Tech marketing lessons from superheroes

What tech marketing can learn from superheroes


In tech marketing, inspiration can come from the most unlikely sources. I got to thinking the other day about what tech marketing lessons we could take from superheroes.
It turns out, quite a lot…

1. Have a great origin story

Pretty much every superhero has a great origin story. The shy teenager bitten by a radioactive spider. The baby sent by its parents from a dying planet to a noble future on planet Earth.

Now think about your tech company. How inspiring is your origin story? Can you even determine what your origin story is?

Your company’s founders did not sit down one day and think that they wanted to be a leading company in blah blah blah, providing innovative solutions to the blah blah blah industry.

They saw a problem and they tried to fix it. Maybe they had a chance encounter with an old colleague. Or they read or saw something that sparked an idea. Perhaps they were working at another company and were amazed that there wasn’t a solution to something seemingly obvious.

People love stories. Stories are memorable. They are relatable. Stories are what makes you read the tech industry profile about the founders, right to the end.

People buy from companies that they understand and like. Think again about your company’s origin story and how it can turn your tech company into a real and relatable entity.

2. Leave people wanting more

The episodic nature of superhero comic books and now superhero movies, means that superhero writers became masters of the cliffhanger. They know how to keep people wondering what would happen next.

They don’t give everything away. They tug on that very human instinct of curiosity. Try leveraging this “curiosity gap” in your own technology marketing efforts.

For instance, in your social media efforts, leave some room for curiosity. We have found that where there’s a “curiosity gap”, we can get up to ten times greater engagement.

You don’t have to be overly clickbait-y about it with a Buzzfeed-esque “This cat tried to open a cupboard door and you won’t believe what happened next!!!”

But instead of “We announced our solution that blah blah blah”, try “Find out what we announced about…” I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the difference.

3. Do good

Admittedly, superheroes have become a little darker and more human in the last few years. But at their core, they fight for good. They do more good than harm.

What about your technology brand? Can you actually put your finger on why outsiders might think that you’re the good guys?

Not everyone can save a bus full of children from a falling bridge, of course. But that’s not what we’re talking about.

As a technology brand, are you actually helping people do their job (the good guys) or are you just trying to make money off them (the bad guys).

This question feeds into content marketing. When you provide data, guidance, ideas and strategies that help people, you become the good guys. And as a massive by-product of that, you become more trustworthy and you sell more.

4. Be true to who you are

Superheroes have a cause. Some purpose, some characteristics that makes you recognize them. Sure, they can have a costume change or epiphany once in a while. But a flakey superhero that you don’t recognize from one episode to the next doesn’t exactly build a following.

Relating this back to tech brands, one of the smartest things Google did in the last decade was the recent formation of its Alphabet parent company. It became hard to put your finger on what Google was any more. They were the search engine that you relied on. The overly rich company who can and have bought anything they want. The Gmail guys. The YouTube guys. The guys who acted a bit dodgy in China. The Android people.

Now, with Alphabet, Google can be Google. Nest can be Nest. YouTube can be YouTube. And for your company (assuming you’re not working at Google) there are lessons here too.

When you’re in charge of a brand’s face to the public, which you are as a technology marketer, you have a responsibility. Salespeople might want more products to sell. And engineers might want to create more features that are cool.

But, as a technology marketer, you need to speak for the customer, make sure that the customer is not confused. Confusion about who you are is a slow death for any technology brand. You need to remain true to who you are.

5. Keep fighting

Superheroes face a constant and growing body of threats and supervillains to fight. And at times, tech marketing can feel the same.

There are always new challenges, new fights, new struggles. It is that variety and intrigue that attracted many of us into the tech marketing industry. Most of us thrive on it (while wishing for a boring day here or there to catch up!).

It can sometimes be overwhelming. But don’t ever give up the fight. This is the world you signed up to and until you’re ready to “retire” to do something easier (whatever that is), keep moving. Keep thinking. Keep optimizing.

I wouldn’t pay money to see a movie where Wolverine sits in his kitchen and grumbles about how much he’s got on his plate. And your employer doesn’t want to hear that either. It’s a tough business and it doesn’t stop, but that’s kind of why we love it.