What is Technical Marketing Today?

At some point in your life, you will acquaint yourself with a “sneakerhead,” a cute term for a die-hard sneaker enthusiast. To a sneakerhead, a sneaker is much more than an essential component of the human wardrobe. The subculture surrounding sneakers has transformed shoes into an intricate form of self expression – it’s a culture where the tiniest detail speaks volumes about your identity.

If you’re marketing to a sneakerhead, you won’t impress her with your ability to rattle off colors and fabrics. You need to know so much about the sneaker in question that the CIA would be jealous of your intel.

That kind of technical knowledge is the defining skill set of successful technical marketing.

Whether you’re marketing a healthcare app, a drone or a pair of sneakers, hiring a savvy technical marketer will propel your sales to new heights.

What is technical marketing?

Technical marketing focuses on explaining how complex products work, and for that reason it’s commonly confused with product marketing.

While technical marketing can be, and often is, a component of a product marketing strategy, it speaks to the knowledgeable buyer through highly detailed, engaging content including white papers, presentations, technical training, industry event presentations and community engagement.

A company should hire a technical marketer when a basic, generalized product overview doesn’t impress the target market. Technical marketing is an insider’s game, and the person who takes this position needs to understand the product through and through.

In essence, the role of the technical marketer is to evangelize by targeting a very technical, smart buyer.

The skills of a technical marketer

As with all marketing positions, the ideal technical marketer will possess an impressive combination of hard and soft skills. A mastery of these hard and soft skills – as well as the ability to rapidly switch between them on a daily basis – allows the technical marketer to engage with the knowledgeable buyer in several ways simultaneously.

Through strategic shifting between these skills, the technical marketer will be able to drive revenue by addressing complex questions and concerns, disarming barriers to purchasing and helping the buyer envision the benefits of their purchase.

Hard skills for a technical marketer

  • Content marketing  
  • Writing
  • Research and data analysis
  • Business knowledge
  • Presentation
  • Community development
  • Branding
  • Public speaking

Soft skills for a technical marketer

  • Adaptability
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity
  • Customer empathy
  • Strategic thinking
  • Ability to excite
  • Collaboration
  • Decision-making

Above all, the technical marketer should possess a deep understanding of both the product and the buyer’s emotional connection to it. There’s nothing an aficionado loves more than nerding out with someone with an equal aptitude for the subject. And that’s the kind of person you want for this role.

Deliverables for a technical marketer

The deliverables for a technical marketer will hinge on the overall marketing strategy and will align with the deliverables produced by the Sales and Product Marketing teams. Deliverables will range from short-term to long-term projects.  

Short-term deliverables for a technical marketer

  • White papers
  • Blogs and articles
  • Presentations
  • Video content
  • Infographics and visual aids

Long-term deliverables for a technical marketer

  • Market research
  • Catalogs and user manuals
  • Courses and e-books  

KPIs for technical marketing

Like product marketing, technical marketing is a difficult concept to define, which can make it difficult to measure. Standardized technical marketing KPIs will emerge with consistent market analysis and critical thinking. Until then, start with these general KPIs for technical marketing:

  • New leads via technical marketing collateral
  • Content ROI
  • Geography and unique visits
  • Heat maps
  • Key-phrase mentions
  • Average ranking of unbranded terms or keywords that do not include your brand

Ready for technical marketing success?

Whether you’re looking for better ways to reach your knowledgeable buyers or you have a new, complex product launching next year, dig deeper for your customers and hire a technical marketer. If you have smart, technical buyers, having substantial, compelling content could be your ticket to eye-popping ROI in 2019...and it could all start with a technical marketer.

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