What are the priorities for marketing in the IT sector in 2023? With an unpredictable geo-political backdrop, 2023 looks very different to 2022. A few clear themes are emerging, and some bright spots for the technology sectors. This article reviews what analysts are saying and what that might mean for marketing managers in IT software and service provider companies.
Businesses want efficiency
The US Chamber of Commerce says companies will prioritise efficiency over growth in 2023. Enterprises, facing increasing costs, will focus on controlling and managing those costs, which will drive more digitization. Gartner predicts that IT spending will increase by 3.7% in 2023, but notes that this follows a 3.8% decline in 2022. Gartner also predicts that spending on enterprise software will increase by 8.6% and spend on IT services by 6.6%, with the UK ahead of the mainland European countries. Note that the US Chamber predicts that investment will be in “proven digital solutions”, with enterprises wary of investing in the newest technologies, so marketing managers will need to think hard about how to promote the latest innovations in this climate.
Services and skills
The Cloud remains the number one area for investment. Nearly every IT vendor now provides services, most former resellers and software providers have moved to a service model and even distributors are becoming “value-added distributors”, adding value with specialist services. This could bring more competition in the services sector. It can be difficult to define USPs for services so marketing teams will need to think hard about their brand and business proposition, and how to demonstrate credibility.
Meanwhile, the skills shortage continues and end-user businesses still struggle to recruit the right IT skills. It could be important for the marketing teams in the IT service sector to communicate their specialist skillsets in their marketing messages.
FinOps is the end-users’ response to the huge increase in spending on cloud services across Europe. Finance and DevOps departments are working together to create a new function that can manage the costs of cloud computing and all of its associated services. It will monitor how well an organisation’s IT capacity is matching its business needs, and it’s likely to mean a closer scrutiny of IT service contracts and deliverables. Consequently, some service providers will need to work on their customer agreements, to ensure that they are fair and transparent. This will be good news for their customers.
Security concerns all round
Cyber attacks increased in 2022, so IT security matters. Data has become a strategic asset, and software applications could become a vehicle to distribute malware. This means that end-users and software providers will need to place a high priority on keeping their systems secure.
According to the US Chamber, small-to-medium businesses are the most vulnerable of all to cyber security attacks. They will need technologies that enable a zero trust approach to IT security with multifactor authentication and other advanced identity management tools.
Expect a new focus on security products for the network, data and the desktop. IT service and software providers may want to make cyber security a focus in their marketing this year.
Digital platform choices
Most employers will probably settle on a form of hybrid working that embraces remote working. I do not see direct mail and telemarketing being as useful as they were in the past, and it suggests there will be more reliance on digital leads capture, paid social media, email marketing, and maybe marketing ventures with SMS and WhatsApp.
Fortunately conferences and trade shows are back, and many people are keen to meet face-to-face again post-Covid. However, some event organisers are retaining their digital platforms for “attendees” who don’t want to travel. These could be important new marketing channels, especially for events where travel costs are high.
ESG and supply chains
ESG stands for environmental, social and governance policies. Stock market-quoted businesses already need to report on ESG, and it will remain a high priority in 2023. Procurement managers will want to ensure that their supply chains are ethical and environmentally friendly, so vendors must communicate their ESG messages. However, ESG needs to be real, not just words. I remember that CIM reported that marketing managers worry that they will be accused of “greenwashing” so this new area of marketing will need care.
Summary: actions for marketing in the IT sector in 2023
To summarise, marketing in the IT sector in 2023 will need to address these areas:
- Focus on efficiency
- Use case studies to sell the latest innovations
- Ensure cyber security is covered
- Build a strong brand and business proposition
- Communicate IT skills
- Make customer contracts transparent and fair
- Explore new digital channels
- Be honest with ESG messages
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