November 20th, 2011
Any industry worth watching needs some numbers to track its progress. We follow two reports which are now into their third year or longer. Greg Shanahan’s TIN200 report covers the top line results of NZ’s biggest technology companies and does a grand job of providing the numbers behind the headlines to promote the sector.
Total revenue for the 100 largest is now $7B with forecast growth of 5%. See NZ Herald’s summary here: NZ’s big tech firms rise above the gloom.
The report covers a broad range of technology sectors across hi-tech manufacturing, ICT and biotech. Pursuit’s sweet spot, ICT, grew revenue by 13%.
New this year is the inclusion of sales and marketing expenditure, but for a more detailed picture of trends in this area I look to another established tracker, Market Measures, published by Owen Scott at Concentrate in Christchurch.
Concentrate’s study of 158 tech companies says that although growth and export focus is back on the increase, these firms cut back on sales and marketing spend in the last year, from 40% to 30% of revenue. It identifies four sales and marketing attributes demonstrated by the fastest growing companies:
1. FOCUS: sold a lower number of core products into a lower number of sectors.
2. LEARN: understand their market, rating themselves strongly on the ability to research and learn key aspects of their target markets.
3. PARTNER: are effectively using channel partners to sell and support their products.
4. PROMOTE: are actively promoting their business, particularly public relations, direct marketing and social media.
While it’s always good to read about firms linking growth to effective spending on public relations, it is point number 2 that really resonates. One of our core services is helping technology companies articulate their positioning and messaging. B2B communications have to be grounded in the needs of the audiences and it’s really obvious when companies don’t deeply understand the pain points they are promising to address. When firms are trying to cover multiple geographies market insights are often thin at best. Tech companies, especially those directing their international marketing communications from NZ, need to unlock the customer insights from sales teams and partners in market to ensure they connect effectively with their audiences.