How to Market to Technical Audiences, IT Nerds and Various Other Geeks

If you were selling tools, ingredients and recipes to chefs, you wouldn’t want to patronize them, right?

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You wouldn’t tell them that you discovered this great new spice called saffron that would go nicely with a particular vinaigrette. You wouldn’t ask them to buy a blender that’s made for home use when you know they work in an industrial kitchen.

Chefs are already going to know a lot about the tools, techniques and ingredients that are out there.

If you’re going to show them something new, unique or advantageous to their trade, you need to know them intimately and understand where they’re coming from. They want to talk flavor profiles, mouth feel and prep efficiency. You can’t go in and treat them like Home Shopping Network customers and pitch, pitch, pitch.

The same goes for technical audiences.

They’re not going to fall for marketing fluff and the kinds of messages that make regular consumers go ga-ga over shiny new tablets and the app du jour. They can smell that stuff a mile away.

Difficult as it may be, you have to leave that stuff behind and focus on cold, hard facts like the flavors, feel and advantages the chef is interested in.

If the target geek is not already familiar with your solution, you have an opening to present. But you must quickly tell them what it’s made of (technical specs and technologies it’s similar to), how it’s useful to them, and which problems it solves. Think language efficiency. Think bullets. Think quick-hit advantages. The more you can make a piece look like a quick hit technical spec sheet, the better off you are.

Remember your audience. Unlike you, the marketer, tech-heads did not go all-in for English class, romance, adjectives and subtlety when they were in school. They intentionally chose to focus on facts, raw data and the ability to construct things (virtual and real) via physics, engineering, code, process and testing. So don't put your product in the Macy's store window and dress it up with a bunch of flowery adjectives. Save that for the consumers . . the rubes.

They are not like you, but it’s your job to think like them.

One last note. Another useful approach is to show the IT person how to sell it to his/her boss, and don’t be afraid to be direct here. Say it, “This is how you can present the solution to your C-suite boss who doesn’t know the technical details of how this works.” Better yet, create two marketing pieces for every solution you sell - one for IT and one for the C-suite. Then deliver both to the geek who will influence on the entire selling process.