CIO 100 panellist and 'Angel of Disruption' Matt Ballantine joined CIO UK Editor Edward Qualtrough for episode six of the CIO UK podcast to discuss IT conferences, the best and worst of technology presentations, and how to engage and sell to CIOs.
Seasoned podcaster Ballantine, who works with CIOs and at the intersection of people, technology and communications with experience at global technology, media and marketing organisations, spoke about some of the problems with IT conferences and tech presentations - and importantly what technology companies can do to engage CIOs when they are talking in front of a senior group of technology executives.
Launched in January 2018, the CIO UK podcast is a monthly discussion featuring CIOs, commentators and technology executives thrashing out the key issues relevant to the UK's business and technology leaders - as well as the tangential and irreverent musings of guest CIOs.
How not to present to CIOs
Ballantine said that large tech companies and event sponsors should steer clear of pitching products and suggested doing one of three things: inviting an engaging customer to speak about their partnership, sharing a content rich thought leadership-style talk but being careful to avoid a number of tired cliches about disruption and the pace of change, or even the soft approach of simply introducing your organisation and support of the event safe in the knowledge that you won't give a bad impression and will probably even procure some intrigue in the company's involvement.
"Nobody worries at a senior level about whether your product is any good or not - that's what they've got people in their organisation to do," Ballantine said. "CIOs want to find organisations with whom they can partner who they trust.
"To prove that you know what you are talking about you need to talk about things that relate to your audience, not about things you want to sell them."
Selling to CIOs
Ballantine outlined the concept of sticky marketing - rather than trying to sell a product, which only a small percentage of people you are addressing might be in the market for, instead discuss an interesting tangential subject relevant to the whole audience to garner positive sentiment for when all of those people might be searching.
Qualtrough plugged the 2018 CIO Summit which is now open for registrations and will take place in London at the Shangri-La Hotel in The Shard on Thursday 20 September. Speakers include Morrisons Chief Technology Director Anna Barsby, Unilever CIO Jane Moran, Global Radio Director of Technology and Operations David Henderson, and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Chief Digital and Information Officer Richard Corbridge. The headline sponsors for the 2018 CIO Summit are ANS Group.