Targeting Technology Buyers: Reaching New Decision-Makers With Better Targeting Strategies

May 23, 2019

Tech Targeting

Today’s B2B technology marketers work hard to reach a more nuanced and diverse audience than ever before. With innovative, new solutions powering more of the modern organization, sharp, savvy customers expect successful outcomes and flexible, longer-term value from their vendor. Simply put, the age of enlightened technology buying is here.

As we uncovered in our latest research, Enlightened Tech Buyers embody unique qualities that are distinctly different than in years past, notably they:

  • Are heavily influenced by the opinions and recommendations of others
  • Surround themselves with a dedicated buying committee made up of voices from a wide range of departments and teams
  • Are obsessed with the ROI of their technology investment

With the average sales cycle shrinking to just over 2 years, time spent researching and learning about new technology has been truncated. In order to break through marketplace noise, deliver immediate value and make the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time, technology marketers must hone their targeting strategies to find and engage potential buyers in a more meaningful way.

Comprehensive Targeting That Considers All Key Purchase Influencers

Knowing who to target is the foundational step to breaking through industry noise and connecting with decision-makers, key influencers and end users. Reading a buying committee and targeting each of these roles individually creates a more effective buying process for both sides. Every member of the buying committee brings a unique perspective to the table, as outlined below:

  • Decision-makers lead the charge from selection to purchase to implementation and are typically from IT, engineering, finance or operations departments.
  • Influencers provide detailed feedback during the selection process and usually are in business development, accounting or project management roles.
  • Implementers and adopters are involved with the deployment and widespread adoption of new technology. They’re typically found in IT, engineering, marketing, sales or finance departments.
  • End-users are the individuals who use the new technology on a daily basis and are found in all departments throughout an organization, from marketing and sales to IT and human resources and beyond.

Knowing the types of individuals who play a key role in a B2B sale allows marketers to become more strategic with their content and campaigns.

Targeting Buyers By Interest

LinkedIn’s newly released Interest Targeting allows technology marketers to focus on their available buying audience, segmenting prospects by interest. This way, only people who are interested in AI, for example, would receive a message about a new AI solution. Interest Targeting engages consumers with content that marketers already know will be interesting and enlightening. By fine-tuning this audience and filtering out those who might not be a fit, marketers can start to build more targeted, technical content that speaks directly to those who are.

Over 80% of tech buyers look outside the buying committee for insights on a purchase, whether through blogs, on forums, via surveys and more. With targeted marketing, brands can deliver tailored, brand-specific information directly to consumers in a way that fulfills a buyer’s need for outside verification and confirmation. Because this content is coming from a vendor, however, a focus on education and research is a must. Once segments and audience profiles are well-optimized, tech marketers can take their content a step further by focusing on the value and outcomes of an investment, rather than just high-level features.

Amplifying Your Impact with Lookalike Audiences

Tech marketers are consistently under pressure to drive pipeline and reach new audiences who, hopefully, are ideal customers. LinkedIn’s Lookalike Audiences combine the key traits of your key buyers (eg. Developers, IT Decision-Makers and Business Decision-Makers) with rich member and company data to help your reach similar professional audiences, website visitors and target accounts. This feature is particularly exciting, given that these individuals are existing, active LinkedIn users who will be just as likely to engage and respond to your brand.

Find the Right Audience via Audience Templates

Looking for a defined template of preferred B2B audiences to enable quick activation? LinkedIn’s latest (and growing!) number of Audience Templates include key characteristics such as skills, job titles, groups, etc. that can be easily activated with one single click. This can help tech marketers reduce the amount of time needed to get a campaign off the ground or run a test campaign.

3 Ways to Optimize Your Target Marketing Strategy

As a next step, delivering the right educational content to the right people can help shape buying decisions across the entire technology buying committee and enable brands to enter into an open conversation with buyers who are looking for seeking new value.

Here are three targeting best practices that you can apply to your marketing strategy:

  1. Be specific. When it comes to engaging technology buyers, it’s okay to be very, very niche with your audience segmentation and your content. After all, these buyers know what they want – and what they don’t want – so they will be looking for language that speaks directly to their challenges. You can segment out buyer audiences based on job title and industry before diving into interests, such as Cloud Computing, IT Management or Cloud Security.
  2. Engage with a purpose. There can be a fine line between interest targeting and spam, and it’s the responsibility of tech marketers to ensure this line isn’t crossed. Your interest campaigns should have a clear purpose and goal in mind, as well as a strong CTA asking your prospects to take action. Tech buyers want to get down in the weeds on a topic. They want to know whether or not a purchase decision is right for their business needs and their team, and they are looking to your content to exhibit a deep understanding and help guide the process.
  3. Create ‘wow factor’ content. Just as the world of technology buying is changing, so too is the world of thought leadership content. Educational thought leadership must present an impartial, unbiased view of facts while still driving readers towards an action. To this end, targeted content must be engaging enough to spur an interaction, share or save from a prospect.

LinkedIn’s latest targeting features are effective and efficient ways to capture the attention of buyers across the purchase landscape and a strong targeting strategy is the first step in breaking through the noise to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.

Ready to go even deeper? Read our latest report, “The Enlightened Tech Buyer: Powering Customer Decisions from Acquisition to Renewal,” or subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog here.