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Tech firms urged to improve marketing
Thursday, March 28 2002
by Andrew McLindon

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Marketing experts are advising Irish tech firms to re-think their approach to marketing, stressing that even the best technology won't sell itself.

Stephen Stynes, chief executive officer of marketing services firm TecBrand, told ElectricNews.Net that during the technology boom many companies had wasted their money on ineffective marketing and as a result now mistakenly regarded marketing as irrelevant to them.

"Over the last two to three years a lot of the money raised by technology companies was spent on trying to build brand awareness, instead of figuring out what they had to sell and who they could sell it to," said Stynes.

He added that technology companies needed to realise the value of marketing, which, he said, in this instance was all about generating sales. "It is understandable that start-ups concentrated on their technology since it is highly likely that most of their founders came from tech backgrounds. However, I have seen plenty of cases where companies had great technologies, but were let down by their lack of expertise in identifying and selling to their target markets."

It is particularly important for companies seeking funding to have a marketing plan, Stynes said, as many venture capital companies will insist on seeing a results-oriented marketing plan before committing to second or third-round funding.

However, Stynes, who also spoke on Thursday in Dublin at a seminar on the subject that was organised by his company, said that he had recently noticed a change in attitude among some technology firms.

"There seems to be a growing realisation that marketing needs be carried out and that technology, no matter how good it is, won't sell itself. Some companies seem to have taken this on-board and have adopted a much more targeted approach, which sees them only market to the people who are actually interested in buying their products."

Other speakers at the seminar such as Bob Preston of US-based technology marketing company MarketSpring echoed Stynes' comments. Preston advocated a return to what he called the fundamentals of marketing with more attention paid to the implementation of "precision" marketing campaigns.

He added that tech marketers are now looking for measurable results from campaigns such as direct response advertising and high-end direct marketing in generating sales and leads.

Terry Hannington, European CEO of the Information Technology Services Marketing Association, pointed to the close links between brand and company reputation, and said there was a need for systematic management of reputation among customers. This, he argued, offers huge potential for companies to reduce the cost of sales and increase customer loyalty.

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