The Triple Threat: Strategic Technical Marketing
There are lots of technical people out there: people who understand how technology works, why small implementation differences matter, and so on.
There are also lots of capable communicators: people who can deliver an engaging presentation, who recognize the importance of information design, aesthetics, clarity, etc.
It’s pretty rare that both sets of characteristics are found in the same person, intersecting as someone who can provide an understandable technical explanation to a non-technical person, who can clearly link technical features to real-world problems, or who can explain how a company’s R&D investments relate to future market challenges.
It’s rarer still that the person is able to adapt the message to different audiences and in different content types and styles (e.g., longer-form technical content, higher level awareness generation material, useful product brochures, etc.).
Some companies try bringing engineers into the marketing team and then try to teach them to be better communicators; others hire marketers and try to teach them about the technology – in the most likely scenario, a company that finds a willing and capable employee has to wait months, or even years, for that person to develop into what’s needed from a technical marketing perspective, regardless of which approach is being used.
For start-ups and scale-ups, the challenge is even more severe because they also need strategic marketing leadership.
For start-ups and scale-ups, the challenge is even more severe because not only do they need strong, adaptable technical marketers, but (like most companies) they also need strategic marketing leadership: someone who thinks long-term, who can plan integrated message and communications strategies, who has a keen understanding of market trends and what they mean for the company’s future, and so on.
Unfortunately – especially for start-ups – resources are constrained.
They’d love to find one person who can address all their needs – a strategic marketer with exceptional and adaptable communication skills who has the technical chops to truly understand how something works – but those folks are exceptionally rare.
In my view, there are three options (not necessarily mutually exclusive):
- Find one of those rare individuals who can do it all
- Hire two or more people to collectively meet the needs
- Work with an external agency or freelancer to fill gaps, as needed
All three options present challenges: in the first case, as I said above, it’s very rare to find that combination of skills in one individual; in the second case, budget restrictions and the operational realities of recruitment, hiring, and onboarding add complications; and in the third case, you need to find and trust an outsider with some pretty crucial functions.
Different companies will go for different approaches. For those who want to try approach number three – even if only to buy time while pursuing the other paths – Cromulent’s here to assist.