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25. 01. 2021

The constant struggle of emphasizing content marketing in a tech company (and why it matters)

by Lelys Hrvatin Jugovac

My beginning in a tech company

One moment I am at Rochester Institute of Technology, studying International Business with specialization in Marketing, among people who all have the same interests as I do. Everything is shiny and we enjoy discussing marketing concepts and ideas. And the next moment I work at an IT agency with 25+ employees, Lloyds design. Facing developers and designers who are annoyed by my requests for blogs, graphics, or even worst, case studies. It’s not only that they are annoyed; they do NOT SEE THE POINT OF MARKETING. This is how the beginning of my work experience in a small tech company looked like. From their point of view, I can understand that they are the ones getting the job done. But I was not aware that in the mind of developers and designers, marketing has almost zero value… Also, I was not aware that in front of me are months of passive-aggressive behavior and conflicts — Me vs. Them.

The (Non) importance of marketing in the eyes of my colleagues

‘’This is not important; clients are a priority, and we have deadlines.‘’ ‘’I will do it in my free time’’ (read: never). First few months, I was naive enough to work by the schedule ‘’I will create some content when I catch time’’. If you’re as naive as I was, read this carefully: There will never be free time for Marketing. I had spent a few frustrating months, which were full of battles and conflicts. If you do not see the value in marketing and in creating content, of course, that a person asking you to do something for (useless) marketing is pointless, and that person is ruining your peace and routine.

Content marketing without content

Obviously, in the tech industry, in a startup, my whole marketing strategy relied on content marketing.

Creating content is an awesome way of showing and proving your knowledge and expertise in various topics. If a developer can, for example, write a blog about the comparison of reactivity models, the potential client will automatically have more trust in their skills. Content marketing is not only more than 60% cheaper than traditional marketing but according to LYFE Marketing, it produces around 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing. Also, by writing interesting blogs and case studies, you differentiate yourself from your competitors, and you are perceived as an authentic source of information. Paula Ortiz explains in her blog:

‘’The content is a must to attract the tech target audience.’’

Getting a tech blog post from a developer was not an easy thing for me, to say the least. Missed deadlines for my social media post, because those deadlines are not important, were a constant. Realizing a blog will be hard to get, I tried reaching designers and getting some content from them. It turns out, designers are the REAL nightmare (no offense, designers). You’ve probably heard rumors about how Designers are a different sort of people — in short, it’s true.

Content marketing vs. Projects

‘’That’s not my job, am I supposed to do it in my free time?‘’ ‘’We have enough projects, why do we need it?‘’ ‘’We are already overworked, we don’t need new jobs, we get everything over referrals.‘’ Overall, in their eyes, I am wasting their time by asking them to create blogs, graphics, or case studies.

Truth be told, the tech industry IS great and it’s at its growing phase. And we do get projects without investing in marketing. But do you really think (I am talking to you, you warrior against marketing) that the industry will stay the same forever? Every industry has a natural cycle that follows, and once there are 20 companies same as the one you work in, you need to stand out and have proof of your expertise and knowledge.

Am I Crazy? Why am I hearing the story about how the client is the most important priority for the 100th time? Do you think I don’t know that?

What does marketing bring anyway?!

The problem with marketing is that it is often perceived as a support department, especially in the tech industry. Working on your brand awareness is a long-term thing and results are not instant. That’s something that can cause problems in people’s perception. When you start writing blogs and case studies, you will not see anything other than a few likes and if you’re lucky enough, a few comments and shares of your post.

Obviously, there will not be an instant magical moment when you see the benefit of creating content for your social media. That makes it even harder because there’s nothing you can promise to them as a reward for them writing the content. You have to emphasize the importance of marketing in some other ways. My tip is: use statistics. People are more prone to believe numbers. However, you should use your statistics from your market research. For example, you can easily show the rise of the engagement rate and reach for your company’s blog posts. The first blog will probably reach a small number of people and probably won’t have big engagement, but after 1 year of writing informative and high-quality content, statistics for your blog post show clicks, visits to your website, and the overall reach will certainly be motivating. Also, repeat, repeat, repeat. Remind them all the time why marketing is important.

Marketing means a LOT — give these statistics to all warriors

  • Companies who blog get 97% more links to their websites,
  • 77% of internet users read blogs,
  • 72% of online marketers describe content creation as their most effective SEO Tactic,
  • 57% of marketers say they’ve gained customers specifically through blogging,
  • Word of mouth drives 20 to 50 percent of purchasing decisions. This means once you get people to talk online about your product you are increasing your brand awareness and chances of new leads.

Moreover, these are the statistics for 2020, and what do they say about next year? The relevance of blogs for 2021 is steadily rising.

Check out more interesting statistics about the importance of blogging here.

Let that sink in.

How do we solve this?

I’m not writing how we solved this because that would be a rather optimistic subtitle. However, we are doing much better than we did a year ago. You need to show your work and show the reviews and statistics. Describe concepts that emphasize particular behavior of customers which influence their thoughts about a brand — for example online presence of a company creates an image in consumers’ mind about that company. If you’re a marketer you need to include the CEO or someone who has the most authoritative power in your company. If that’s your CEO, and in a small company it usually is, they need to be your associate in explaining the importance of marketing. It needs to be communicated that creating content is a part of a job, not something you should do in your free time.

The solution

Here are some new processes that we implemented.

Each designer has 4 hours every Friday to work on graphics for social media. In those 4 hours, they are treated as if they were in a meeting — nobody is supposed to ask them to do anything else. Sometimes during that time, they have creative brainstorming which gives them new ideas, and usually, they wouldn’t have time for that due to their busy schedule.

A portion of developers who signed up for writing blogs have scheduled 1 blog every 3 months. This is now officially part of their job and something that they write in their monthly report. They have reminders each week during their month therefore so it’s impossible to forget about it.

Deadlines for delivery and posting a blog are different deadlines, so if they miss a day or two — it’s not an issue. However, both designers and developers are now introduced to the social media schedule. They are aware that if they miss their deadline, the whole schedule of social media posts for that week is ruined and compromised.

Good thing about different perspectives — they are subject to change.

Developers, Designers, and Marketers are three different worlds with absolutely different perspectives. But perspectives can be changed. We all have the same goal, and that’s what influenced us into listening to each other. The biggest lesson I learned was first to listen and then explain. Once I‘ve let them explain why they don’t see marketing as that important, I got my chance to explain why marketing is important. It turns out, if you have goodwill, there’s always a common way to solve problems and overcome challenges. So, this is only the beginning of my journey. Who knows what else is waiting for me around the corner (probably my mad designers and developers after reading this).