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Two weeks of innovation exhibitions: intense, but not emotional

By Tim Parrack

Why you need to differentiate

The case for differentiation…

Two monster tech shows: InfoSec at Earls Court, then off to the Docklands for the cunningly named TechXLR8, part of London Tech Week. All polished off with a visit to Computing’s Tech Marketing & Innovation Forum 2017 – which sent us home with a nice piece of silverware (well, glassware, as you’ll see a bit later 🙂

Traditional meatspace events have made a bit of a comeback over the last couple of years as lead-hungry tech marketers strive to get their wares directly in front of punters at the coalface. Infosec, in common with the market that it serves, is very established now – bigger than last year, and still growing as the sector splits into a number of sub-segments.

But while there were now 350 exhibitors vying for the attention of a few thousand delegates, we were bemused to see that most of the exhibitors failed to display any sort of differentiation. As a result, the delegates seemed to have more in common with rabbits in headlights than professional IT executives searching for the silver bullet that would solve their cybersecurity issues.

It’s not hard to see why they appeared so lost. Forget about WannaCry (so last month!) and GDPR (OMG, that’s next year!). Should I invest in identity management? Is internet protection more pressing than my firm’s mobile security? Or should I ring-fence my network first? The list of issues must appear endless.

Well, there were certainly plenty of sales folk on hand to tell you all about their wonderful products’ features. But how do you find the right vendor for your problem? Safety in numbers is not a great place when your prospect wants to know what makes you different.

Meanwhile, TechXLR8 was an opportunity for early market movers to show their wares – more technical product demos, with the vendors striving to claim leadership before their technology crossed the chasm into maturity. At this stage in their life-cycle, the tech is all they need to talk about: the shininess of these embryonic products does the talking for them – and brand marketing can wait.

Or can it?

This is a classic issue with immature markets. And our own evidence is that you can’t start too early to define your brand. So we can’t help but feel that start-ups who ignore the emotional dimension of their offering are shooting themselves in their collective feet.

So it was massively heart-warming to pitch up to Computing’s Tech Marketing & Innovation Forum 2017 and walk away with the prestigious award for Best Overall Marketing Campaign 2017 for our work with Petrotechnics.

Ahem.

Ahem.

In case you don’t know, Petrotechnics make some great software that improves efficiencies – and saves lives – for operators in hazardous industries (think oil refineries and railways). The repositioning work we did for them has really differentiated them from their competition and opened up all sorts of opportunities. It’s resulted in just the sort of campaign that would benefit many of those exhibitors at Earls Court and the Docklands, and it was great to have our work recognised by some very influential judges. Thanks to all the guys at Incisive (and the judging panel)!