“Fortune 500 CIO” is Not a Target Market – A Conversation with Bob Wright

I’ve had the pleasure of watching Bob Wright conduct messaging workshops with clients, and there is no-one better in my view at helping companies hone their message and strategy. Bob has worked with more than 100 technology companies during his career, and is currently Managing Director at Firebrick Consulting, a firm devoted to helping technology companies drive revenue growth.

Recently Firebrick released a white paper: ““Fortune 500 CIO” is Not a Target Market” that offers a unique perspective and insight on what Bob and his team perceive to be a common mistake made by technology companies seeking to target top IT executives as part of their demand generation and go to market strategies. In a recent conversation, I asked him to share some of his thoughts on the topic.

(HS) Why is it a mistake to treat CIOs as one homogeneous group?

(BW) For many B2B tech companies, the CIO has moved to the forefront as the important buyer or gatekeeper for IT spend. In our experience successfully positioning a number of high-profile tech companies to this buyer, we believe the market is looking at this situation through the wrong lens. Treating CIOs as if they are a single, homogenous market is a ridiculously expensive and inefficient way to build relationships and market/sell tech solutions to this audience. For example, the way you message and sell a “Change Agent” CIO versus a “Cost-Cutting” CIO is very different.

(HS) How has the role of the CIO changed? What are the market trends driving that change?

(BW) The role of the CIO has become a high-wire act. The convergence of recent inflection points such as Social, Mobile, Cloud, Big Data, and IT Consumerization has created enormous opportunities for CIOs to add value and drive their businesses forward. At the same time, the transition from infrastructure to services-based IT organizations has massive ramifications for how IT is organized. The breakdown of traditional IT organizational silos is creating a lot of friction and disruption within IT.

Simultaneously, the consumerization of IT and the ubiquity of mobile technologies is creating new pressures on IT organizations to meet different user expectations. The convergence of these trends along with the volume of data that must be secured, stored and made available to the business is creating a data management nightmare for many IT executives. As a result, there’s a broad range of different ways that CIOs are responding – resulting in a distinction between CIOs and the advent of different buyer segments – each with different motivations, objectives and problems.

(HS) What makes one CIO different from the next, and how should technology companies tailor their message accordingly?

(BW) CIOs are responding to these market trends with a broad range of different responses. We have identified four distinct CIO buyer segments, each with their own motivations, challenges and personas. This has big ramifications for technology companies and how they specifically target, message and enable the sale org to engage the CIO buyer. We’ve categorized CIOs into 4 distinct buyer types: the Strategist, the Change Agent, the Maintainer, and the Early Adopter. The tech companies that are driving revenue growth and are the most successful at engaging this audience understand these distinctions, narrow their target accordingly, and position their solutions in a way that resonates with the CIO buyer that’s a best fit for their company and solution.

(HS) Thanks Bob!

To download a copy of Firebrick’s white paper: “”Fortune 500 CIO” is Not a Target Market,” click here.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *