare, advertising, IT operations, and more.
- In Case Studies, the company publishes stories of customers who gained success with IBM software solutions.
- YouTube accounts – IBM Technology, IBM Research, IBM Data, AI, and others – include ads and informational videos about research, innovation, and projects of the company.
- Social media like Facebook are used by corporations to publish information about big data, smart storage, mobile analytics, and other technical topics. IBM puts a lot of emphasis on infographics, videos, and photos.
A core part of an IT company’s content marketing program is a group of influencers. It includes business partners, IT analysts, independent bloggers, and writers with a unique view of a particular field. Indeed, influencers create content for the target audience and share information and their opinions about cloud computing, data security, or other technologies that correspond to the IBM portfolio of products and services. The company even launched the Watson Advertising Social Targeting with Influential program to find influencers who support the brand’s values.
At the OPA Content All-Stars conference, Ann Gould Rubin, Global Brand Marketing Executive at IBM, explained how the corporation builds its content marketing strategy: “We know IBM is a very complex and technical company. Yet, although what we sell is complicated, we try to talk about it in a very simple way.”
Cisco: Content marketing philosophy is about helping, not selling
In 2008, the international network company Cisco made a discovery, stepping aside from the traditional content marketing. It released a new product (a router) and covered this news on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The event was the best of the five grand launches of the company: thanks to this project, Cisco managed to cut costs by six times. Since that time, marketers have been actively using social networks to promote and launch products. Cisco’s Facebook audience has more than 1.7 million subscribers, over 730 thousand followers read the company’s tweets, and 299,000 people are interested in its YouTube channel.
But the most momentous decision was the refocusing of its marketing strategy on content when Cisco hired 200 content marketers in 2015. So, the company has invested a lot of money in the development of its website and refocused on the clients’ interests.
Neil Patel, former Technical Product Marketing Manager at Cisco, noted that content marketing alone won’t deliver organic traffic. When used strategically, it will provide the organic traffic one needs. Employees abandoned the principle of “first create content, then ask questions.” They began to combine creative content with marketing technologies so that users could receive personalized valuable information.
Another example of the uniqueness of Cisco content marketing is the SuperSmart cybersecurity superhero comic. Even though the company does not work with the most exciting industries and creates software solutions for the Internet, it has found a way to talk about its product temptingly. In an eight-page story, a superhero travels the world to stop Doctor Analog from ruining the nation’s digital programming. So, marketers replaced a boring blog article with something unique and interesting.
Certainly, this approach brings good results. The company’s revenue continues to grow: according to Statista, it reached $49.8 billion in 2021. Moreover, marketing costs are decreasing: in 2011, the company allocated $9.8 billion on it; in 2021, the spending amounted to $9.25 billion.
Andersen: The most important thing is exciting content that you won’t tear yourself away from
Although the European software development company Andersen has not yet become a technology giant, it is adopting the positive experience of industry leaders.
The team is actively developing the company’s blog, which explains the meaning of technologies relevant to business, publishes analytics, and the company’s expertise. Engineers share their experience and views on the development of software for logistics, healthcare, banking, and other industries. The company’s website has a catchy design because Andersen designers create unique images for the blog and vacancies.
IT experts maintain scientific blogs for Finextra and Forbes, which increases the credibility of the company in the eyes of customers. Andersen is actively developing Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, where it publishes news, event announcements, and the company’s achievements. In 2017, the IT provider launched the Andersen People YouTube channel. It publishes interviews with scientists, science popularizers, and tech experts. The channel attracts people interested in science and technology. It covers topics such as Mars colonization, human evolution, DNA secrets, the darknet, and other global issues.
As you can see from the experience of technology leaders, content is the best sales tool. Julie Fleischer, a global marketing leader, notes that content marketing delivers a fourfold return on investment compared to traditional marketing spending. But not everyone manages to achieve such profitability. For content to work, it is necessary to generate ideas, experiment, and calculate the results of global changes.