Am I for real asking creativity in IT Marketing? Why would IT industry communications need creativity, emotional cues, and compelling stories? Don’t worry, I am not going to judge you, after all it's something we have all witnessed the IT industry communicating. 

The typical IT communication oscillates between three backgrounds: bluish, greenish, or magenta, often accompanied by stock images of corporate-clad men or women, or icons representing computers, AI, clouds, and other technological elements. Need proof? Just open LinkedIn and search for “IT” posts.

According to research from LinkedIn’s B2B institute, in an analysis of 1700 B2B ads:

  • 76.7% ads were rated 1 out of 5 on creativity
  • 16.8% ads were rated 2 out of 5 on creativity
  • And only 0.5% ads were rated 4 and above out of 5 on creativity

Still not ringing any bells? Wondering what’s wrong with the current IT industry communication boilerplates?

The importance of building a creative culture as a CMO
In this article, I’m going over the best insights from my interviews with CMOs and marketing leaders on creative cultures, along with some findings from my own research.

Why we need creativity in IT Industry

  1. It is estimated that powerful creative can be 10 to 20 times more sales effective than mediocre creative.
  2. Creativity efficacy can be seen in three steps. Effective Creativity à results: ESOV (extra share of voice) à Leads to: increased SOM (share of market) à Brand Growth
  3. Any buyer who is into buying a critical product or service for their organization, the buyer tends to choose a well-known brand or a vendor with whom they’re already working to mitigate the risk. If you want to break this wall of favorites, the only way you have is to earn their trust. Trust is built by both communications on business and emotional levels.

 As William Authur Ward said: “The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates and the great teacher inspires.” This is a profound analogy that resonates deeply with the art of crafting messaging, communications, and interaction channels for our prospects and customers. Let's delve into each aspect of this analogy to unravel its significance and applicability in the realm of marketing and customer engagement.

"The mediocre teacher tells"

In marketing, a mediocre approach involves simply relaying information without much consideration for the audience's needs or preferences. It's akin to delivering a lecture without engaging the audience or tailoring the content to their interests. Such messaging often falls flat, failing to captivate the audience or drive meaningful action.

"The good teacher explains"

Moving beyond mediocrity, a good marketer takes the time to explain their message in a clear and concise manner. They provide valuable information and insights that help the audience understand the benefits of their product or service. However, while explanation is essential, it alone may not be enough to inspire lasting engagement or loyalty.

"The superior teacher demonstrates"

A superior marketer goes a step further by demonstrating the value of their offering through tangible examples, case studies, or demonstrations. They show rather than tell, allowing prospects to see firsthand how their solution can address their pain points or achieve their goals. This hands-on approach builds credibility and trust, making the message more compelling and persuasive.

"And the great teacher inspires"

Finally, the pinnacle of marketing excellence lies in inspiring action and fostering emotional connections with the audience. A great marketer doesn't just impart information; they ignite passion, instill confidence, and inspire individuals to take the desired next steps. Whether through storytelling, testimonials, or visionary messaging, they evoke powerful emotions that resonate deeply with their audience, driving them to become advocates and loyal supporters of the brand.

How can we embed creativity into such a templated industry?

1 - Put your customer at the center of the business

At its core, infusing creativity into the IT industry begins with a customer-centric approach. This goes beyond surface-level understanding and requires a deep dive into the needs, pain points, and aspirations of your target audience. By putting yourself in the shoes of your customers and truly empathizing with their challenges, you can uncover insights that pave the way for more impactful marketing strategies.

This customer-centric mindset must permeate every aspect of the business, from policies and processes to initiatives, messaging, channels, visualizations, and communications. It's about creating an ecosystem where every interaction with the customer is thoughtful, personalized, and designed to deliver value at every touchpoint.

2 - Understand your customer journey

To effectively embed creativity into the IT industry, it's crucial to understand the customer journey inside and out. This involves mapping out the various touchpoints and interactions that customers have with your brand, from initial awareness to post-purchase support. By gaining a holistic view of the customer journey, you can identify opportunities for innovation and tailor your marketing efforts to meet the evolving needs of your audience at each stage.

Moreover, don't limit your understanding to just your immediate customers. Take the time to delve into the intricacies of your customers' customers as well. By understanding their business values, initiatives, and challenges, you can position yourself as a strategic partner rather than just a vendor, fostering deeper relationships and driving mutual success.

3 - Storify your customer journey

One powerful way to infuse creativity into the IT industry is by leveraging the art of storytelling. Rather than simply presenting facts and figures, craft narratives that resonate with your audience on a deeper level. Storify your customers' journeys, casting them or their customers as the heroes and portraying your supporting team as the side heroes who helped them achieve their goals.

