Text100 Boston sat down recently with startup veteran and serial entrepreneur Raju Rishi to discuss trends in the technology industry and how companies can stand out in today’s crowded marketplace. Raju shared some valuable insights on everything from content to data analytics that are valuable for both startups and marketers alike. Below are the highlights from our conversation.
The Importance of Analytics
Today’s technology world is all about analytics. Things that were once considered an art (like marketing) are now being approached as science. Marketing tactics and results are more measurable than ever, and analytics capabilities will only improve over time.
So what does this mean for tech companies and marketers? You need to become an expert in analytics. Tech companies that don’t incorporate analytics functionality into their offers will lose out on customers. Marketers that don’t learn how to speak or use analytics so that they can communicate results and direction to the C-suite will fall behind.
Content is King – But It’s Both Quality And Quantity
We all know the phrase “content is king.” It’s partly because the world is increasingly shifting to a pre-buying model where consumers gather most of the information* they need to make a purchasing decision before ever speaking with a sales rep. This means companies need to produce high quality marketing communications to engage and influence customers across various channels – web, social, mobile, etc. Companies today face the challenge of creating compelling, unique, interesting content with regularity. It’s about quality and quantity.
The good news is that there is a host of content services out there to address both quality and quantity challenges. Contently can help organizations (and PR agencies) create content that tells great stories to positively impact their brand by leveraging a network of freelance journalists. On the other end of the quality/quantity spectrum sits Ceros, a marketing service that allows organizations to quickly and affordably create digital content without developers so they can keep up with hungry readers, viewers, etc. The most successful organizations will make content marketing a priority.
(*We here at Text100 recently surveyed 1,900 B2B IT decision makers on the purchasing process. Our study revealed just how many places there are for prospects to gather their information and make the right decision for their business. Check it out here.)
Don’t Forget To Create Content for Multiple Platforms
Raju shared a really interesting narrative on how humans interact with content on various technology platforms. When you’re watching TV, you tend to lean back. You’re passively being entertained and don’t interact with the content. When you’re on your computer, you tend to lean forward and are heavily engaged with what’s on your screen. Mobile technologies (smartphones and tablets) produce a response that’s somewhere in between.
When companies design content, they need to address each platform uniquely to solicit the best response and engagement. You can’t just repurpose web content for a mobile device with no changes. It doesn’t work that way. Furthermore, with the proliferation of mobile devices, companies need to make sure they’re creating experiences that will come across positively on mobile platforms. In many cases, this means designing for mobile as the primary platform with web becoming a secondary mechanism for interacting with a brand.
Should Your Early Stage Startup Partner with a Big Tech Company?
While this may seem like a great opportunity, the short answer is no. A lot of the big technology companies have venture capital arms and want to partner with promising startups, but startups should be cautious to enter into this type of arrangement early on in their business. Why? They simply don’t know how big their company will grow and what path it will take. Plus, an early partnership can alienate other companies that might be valuable partners down the road. Early stage startups are better off working with neutral parties and should only consider working with the tech giants once they’ve reached series C or D funding rounds.
What Makes a Valuable PR Agency Partner?
The best PR agency will offer a marriage of strategic insights and boots on the ground support, with the real value created at the strategic level. At the end of the day, technology companies are looking for ideas. Agencies should always strive to offer their best ideas, no matter how crazy they may seem. It’s important for agencies to stay on the pulse of their clients’ markets and understand the competition to stay one step ahead of consumers and win.
Raju is currently a partner at Sigma Prime Ventures, a Boston-based venture capital firm that specializes in identifying early stage technology companies that have the vision and drive to change the world.
What else do you think technology companies should consider if they want to stand out and make their mark?
- Caroline P.