Before I co-founded a tech company, I ran a marketing agency. My agency didn’t focus exclusively on the tech sector. In fact, we specialized in brand identity and product marketing, working with organizations in a variety of industries.
Upon jumping into tech, however, I’ve been surprised at the number of marketers who get scared away from software, simply because they’ve never worked in it before. Unlike many other industries, there’s something about the software landscape that can intimidate marketers. In coffee meetings with talented marketing pros, I’ve heard dozens of different concerns about applying for positions in the Software-as-a-Service space, including:
- “I don’t know how to code.”
- “I’m not really familiar with how tech works.”
- “I’ve never worked in the software industry.”
When I was transitioning from agency life, I wasn’t seasoned in enterprise software either, so I understand why it can be intimidating. In my experience, however, it doesn’t take much technical expertise to be a talented tech marketer. In fact, less technical marketers can oftentimes offer more valuable insights than their more technical counterparts because they have a deeper understanding of their buyers. After all, it’s pretty likely that your target demographic isn’t filled with tech experts either.
Here are a few pieces of advice that I like to give to non-technical marketers who are interested in (or intimidated by) tech.
Marketing Principles are True, Regardless of Industry
The most important truth in marketing is that the fundamental principles of great marketing don’t change as the product changes. Whether you’re focused on B2B or B2C, you’re still marketing to a real person, with real motivations and real emotions. Whether you’re selling a very simple product or a very complex product, you still face similar problems in communicating what makes you unique. If you’re a great marketer in a low-tech industry, you have the tools you need to be a great marketer in a high-tech industry.
- Doing Effective Persona Research — One of the hardest aspects of marketing to teach is the ability to do deep persona and firmographic research on your target buyer. This skillset doesn’t change with more tech-savvy buyers. In fact, in many cases, it’s made easier because there’s more information available for your target persona online.
- Differentiating Your Product in the Marketplace — Every marketer needs to differentiate their organization’s products and services from their competition. If you’re able to do this effectively in a low-tech environment, you’d certainly be able to do so in a high-tech environment as well.
- Empathizing With Your Target Buyer — In my mind, the most important skill that any marketer can possess is empathy. If you’re able to truly understand where your target buyer is coming from, you can create deeply meaningful connections. Empathetic marketers exist in all industries, and it’s easier to teach you software specs than it is to teach you empathy.
If you’re able to do those three things effectively, it doesn’t really matter if you haven’t worked in tech before. You’ll be able to pick up details about the product on the job. My product team can teach you about software, but they can’t teach you how to communicate effectively. That’s what I’m bringing you on the team to do.
Cross-Channel Marketers are Needed Everywhere
In addition to having a highly-transferrable skillset, elite marketers also possess a cross-channel worldview that is necessary to compete in the 21st century business landscape. I’m baffled when I talk to B2C marketers who have a robust understanding of cross-channel marketing campaigns who don’t think they have the technical chops to market software.
Cross-channel marketing is a must in 2017 and beyond, regardless of what you’re selling. If you have a robust understanding of how cross-channel marketing works, you’re valuable to any team. Don’t let software scare you. If you’ve got the technical chops to manage SEO, PPC, and landing page optimization, you have the expertise necessary to work for a tech company.
Tech is all About Analytics
If you like numbers, you’ll love working in the technology space. All aspects of tech are about analytics. Most B2B software is designed to collect or analyze data. Furthermore, it’s our job to analyze the user behavior data within our own software to understand how to make our app more useful.
That’s why software companies love data-oriented marketers. If you’re able to back up your ideas with concrete evidence, you’ll fit in perfectly at a tech company.
How to Nail Your First Tech Interview
Maybe this post helped you overcome your tech-phobia. Now what?
If you’re ready to take the leap into applying for marketing roles at tech companies, there are a few tips I have to maximize your ability to land the job. Here are three things I’d recommend to any first-time interviewee in the tech space.
- Show your research chops – Research is paramount to success in the tech landscape. If you can demonstrate a strong background in applying market research, persona research, and product research, you can earn a place on my team.
- Demonstrate that you know your customer and market better than anyone else – Just because you haven’t worked with my target demographic doesn’t mean that you can’t learn. If you’re currently an expert at your current market, I want to see it. If you could learn your current market at an expert-level, I can trust that you can learn mine as well.
- Come prepared to show, not tell – Finally, I want to see your marketing in action. It’s one thing to tell me about a campaign you’ve run, but if you’re able to show me your work and demonstrate results with actual metrics, you’ll stand head-and-shoulders above other marketers with software experience, but fewer results.
If you’re interested in joining a fast-paced tech company in Indianapolis, I’d love for you to consider Springbuk. We’re a health analytics company building software that will revolutionize the health insurance space, and we need all the talent we can get. Check out our careers page, or any of the other great TechPoint Tailwind companies who are hiring.
About the Author
Phil Daniels is Co-Founder of Springbuk, where he leads marketing for the leading employer-facing health intelligence platform. Over the last decade, he’s led strategic brand initiatives with nearly 150 companies nationwide, including Salesforce Marketing Cloud, McLaren Automotive and Chase Bank.