By highlighting real-life success stories and showcasing the tangible impact of your solutions, you can create a compelling narrative that captures the imagination and inspires action. Whether through case studies, testimonials, or interactive content, storytelling allows you to connect with your audience on an emotional level, building trust and loyalty in the process.

CMO Convo | Cultural flexibility for marketing creativity | Bob Sherwin
In marketing, new technologies are always emerging that change the game. New platforms appear that can shake things up. Fresh strategies can bring new perspectives. But there’s one constant that remains essential for marketers to succeed: being able to tap into creativity. So it’s pretty dang important for CMOs to

Bottom line

Infusing creativity into the IT industry is not just about adopting trendy marketing tactics or flashy visuals. It's about fundamentally reimagining the way we engage with our audience, placing them at the center of our business, and leveraging the power of storytelling to drive meaningful connections and engagement. By embracing this customer-centric mindset and weaving compelling narratives throughout the customer journey, we can differentiate ourselves in a crowded market and build lasting relationships with our audience.


Q: How do you create a marketing strategy for an IT company?

A: To craft an effective marketing strategy for an IT company, you must embrace creativity and put your customers at the core. Merely relaying information or touting features is no longer enough in today's crowded marketplace. You need to inspire action and forge emotional connections with your audience.

Start by gaining a deep understanding of your target customers - their needs, pain points, aspirations, and the challenges they face. Immerse yourself in their world and view your solutions through their lens. This customer-centric mindset should permeate every aspect of your business, from messaging to processes and initiatives.

Next, map out the entire customer journey, identifying every touchpoint and interaction your prospects have with your brand. This holistic view allows you to uncover opportunities to innovate and tailor your marketing efforts to meet evolving needs at each stage seamlessly.

But it doesn't stop there. Go a step further and delve into the intricacies of your customers' customers. By understanding their business values, initiatives, and struggles, you can position yourself as a strategic partner rather than just a vendor – fostering deeper, more meaningful relationships that drive mutual success.

Now, it's time to harness the power of storytelling. Craft compelling narratives that resonate emotionally, casting your customers as the heroes and your team as the supporting cast that helps them triumph. Leverage real-life success stories, case studies, and interactive content to bring these narratives to life, captivating your audience and inspiring them to take action.

Remember, infusing creativity into IT marketing is not about flashy tactics or trendy visuals. It's about reimagining how you engage with your audience, placing them at the center of everything you do, and weaving compelling stories throughout the customer journey. By embracing this mindset, you can forge lasting connections, differentiate yourself in a crowded market, and drive sustained growth for your IT business.

Q: Why does the IT industry need creative marketing?

A: The IT industry has long been plagued by a lack of creativity in its marketing and communications efforts. All too often, we see IT messaging that is dry, formulaic, and devoid of emotional resonance – oscillating between bland color palettes and stock imagery of professionals in corporate attire or tech icons.

The numbers speak for themselves: According to research from LinkedIn's B2B Institute, a staggering 76.7% of B2B ads were rated a mere 1 out of 5 on creativity, with only 0.5% achieving a rating of 4 or higher. This lack of creative excellence is a major missed opportunity.

You see, creativity in marketing is not just about aesthetics or flashy tactics. It has a direct, measurable impact on sales effectiveness and market share. Powerful creative can be 10 to 20 times more effective in driving sales than mediocre creative efforts.

The efficacy of creativity can be seen in a three-step process: Effective Creativity leads to increased Extra Share of Voice (ESOV), which in turn drives higher Share of Market (SOM), ultimately fueling brand growth.

Moreover, in the IT industry, where buyers are often risk-averse and tend to stick with well-known brands or existing vendors, creativity is essential for breaking through that wall of familiarity. To earn the trust of new prospects, you must connect with them on both a rational and emotional level through compelling storytelling and messaging.

As the adage goes, "The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates, and the great teacher inspires." Applying this wisdom to marketing, a mediocre approach merely relays information, while a good marketer explains the benefits. But to truly captivate and engage your audience, you must demonstrate the value of your offering through tangible examples and case studies, and ultimately inspire them to take action through emotionally resonant narratives.

In today's crowded marketplace, a lack of creativity in IT marketing is akin to delivering a lecture without engaging or tailoring the content to your audience's interests. It fails to capture attention, drive meaningful action, or foster lasting loyalty.

The IT industry must embrace creativity as a strategic imperative – not just a superficial tactic. By putting customers at the center, deeply understanding their journeys, and weaving compelling stories into every interaction, IT marketers can forge powerful emotional connections, differentiate their brands, and drive sustained growth.

Creativity works best in collaboration, so if you need a bit of help injecting creativity into your marketing, there's no better place than the CMO Alliance Community Slack. This global network of marketing leaders is the perfect place to share and discuss ideas.

Join them today for free.