Oct 03, 2017 Ed Harrison

Throughout the month of October, members of InkHouse’s B2B technology practice are taking control of the Inklings blog. We’ll address PR topics relevant to enterprise marketers, from best practices, to program measurement, through the tough questions to ask when it’s time to make a change.

Ed Harrison, the SVP who leads our enterprise practice in our Boston-area headquarters, kicks things off.

In Boston, we’re known for complaining about the weather/traffic/Red Sox (sometimes in one sentence), endearing linguistic tics (“so don’t I” actually means “me too”), candlepin bowling (the nation’s best region-specific bowling) and developing some of the world’s most important, yet least glamorous, enterprise technologies.

Generally speaking, we take pride in solving the hard stuff first.

We are not the only region that does this—certainly there are pockets in the Bay Area, Austin, RTP and even Kitchener-Waterloo (and I’ve worked with clients in each, and more), but this is a regional specialty with a long history. The first successful minicomputer and the optical technology that spawned 2016’s most successful IPO emerged from the same complex in Maynard, Mass., separated by four decades of innovation.

I recognize that unless you’re part of a very specific audience, it’s hard to get jazzed about the latest “[fill in letter] as a Service (XaaS).” But in enterprise tech PR, it’s our job to get the right audiences hot-and-bothered about it.

If you tell a story rather than read a product spec sheet, it can be done. Moving from what a product does to why that matters and finally to how it makes you feel can connect the right audiences at an emotional level with even the most arcane technologies.

Let’s try this a few times.

Hyperconvergence is “a fully software-defined IT infrastructure that virtualizes all of the elements of conventional 'hardware-defined' systems” (thanks Wikipedia!).

That sure sounds important. But are IT decision-makers waking up and wondering who can possibly meet their pent-up demand for fully software-defined IT infrastructures… (you get the point)? No.

But are they looking for technology that simplifies their infrastructure and saves their company money? Yes… and you’re getting closer.

Do they want technology that makes their lives easier while making them appear smart, strategic and important? Jackpot.

Let’s try Software as a Service (SaaS). “I want to convert CapEx to OpEx” is important, but it isn’t an emotional driver. However, “I am going to be able to work more on the things I truly enjoy doing the minute I outsource this, and regularly leave on time for my daughter’s soccer games,” is.

Let’s get right to the point with a few additional examples:

    • Without optical networking hardware, there’s no streaming mediaand nearly half of this year’s Emmy-winning programs are never produced.
    • No in-memory databases? Your credit card is going to get hacked, without the ability to detect fraudulent transactions before they happen.
    • Facilities management software? Great for maintenance and operations professionals But also critical for thousands of retailers and millions of consumers to ensure a uniformly great experience, whether they are buying the latest iGadget or a morning latte.

While we’ve never installed an enterprise cloud storage system, our enterprise technology PR team can certainly communicate the benefits of one. From there, we lead our clients on the crucial jump to identifying buyers’ emotional drivers—and securing earned media that appeals accordingly.

Topics: Technology, Enterprise Tech, PR, 2017, Technology PR, SaaS
Ed Harrison

Ed Harrison oversees Inkhouse’s growth in the eastern U.S., including Boston and New York, building company culture and ensuring client-service excellence while helping drive the agency’s expansion into new markets and geographies.

Read more from Ed Harrison

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