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Peter Gruenbaum
Technology Writer/Educator
Seattle, Washington
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Reaching Your Geeky Customers

If you are marketing a product to technical customers, then you need to have a marketing strategy that works for their kind of personality. Ingredients include lots technical detail, facts, and an emphasis on why people should use your product.
Written Feb 11, 2009, read 1995 times since then.
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Some of us have customers who are geeks. I'm not putting them down -- after all, my degree in Applied Physics pretty much makes me a card-carrying geek myself. But if your customers and potential customers are the kind of people who love technical challenges and details, then you need to understand that typical marketing techniques need to be fine-tuned to work on this special audience.

Here are some situations where you have to think about marketing to technical customers:
    1. Your customers are software developers, meaning that you are selling a software development kit, software development tools, or specialized software services.
    2. Your customers are IT professionals and your products or services require a fair amount of technical expertise to use.
   3. Your customers are technology hobbyists, and you are selling them software or hardware kits so they can build fun gadgets.

There are lots of other examples of technical customers as well, such as scientists, engineers, statisticians, and financial analysts. Here are some guidelines for marketing to these technically-minded customers.

Don't exaggerate
Technical customers hate hyperbole. They don’t want to hear you say that your product will revolutionize technology as we know it. They aren’t going to believe it. Your marketing tone should be confident, but not bragging. You have something great that they want, and all you need to do is explain it well to them, and they will see it too.

Go into detail
Technical customers have to understand something to buy it. You need to give them enough technical detail so that they know what you are talking about. If you are a non-technical person, your eyes may glaze over when you hear this level of detail, but trust me -- this is what they want to hear.

Emphasize the why over the how
Just as it's important to put in details, it's just as important not to have what's good about your product get lost in the details. To get your details right, you often have to have a technology expert from your company explain it. These experts have a tendency to focus on how technology works, and often aren't as good at explaining why someone should use it. Make sure they explain why your technology solves problems that other technologies don't. This is the critical piece of information that your customers want to know.

Back up your claims
Technical customers like to see data. If you are claiming that your technology is faster than your competitors, they want to know how much faster and how you arrived at that conclusion. Make sure your data is well-grounded and not something people can shoot down as biased.

To conclude
Reaching technical customers can be a challenge. It's a tricky balance between being technical enough and not getting lost in technical details. It helps to find technology experts who are good at communicating.

The good news is that this is a group of customers who is truly swayed by the quality of your product above all else, so if you have something good, you don't need to be clever to sell it. You just need to be clear and honest. And it doesn't hurt to be at least a little bit geeky.

 

 

Learn more about the author, Peter Gruenbaum.

Comment on this article

  • Brand Consultant 
Phoenix, Arizona 
Ken Peters
    Posted by Ken Peters, Phoenix, Arizona | Feb 13, 2009

    Peter,

    This is good advice that is applicable across all demographics of geeks and beyond :) The most effective branding and marketing will connect with consumers on an emotional level. To do that, you need to know what makes your particular type of geek tick.

    Good marketing speaks to the brain, but great marketing touches the heart.

    Nocturnal Graphic Design Studio

  • Technology Writer/Educator 
Seattle, Washington 
Peter Gruenbaum
    Posted by Peter Gruenbaum, Seattle, Washington | Feb 13, 2009

    Yes, I totally agree. The heart of the technical customer can be touched if you show them how technology can empower them.

  • Chief SEO Web Design Engineer 
Modesto, California 
Tim Nebergall
    Posted by Tim Nebergall, Modesto, California | Feb 16, 2009

    I agree Peter, most techies hearts are reached through their frontal lobes. Explaining the how is extremely important, but you can't leave off the why (what pain the solution is solving). Great article! Thanks for sharing.

  • Promotional Products 
Chicago, Illinois 
Matthew McCabe
    Posted by Matthew McCabe, Chicago, Illinois | Dec 09, 2011

    Take care not to be too geeky to the wrong group of customers. Non geeky customers can be turned off by all the technical information and might ultimately stay away in order to avoid the geek label.

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