It’s time for local IT businesses to have a look at themselves and get clarity about who they are and what they are doing.
That’s the view of Wayne Johnston who, along with partner Kate Holtmeier, is launching a new specialist IT marketing consultancy, Johnston Holtmeier.
“Companies define their businesses, not their objectives, in marketing,” says Johnston.
“One of the core issues is they have numerous lines of business. They are broken into many sectors and have no clear understanding of what they deliver.”
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The result is account managers working on numerous and often fundamentally different initiatives, he says.
One of the core problems with many local IT companies is they accumulate these lines of business through wanting a part of every new buzz technology that comes along, he says.
“Establishing who you are doesn’t come into the equation.”
Johnston says the real problem facing most IT companies is how they make a commodity unique. How do they differentiate themselves from all the rest?
“It’s something that hasn’t been forced on IT because they’ve had it good so long,” he says.
IT companies need to understand what it means to invest in their brands, he says.
“They are in business for longer than a week.”
Brand can deliver customers and quality staff and build goodwill in the business.
“That’s all the things they miss out on,” he says.
Emphasis on demand generation is all well and good, he says. But a “buy one, get one free” offer won’t work unless customers “buy one”. That comes back to the brand.
Johnston says there really isn’t an issue with local IT companies cutting marketing budget – because most of them never committed to marketing in the first place.
“A lot of them don’t have a dedicated resource. It’s hard to cut something that isn’t there.”
Johnston says his new firm is a business consultancy focused on delivering ROI on marketing investment for such IT companies.