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I gave a teaser introduction to the Digital Marketing Workshop that the ESD Alliance organized a couple of months ago, with OneSpin’s Dave Kelf (although he has since moved to Breker) and Nicolas Athanasopoulos. See my post Digital Marketing...with No Hands On the Wheel.
Dave talked about Geoffrey Moore’s book Crossing the Chasm which is the defining work on how startups evolve from early adopter to mainstream. There is a lot more in the book than this, but one key observation is that early adopters are different from the mainstream and require different go-to-market strategies. In the context of EDA, this means that early market development and scaling are different.
Digital marketing is attractive even for the early guys, but, as Dave put it “frankly you can always find some of them…go to your friends.” But scaling is really hard, and is where digital marketing really comes into play as a key part of a marketing strategy.
Traditional marketing doesn’t really work in the digital age:
The change is to move to “pull” from “push”. We need to become educators not marketers. By the time a prospect talks to an EDA salesman, they should already be experts. “How do we help them with that? This is the trick.”
The funnel nurtures contacts into leads into prospects into customers. For a small company, it’s a lot cheaper than traditional marketing since leads come to sales reasonably well-qualified. It can also do great things for company brand perception. The OneSpin experience was that it is 10-100X as affective per dollar invested.
The contrast is between outbound marketing (cold calling, cold emails, mass channel ads) versus inbound (SEO, valuable content, highly targeted ads). Of course, everyone is self-protecting themselves from ad impressions, but engineers like to research. So the idea is to pull the engineers in with educational material rather than try and push marketing material at them. Digital marketing is about pulling customers in by their own interest into the branded environment of the company.
There are multiple steps in digital marketing:
To do this, a first step is to create a very detailed buyer persona, relying on personal attributes and not just demographics. “After that, every digital marketing activity you undertake will tie back to the buyer persona.” It is important to think about the buyer’s journey, otherwise you end up spamming them on Facebook with photos of conferences, and nothing happens.
There are 3 ingredients for remarkable content:
First, The Content itself. The content needs to be general, not specifically about your products, except perhaps at the very end. The idea is to write about a problem that engineers have (such as understanding ISO 26262) and discuss general solutions. “Only unique and remarkable content can guarantee differentiation in the digital environment”.
Second, Where. Decide where to put the content. You can’t just place a link on Twitter about a new white paper, you need to consider the attention span of the user there.
Third: Be aware of events like DAC, since nobody is reading tweets about DAC one week later, only during the event. There is a contextual sweet spot. Also, there is lots of information available about when social media posts are more effective, and that needs to take time zones into account, too.
There is no inbound marketing without premium content. If you can’t provide it, then inbound makes no sense. Start with great content writers (or hire them) and shift to a customer-centric mindset.
In my next and last post about the workshop, I'll flesh out the details of these 8 steps with Nicolas's recommendations.
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