2019 IT marketing challengesBetween waves of new technology and political and economic jitters, 2019 will be an extremely noisy marketing environment. Getting and keeping the attention of IT buyers will be harder than ever.

Here are three of the biggest IT growth areas I’m seeing from my work with clients, and suggestions for practical messaging that will lift you out of the “me-too” scrum this year.

Cloud Migration

With security fears easing and cloud providers upping their game, it’s no longer news when a customer moves to the cloud – or that you helped them move to the cloud. Here are some not-so-obvious angles to differentiate your cloud platform and/or cloud migration consulting services.

  • How you help automatically identify which of a customer’s apps are best for the cloud from a business This might take into account management costs, software licensing, security/regulatory requirements, application performance and demands for local hosting in area such as the European Union.
  • How you automatically identify which apps are best for the cloud from a technical This might include dependencies on aging hardware platforms that would make such migration difficult or impossible and how you help link internal access control, security, management or chargeback platforms to cloud environments.
  • How you help customers manage their cloud migration so they don’t wind up with islands of expensive, insecure cloud apps.

Raising Digital Twins

Expect more talk in 2019 about “digital twins” (software-based simulations of physical objects or processes that continually become more accurate by analyzing real-time data from the Internet of Things. This ongoing realistic modeling of real-world objects and processes promises to slash time to market, prevent breakdowns through proactive maintenance and improve the efficiency and quality of products and services.

Ways to make your messaging stand out:

  • Explain what a digital twin is with examples specific to your industry. For pharmaceuticals, that might be a digital drug trial using wearable sensors; for an electric car manufacturer, a map showing range and charging stations for a customer based on their driving habits.
  • Explain how your digital twin technology or architecture handles obstacles such as intermittent or slow network connections with IoT devices.
  • Explain how you handle the all-important ingestion, cleansing and normalization of data needed to create an accurate digital twin.
  • Explain how each component in your digital twin architecture (from field devices through data gateways and cloud-based analytics) is designed to work most efficiently and securely.

Software Defined What?

Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen once famously predicted that software will eat the world.  Software may not consume everything in the IT world, but it is increasingly defining it. By that I mean using software to automatically configure, provision and manage compute, network and storage hardware far more quickly and less expensively than manually clicking through a user interface or changing wires on a patch panel.

Between software defined wide-area networks, software defined storage, software defined data centers, infrastructure as code and (yes) software defined everything, how do you stand out?

  • Explain where you fit in all these conflicting market spaces and create a simple, elevator pitch to explain it to customers. For example: “We deliver on the promise of `software defined everything’ by automating the provisioning, management, updating and troubleshooting of all components of your infrastructure from a single pane of glass.’”
  • With everyone moving to public or public/private hybrid clouds be ready to explain how your management spans the private, hybrid and public cloud worlds. Be precise about which cloud platforms you support, and how robustly.
  • The same goes in spades for your support for popular scripting and management tools such as Puppet and Chef. Explain how to what extent you support them and (if you’re providing services) the scale and depth of your expertise with each.

Hey, What About Blockchain?

I left out the blockchain distributed-ledger technology as the hype seems to be fading due to security and performance problems, and the lack of high-profile success stories. But there’s still a lot of enthusiasm among the faithful. If you’re among them, check out my 15 ideas to jump start a blockchain blog and tips on driving thought leadership in blockchain. I also didn’t covert “digital transformation” as you need to decide what type of “transformation” you’re selling before you develop content for it. (Tips for doing so here.)

Whatever you’re marketing, economic and political uncertainty plus new technology means a lot of confused, frantic, “me-too” messaging. Stand out in 2019 by digging beneath the buzzwords to explain the practical, real-world challenges our customers face and how we help meet them.

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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