Technology PR is a marriage of the right and left sides of the brain – art and science. As a PR professional who has worked on many, many technology campaigns over the years, I still consider myself to be missing the left hand side of my brain entirely! It’s all about the benefits technology brings and the issues technology resolves for me – that’s the information that stays with me.
My husband on the other hand is in technical sales. He is all about the technology, how it works, which features make it faster, more sophisticated, better than other technologies. I guess you could say I’m the type of person who buys the pretty red car with a fabulous sounding sound system and a big enough boot for all of my shopping. He would look under the bonnet, compare horsepower and fuel consumption with similar models... you get the picture.
So I was engaging with my regular banter with my ‘lefty’ partner, i.e. who would win in race/mental challenge/knowledge test, the CTO or the CMO? I explained that the news releases written by my technology clients with the ‘technology blinkers’ on (i.e. no sniff of a business benefit) were yawn-worthy and I found it horribly hard to stay awake to the end, no matter how awesome the technology. ‘Sometimes propeller heads have no idea how to relate to the real world!’ I complained.
He fought back... as I hoped he would! ‘When I am presenting the latest and greatest software to a company, I simply hand the marketers a comic and sit them in the corner until the presentation is over,” he joked. ‘Then I tell them they can only keep the comic if they buy the software, it’s a guaranteed sale every time’ (well I never said we go easy on each other, hey!)
‘Oh, by the way,’ I suddenly remembered. ‘You couldn’t take a quick look at my case study and check that I have all the best technology points in there and that I’ve understood them correctly could you? It’s not going to work unless I’m bringing out the real differentiators.’
‘Sure,” he replied, ‘don’t I always?’
‘By the way, could you cast your eye over my presentation and make sure it’s zappy enough? He said. ‘It’s all in there, but I want to make sure it’s lively enough to keep the audience engaged.’
‘Absolutely!’ I replied
And there you have it, an unspoken agreement of the essential symbiosis between technology and marketing that makes presenting technical information to the masses really work.
I can think of many examples where companies get it wrong in both directions (too techie or too soft). I can also think of a few companies who have nailed the balance between the two sides... Apple for one! Let me know what you think.