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  • Writer's pictureStewart | Eleven International

The Art of Technical Marketing: Tips on Communicating Tech Data and Jargon



I must have sat down with project managers and engineers a hundred times as they introduced their company’s latest product. Together we pore over spreadsheets filled with all manner of technical details - from dimensions, weight and power draw, to specifics about memory bandwidth, performance metrics, and latency. As you can imagine, there are a lot of numbers, a lot of technical nomenclature, and more often than not, a lot of head scratching from me as I try to navigate an ocean of technical details and jargon.


The mission is to somehow devour the detailed, technical aspects of the product and somehow, transform those multiple data points into a marketing strategy that makes sense with your target audience. As you can probably guess, this kind of technical marketing isn’t always easy, which means it’s a good idea to have a solid strategy. After fifteen years or so of technical marketing, here’s my take on things.


Why so many GHz, FPS, GBs, Pixels and USB types?

Let’s start with how products come to market from an engineering perspective. Cold hard numbers are front and center of everything. If it’s USB connectivity and power draw, CPU clock speed, or display refresh rates, it’s expressed in numbers. And it’s a numbers game from day one as far as engineers are concerned. The spec sheet rules. Get used to it.


Unfortunately for us B2C marketing people, numbers are much less memorable than words and stories. A marketer’s role is to take the data and create compelling stories that consumers can relate to. Allow me to share a few examples to illustrate the point. But firstly…


Ask, how is the data relevant in this story?

The technology industry is pretty unique in that it never stands still. USB 1.0 was soon replaced by the much faster USB 2.0, then USB 3.0. CPUs and GPUs get faster, (and sometimes smaller) with each generation, while display technology continues to improve as it transitions from OLED, to LCD, to AMOLED. While most consumers just want the latest tech, the newest gear, it can at times be difficult to yet again articulate the benefits of the ‘latest generation’.


A senior marketing manager once gave me some advice about technical marketing. Advice that I still refer to today. It goes something like this:

Move past the numbers. Ask yourself, how will this product improve my life? How does it change the world?

This might sound a little abstract, but for me it really nails down the essence of what we’re trying to achieve. Technology is moving at tremendous pace, year on year with the sole purpose of improving how we live. Turning data and numbers into meaningful stories about our lives is the key to effective communication.


Here are three few examples of how we can build stories around the numbers and articulate technical detail in a more human way that resonates with consumers.


#1: 65W Charging

Let's start with an easy one. Consider the example of a modern smartphone, and the idea of 65W Charging. Firstly, most consumers don’t know how many watts are used in standard smartphone charging (usually around 5-10W btw). Technically minded people like hardware reviewers, tech enthusiasts, and of course, engineers will salivate at the idea of having that kind of charging prowess, but for most regular folk, 65W charging is mostly meaningless. Thankfully, giving it context can prove to be an easy way to create genuine meaning.


Real world example: You can go from 1% power to 80% in just 40 mins.

Elevator conversation: If you suddenly find yourself low on power at an inconvenient time, don’t worry, a decent top-up charge is just moments away.

Core concept: Less stress in your life


#2: Quad-core processor

Next up, some PC hardware. Virtually all modern computers now use multi-core architecture processors. Why? Well, back when single-core processors were the norm, processor performance was improved by pushing clock speeds ever higher. About twenty years ago it became apparent that clock speeds could no longer be pushed any further due to power and heat concerns. The solution? Design processors with more than one core!

It took a while for software to catch up and take advantage of multi-core design (hence the birth of multi-threaded apps and OSes), but today core-count and clock speed are the main two factors that determine performance. Should I tell my mother she needs a laptop with a quad-core processor for her video editing? Does she care about core-count?


Real world example: Edit a HD movie on your laptop while simultaneously listening to a podcast or watching a YouTube video to guide you.

Elevator conversation: Having more CPU cores available for heavy duty tasks such as video editing means you can multitask without any discernible drop in performance.

Core concept: Get more done in your day.


#3: 16GB GDDR6X

Staying with PC hardware, let’s consider a consumer making a graphics card purchase and some of the more technical decisions involved. The latest gaming cards from Nvidia are the RTX 4000 series, a largely meaningless name indicating to the hardcore gamer that the GPU is based on the latest Lovelace architecture - i.e. it’s the new stuff.


Say for example you have your sights set on an Nvidia RTX 4060 Ti card; it turns out there are two variants. One version that has 8GB of GDDR6X memory (or VRAM), and another more expensive version with 16GB. How do we articulate the notion that more memory is worth the extra dollars, except to say that well… more is better?


The long story is that graphics cards have their own, fast memory sub-system because the GPU needs fast data transfer speeds to adequately create and manipulate thousands of frames of smooth gameplay. The memory also provides the GPU with access to textures, shadows, 3D depth information and as well as the raw data required for each frame.


If the GPU runs out of memory, it causes delays, which results in lower frame rates and even lag, ruining the gameplay. If this happens, you will eventually be forced to lower the image quality settings of the game, a serious affront to any PC gamer.


Real world example: Having a card with more GBs of VRAM allows you to get the most from the GPU which can then perform better in the latest gaming titles.

Elevator conversation: A 16GB card lets you crank up the graphics settings without fear.

Core concept: You’re gonna have more fun with a 16GB card.

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Technological progress is measured not only in numbers, but also in the manner that it impacts our lives. Finding the right story to convey the advantages of the latest tech is a constant quest for all tech marketers, but thankfully, it can also be kind of cool.

We hope these tips help you to more effectively communicate the next specification sheet to arrive on your desk. Good luck, and remember to have fun!

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