Sep 23rd 2020

Why tech marketers should plan for 2021 with confidence

As soon as we started to appreciate the huge global significance of COVID-19, it was clear that the world of work would never be the same again.

Now, six months since the start of the UK lockdown, news of redundancies seem to be an almost daily occurrence. In the past month Pizza Express, M&S and Costa Coffee are among the big brands to announce significant restructuring plans.

So it was refreshing to see the recent more hopeful headlines that the tech sector is bucking the trend, with industry vacancies rising by more than a third during the summer.

The number of advertised vacancies in the digital sector has climbed 36% since early June, according to data collected by Tech Nation.

The report found that, after healthcare, the digital sector is posting the highest number of vacancies. And it’s not just London that is home to these roles – in nine British cities, tech companies account for a fifth of all employment, while in Belfast and Cambridge, the sector employs 26% of the workforce.

The announcement coincided with Tech Nation ‘Unlocking Global Tech’ event as part of London Tech Week. It was a fascinating, day-long global tech tour hearing from leading industry figures in Australia, Singapore, Europe, the UK and US. The panel discussions, keynote speeches and fireside chats provided insight into how to expand and scale in different regions post COVID-19.

When the time came for the UK to take the stage, the keynote speech came from Graham Stuart, Minister of Exports, DIT. Describing the UK as ‘Europe’s undisputed tech hub’, Mr Stuart heralded the strength of the nation’s world-class digital companies and urged firms to embrace exciting new opportunities for trade and investment.

If you work in tech PR, all this will be music to your ears. The fact that the sector is continuing to thrive, especially in areas such as cloud and security, means the demand for communications and PR support remains strong. Senior leaders within major companies agree that PR continues to play a crucial role. As part of its new #PowerofPR global campaign, the PRCA this week published new research revealing that 82% of CEOs and CFOs from large companies view PR as ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to protecting and strengthening corporate reputation.

Nevertheless, despite this apparent endorsement, the pandemic continues to have a major impact as tech firms plan for 2021. Budgets are under pressure, and marketers will be spending the coming weeks carefully considering their priorities and crafting their objectives in the hope of securing budget from their financially focused colleagues.

So, what are we hearing from our clients as we head into planning season?

ROI, ROI, ROI

Whenever there are strains on the economy, the pressure is ramped up on PR and marketing professionals to demonstrate how we are adding value.

A high quantity of media coverage alone is not going to be enough to impress a CFO – quality and impact matter too. That’s why at Babel we have a four-stage campaign analysis process, starting with understanding business objectives which will dictate the PR strategy and audiences that your messaging needs to reach. This helps to form measurable PR objectives – ‘measurable’ being key. It’s not enough to aim to ‘grow brand awareness in the media’. Why not ‘increase share of voice against competitors in relevant, defined media’?

And why stop there? Why not look at the impact of that increased share of voice? Allowing a PR agency access to insight gained via Google Analytics enables it to track peaks in traffic which can be linked to campaigns and coverage simply and effectively. So, when your brand is featured in tier one websites following another successful Babel news hijack, we can help show the benefit by tracking website visitor numbers.

Lead generation

Another way in which marketers are looking to show value is by creating content which aids lead generation. Whitepapers, ebooks and compelling thought leadership can be hosted on website landing pages inviting potential prospects to download the content, drive conversions and increase sales leads. The more landing pages the better – according to a HubSpot survey, companies see a 55% increase in leads by increasing landing pages from 10 to 15. The more content, offers and landing pages you create, the more opportunities to generate more leads for your business.

Virtual events

For businesses, events are a crucial means of engaging with customers and prospects – and the media. In light of the pandemic, the message has been clear: where possible, don’t cancel your event – move it online. That is set to continue into 2021.

One Babel client – a software-as-a-service company – that relies on regular virtual and in-person events sought to host a virtual roundtable. It needed to include key spokespeople from the company and wider industry, and a number of journalists who we knew would be interested in hearing their message – in this case, about the importance of open source IT projects geared at mitigating the impacts of COVID-19.

The event was moderated by a client spokesperson but with panellists from across the industry, to ensure journalists got a balanced view and more interesting debate. Target technology media attended the event, with every journalist who attended writing dedicated features afterwards, reflecting their engagement.

So, if – like us – you are looking ahead into 2021 with confidence but need advice on how best to maximise your resources, reach your goals and show value – get in touch.


Simon
Simon SENIOR CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR