UK Tech Leaders Pulse: A positive 2021 outlook


The last quarter of 2020 saw the launch of Diffusion’s new Enterprise Technology Division, and with it some intriguing new insights into how the year’s events changed UK technology leaders’ approach to marketing communications.  Following on from our previous blog, UK Technology Leaders Pulse: A Look Back at 2020, let’s take a closer look at what B2B tech leaders say about how 2020’s events are impacting their marketing communications plans for the coming year.

Comms at the forefront of recovery

According to our findings, comms is set to play a crucial role in enterprise technology this year, with CEOs in particular saying that customer acquisition and post-Covid recovery are the most important business goals for marketing communications to support in the coming months.

Sales enablement (33%), brand positioning and messaging (29%) and social media (28%) were highlighted as priorities for additional investment, suggesting technology leaders are looking to take an increasingly cross-channel approach to their communications in order to address 2021’s unique challenges – and are investing accordingly.

Closing the sales gap

As lines between B2B and B2C technology continue to blur and home-bound business audiences’ expectations and perspectives become ever more consumerised, effective collaboration and integration between PR, marketing and sales will be key to enterprise tech’s ongoing survival and success in 2021.

We expect to see enterprise tech communicators redouble their efforts in driving sales outcomes through PR and marketing this year, with the leaders we spoke to highlighting sales enablement as number one priority for additional marcomms investment in 2021. PR and sales leaders agreed that their organisations perform weaker when it comes to driving sales leads than any other communications metric, suggesting that while lead generation is becoming a higher priority there is work to be done to drive tangible results.

According to our data, over half (55%) of Sales Directors believe more investment should go into sales enablement next year, followed by 45% who say brand positioning/messaging is a priority. Only 18% Sales Directors said content creation, crisis/issues and driving sales leads were priorities.

Shift in priorities?

Our data suggests that while they are still an important part of the marcomms mix, more ‘traditional’ PR elements such as crisis and issues management and media relations may take a back seat to other comms approaches in terms of additional investment this year.

Crisis and issues management (11%) is least likely to be prioritised by CEOs in importance to the business in 2021, and interestingly Heads of PR are the least likely of any job title to agree that this area requires more investment (8% vs 17% average). Interestingly, no Heads of PR identified protecting reputation as most important, compared to 14% Heads of Marketing.

As we noted in our previous blog, “anyone working in media relations over the past year knows that the landscape has altered significantly. In fact, 99% of UK enterprise technology leaders say that their organisation’s relationship with the media has changed during the Covid-19 crisis.”

While media coverage sits lowest on the list of priorities for CEOs (13%) and CMOs (19%) when it comes to additional investment, enterprise technology firms will still need to ensure that their approach to media relations has made the transition following the huge shifts in the media landscape. Whether they will succeed in this mission – as the landscape continues to evolve – remains to be seen.

Sound familiar?

We’d love to hear your thoughts! Drop our Head of Enterprise Technology, Lucie Bickerdike, an email: [email protected]