I used to use a desktop printer/copier. Until the day I couldn’t stand it anymore. Right when I’d send the final client presentation to the printer, like clockwork, the printer cartridges ran out of ink. It churned out copies at a snail’s pace. I decided duplicating leave-behinds at the office supply store would be more efficient. I paid $100 for copies that were faded and unprofessional.
It was time to buy an office-grade copier. When I talked to the copier salesperson, did I tell her, “I wanted a two-tray, duplex printer with a 100-sheet bypass tray, 50-sheet automatic reversing document feeder with a finisher and punch kit that output 35 pages a minute?”
No. I said, “I need to be able to walk out the door on the way to a client meeting with beautiful, professional documents that look on-brand.”
People buy technology because it’s going to make their lives easier and better. Whether they are buying it for business or personal use, they want to know what it’s going to do for them, not how it’s going to do it.
All too often, communications about technology are bogged down with speeds and feeds. The goal is to communicate the outcomes that technology will support. Public relations is an excellent tool to help increase understanding of the technology and overcome common barriers the purchaser might have. Will the headphones stand up to someone’s sweat output on the treadmill? Will a piece of industrial equipment allow a plant operator to multi-task at work and avoid wasted materials that drive up costs?
Every piece of technology has a life-improving or business-changing outcome. Public relations professionals play a crucial role in marketing technology because they can be both a cheerleader and an assuager of fears for the technology buyer.
Focus on Outcomes
Resist the temptation to talk about feeds and speeds in your PR writing. The marketing team will make the data sheets with all the numbers. Your job as a client counselor is to evoke the life-changing, mission-critical value of the technology to the reader. Start with a list of questions to use when you interview subject-matter experts. Focus on “how” questions: How can this solution change how the customer does business? Will the product help consumers be more efficient?
Another objective is to overcome barriers. Many people love technology. Many others fear it greatly. Even a customer who wants to buy a new piece of tech is likely to have some reservations. Everyone knows the pain of transferring data from an old computer to a new one. In enterprise technology, the capital and opportunity costs of new technology are always a concern.
Public relations professionals can help break down these barriers and concerns by increasing transparency about set-up time and the short- and long-term costs of technology, as well as the benefits. See this media article that explains a new technological approach to data collection and analysis.
Share Data Visually
Data is often vital to communicating the outcomes of a technology solution. Present data and analytics in infographics, charts or tables. These approaches make the data more accessible and enjoyable to read. Journalists see these visual assets as value-added content that will make their outlets more dynamic. This infographic is a good example.
All technology buyers rely on the placements and output created by public relations professionals, including media reviews, product placements and application stories. Make your hits effective with clear outcomes and persuasive points that overcome outdated opinions. Above all, resist the temptation to focus on the speeds and feeds.
By Carla Vallone, Portavoce PR President
This article was originally published in PRSA Strategies & Tactics, June 2019 issue.
Are you interested in a complimentary consultation to determine how to communicate your mission critical technology? Click here to schedule your 60-minute meeting with Portavoce PR President Carla Vallone.