How to Market to Chief Information Officers (CIOs)

by Jennifer Beever

CEBIT AttendeesEveryone wants to sell their technology services and products to CIOs, but many CIOs are expert at avoiding solicitations. Here’s what you need to know to market successfully to CIOs.

I read with interest a Wall Street Journal blog post by Rachael King that references the research of Joe Peppard, a professor at the European School of Management and Technology. Peppard’s research found that 70% of CIOs are a particular Myers-Briggs type, ISTJ. In her post, King describes the ISTJ CIOs as:

“…introverts rather than extraverts, who perceive the world through their senses rather than intuition and those who base decisions on thoughts rather than feelings. [He or she] prefers to use judgment rather than perception, meaning that he or she focuses on predictability, planning and control rather than perception, which is the ability to be adaptable, spontaneous and flexible.”

Whereas CMOs and CEOs are more likely to focus on intuition, patterns or hunches, CIOs want current and credible facts, numbers and data. They want proof.

It’s no wonder!

The CIO job is to reduce risk and improve productivity while at the same time staying within budget. Oh, and by the way, most CIOs have kids to send to college and a mortgage to pay. They want to keep their job.

A CIO’s decision to purchase your product or service is never made lightly. It is often a lengthy process, requiring a lot of information. Because they are technologists, CIOs and other techs often research online. Because the risk is high, CIOs review what their peers say about technology.

1. Make sure your online image is credible and business-like.

A lot of technology inventors get a little goofy with their marketing. What is it with techies and Star Trek, super heroes, and cartoons? A little marketing fun is OK, but make sure that you have a business-like website with credible content about you, your products and services, and your users’ testimonials.

2. Get customers and industry experts to recommend your product.

Long ago in 1991, author Geoffery Moore pointed out in his book Crossing the Chasm that the number one reason buyers choose a technology is peer reviews. No one wants to be first! (If you have a new product, this is a challenge! You need to find some beta customers and run some controlled usage tests. For more information, read my previous post about this.)

3. Make sure your online product content is easy to access.

Make your content mobile-friendly and easy to access.  Provide different formats, such as whitepapers, blog posts and videos. Ask for a minimum of contact information when CIOs download your materials. Post links to your content on social media and get others to share it too.

4. Build a relationship with the CIO.

Remember that only 70% of CIOs are ISTJs. And all CIOs are human. They have a tough job. Get to know them by showing up at events, speaking at conferences, and connecting on LinkedIn. Follow up your first contact with a LinkedIn invitation to connect and/or an email or a snail mail letter (gasp!) that references meeting them and highlights your conversation. Keep the communications open and make sure your solution is clear. They’ll appreciate your professional approach and your industry knowledge.

Do you need a plan for marketing to CIOs? Contact Jennifer Beever at New Incite today. She has sold and marketed to CIOs her entire career. As a marketing consultant, she creates strategic marketing plans and executes marketing programs that get results.

Photo on Flickr by CEBIT Australia. Some Rights Reserved.




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