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When you’re a technology company in the automotive space, it’s easy to think that your target audience is engineers. After all, they’re the ones who work with your technology. The problem is, engineers are typically influencers, not decision makers. Companies that figure this out start having conversations with people higher-up up the food chain. However, if they haven’t also changed their message, they end up presenting to a room full of qualified yet uninterested prospects.
There can be several reasons why your message isn’t resonating with a managerial or business-level audience but a common one is that your message is too deep in the weeds. This doesn’t mean that you should no longer communicate to engineers. But you better develop a good crisp message that works for mid-level managers and C-level execs. Each of these personas needs a message that caters to their focus in an organization. The higher up you go on the org chart, the less your message should be about technology specifics and the more it should be about business benefits. In a nutshell:
Engineers. Messages for engineers are based on how you can help them develop well-designed and easily maintained products. They’re interested in details – how a technology works and how it’s built.
Technology managers. Messages for technology/engineering managers are based on how you can help them deliver reliable products within budget and on schedule. They are interested in overall solutions and not usually the minutia that powers those solutions.
C-suite execs. Messages for the business side are based on how you can help them improve their top and bottom lines. They are interested in business models, big pictures, and helpful partnerships.
Note that while purchasing is another persona for automotive technology, they usually have a single goal – to reduce cost – so they’re not an effective target for marketing messages.
Here are some examples of how to elevate your message from engineering to technology and business management:
|Original message for engineers||Revised message for tech managers||Revised message for C-suite execs|
|Create a hardened system that runs only the software you specify, signs all binaries to prevent modification, encrypts certificates and resources, and protects the system with a hardware rooted chain of trust.||Ensure only trusted software runs in the vehicle with a secure, tamper-proof environment.||Protect your brand by preventing cybercriminals from altering your vehicles with a secure environment that also supports software updates and app stores.|
|Reduce the testing and validation phase of creating mobility innovations using a test facility that has a convenient on-site rapid prototyping lab.||Productize your mobility innovations on time and on budget with fewer issues during customer integration by using a test facility that uses ISO certified processes and works directly with industry giants||Turn your mobility innovations into profit faster with a test facility that has the regulatory connections you need.|
|Move to a continuous integration development model with a standards-based OTA solution that seamlessly integrates with CMake build scripts.||Update vehicle software after deployment allowing bugs to be fixed, new features to be implemented, and security breaches to be patched.||Securely update and manage software for millions of cars each year, protecting them from software attacks long after they leave the dealer lot.|
When and where to use this information
If you’re looking to reach engineers, look no further than the product and technology section of your own website. These days, engineers do a lot of online research about products before recommending them for further consideration to their boss, the technical manager. You should also use your engineer-focused messages whenever you create a product brochure, a webinar, or a technology whitepaper.
Technology managers are typically looking for solutions on your website. They may also refer to the occasional trade magazine (usually digital but sometimes paper). You’ll want to use your manager-level messaging whenever you give a presentation to this crowd. Analyst interviews is another fertile ground for this messaging as analysts are typically interested in technology but not in the speeds and feeds.
Business managers make final decisions before passing the baton to purchasing. They typically can be found perusing articles in business-level magazines and web sites. They may also refer to the corporate section of your web site to understand the credibility and longevity of your business. Customer success stories are particularly effective for this audience as they of course message about business benefits. Elevating your message isn’t as daunting as many people think.
Do your personas, understand who you’re targeting, and then talk to them about the things they care about.