What is the pain point of communication in the tech sector?

Strategic communication plays a crucial role in achieving goals, but many still fail to recognize its power.

The battle for attention has become an inevitable topic in the world of communication. Companies face challenges in developing innovative and creative content, building customer relationships, and attracting and retaining talented individuals.

Strategic communication plays a key role in achieving these goals, yet many still fail to recognize its power, especially in the IT sector.

A year ago, when I transitioned from the public agency world to the real sector, I was amazed by the plethora of new roles and functions that emerged in the communication industry.

The buzzword jungle

LinkedIn was filled with ‘pumped-up’ profiles communicating new universe directors such as the Head of People and Culture, Head of Growth Marketing, various directors of Content, Customer Journey, Employer Branding, or Digital Performance.

Aware of technological trends that changed organizational structures and cultures and led to deeper specializations in digital jobs, I wondered – are these entirely new professions brought by Generation Z, or are things just given different names?

I delved into the analysis of all these new ‘cool’ English terms and ‘buzzwords’ and concluded that they represent traditional marketing and communication skills that, due to technological advancements, adapted to market needs. In essence, all these terms primarily aim to strengthen the brand, image, and reputation of the organization, employer, or their product/service. Their common denominator revolves around a communication message through which a company or individual wishes to inform the public. PR communicates it through the media, HR through employer branding campaigns, and Sales through business development activities.

The untold tech story

However, new terms for communication skills are not the main problem. The crucial question is what communication professionals actually do in the IT industry and how recognized their role is – is having only technological experts enough for success in the tech industry!

Despite having an innovative pedigree and being aware of the importance of technological development, IT companies often overlook the power that strategically led communication has in achieving their goals. One reason for the lack of awareness is often the misunderstanding of the role of communication professionals. What is often missing is a strategy and planned communication that would bring technological achievements closer to users, investors, and other key stakeholders.

I will focus on the field of strategic communication, PR, and media in the tech sector. In the Croatian tech industry, the perception of communication and public relations is exclusively tied to the media, despite the fact that the media represent only one part of the public through which a company needs to establish strategically directed communication with target audiences.

Certain Croatian tech companies believe they don’t need a communication professional; they operate globally and have no need to communicate through local and regional media. Startups most often don’t have the ‘luxury’ of having a communication person within the team since their entire focus is on development.

It’s not uncommon for a communication professional to come to a tech company, experience a lack of understanding of their job, and not stay long. The most common reason for leaving is the already lost battle since the company has not yet realized the opportunities and possibilities of communication efficiency.

Growth Marketing and Employer Branding

Tech companies aware of the importance of strategic communication are already one step ahead of the competition. They integrate communication professionals into their teams to develop comprehensive strategies that support their business goals. These experts have a deep understanding of the tech sector and its specifics, but they also recognize the importance of communication channels, public relations, branding, and creative content creation.

My experience indicates that the need for marketing and communication in the tech sector on the local market is recognized only through two terms: growth marketing and employer branding.

Growth marketing focuses on analyzing user behavior – its strategy is based on data, numbers, and user feedback to ensure the company’s growth. On the other hand, employer branding is aimed at attracting new talents and retaining existing ones by highlighting the company as a desirable place to work.

Admittedly, the field of digital marketing is recognized, but even there, expertise is marginalized as it ‘only’ deals with social media. But the question arises: do these disciplines cover all the needs of a tech company for organized and strategically directed communication? My stance – absolutely not!

Partners, investors, new leads, clients, employees, and end-users are just some of the audiences that tech companies should strategically communicate with.

The ‘aha’ moment

The ‘aha’ moment usually happens when a technological solution becomes successful, investment offers start pouring in from all sides, demand increases, foreign markets open, and a team of ten enthusiasts suddenly counts hundreds of people. The company needs to ensure scalable growth and usually resorts to communication professionals at that point.

This involves establishing a system of strategic communications, long-term planning, and organizing communication activities such as creating a communication strategy, digital and go-to-market strategy, creating content and media plans, creating a strategic approach to different audiences, and more. Additionally, there is a growing need for new talents, so IT companies become ‘forced’ to communicate locally.

Thus, when we read about the opening of cool business spaces, a team of developers living their business dream, and the ‘fun’ culture and employee benefits, PR often stands behind it, communicating the company’s values through the media to achieve its business goals.

Whether we want to admit it or not, the company is gradually taking on corporate traits, and communication professionals are becoming a kind of necessity. But that is the ‘price’ of growth and survival in the global market.

From all the above, I can conclude that strategic communication in the IT sector has enormous potential to contribute to business growth. Only coordinated, organized, systematic, and effective communication can contribute to achieving the company’s business goals while simultaneously creating a brand, strengthening its image, and building a reputation.

Source: Jutarnji list, June 2023

Photo: Goran Mehkek / CROPIX