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Marketing to CIOs & IT Managers

I’m in San Francisco working on a client project where we are targeting the business to business audience of IT Managers and CIOs.  It is an interesting audience category because of the relative importance of influencers and distribution of the IT purchasing decision across many levels of an enterprise.  As such, it’s also a particularly challenging audience to reach, with a high "bullshit meter" for marketing that overpromises or lacks credibility.  For this audience, as with many others, understanding their world view is vital.  In my search for audience related data, I came across a whitepaper goldmine from Bill Babcock of Babcock|Jenkins – a direct marketing agency.  In it, he paints an extremely insightful view of the CIO and IT manager.  Here are just a few soundbites:

Marketing to CIOs:

  • Their greatest weaknesses are that they don’t have a strong business background.
  • Senior staff, and tech gurus way down the org chartinfluence him strongly.
  • Biggest priority is enterprise integration (accounting for 35 to 55% of overall budget).
  • Anyone who can show immediate ROI will get consideration.
  • When something doesn’t work, it’s his fault.
  • CIO’s can’t be sold until they feel smart.

Marketing to IT Managers and IT Decision Makers:

  • Reaching technical influencers is easy, as long as your product is really great
  • They love or hate products, and are vocal about it
  • Don’t overpromise or disrespect, they are smarter than you or I
  • All IT people despise users
  • Appeal to ego, they usually have a big one
  • Discounts don’t work … it’s not their money anyway.

Get the full whitepaper here [PDF]

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Rohit is the author of 9 books on trends, the future of business, building a more human brand with storytelling and how to create a more diverse and inclusive world.


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