Jakki Mohr opened the BCTIA’s Sales and Marketing for Tech Conference Tuesday with a keynote on “The Culture of a Market Driven High-Tech Company”. She defined marketing broadly as “anyone who interacts with customers” and talked about marketing being undervalued in tech companies. While tech companies often make large investments in research and development, history has shown that technological superiority doesn’t always equal market domination; “Nobody got fired for buying IBM”. “Market Driven” means empowering the people who work with customers, resolving issues in consideration of the customer, and having all employees recognize their role in customer needs. Mohr advocates for including marketing in strategic product decisions to ensure that customer needs are focused on. A tech company with a well defined market segment and competitive position is better aligned to succeed.
Tech companies are often reluctant to spend much on advertising or trade shows, but the cost needs to be thought of in the bigger picture of “cost per contact”. An advertising campaign that reaches thousands is far more efficient per-contact than a cold-calling salesperson. Social media offers new ways to reach target audiences, and getting exposure from key influencers will build word of mouth.
Marketing needs empowerment from top management to succeed, says Mohr. This empowerment should include more balanced resource allocation between R&D and marketing, including marketing in project management, and sharing customer experiences throughout the organization. She spoke of “moments of truth”, where an employee is able to see where their contribution fits in the objective of customer satisfaction. A moment of truth means that the customer’s needs are understood, and every member of an organization should be able to experience that.