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“Godless Barbarians At The Gates of IT” – A New IT Buyer?

Recently I read an article called “Godless Barbarians at The Gates of IT” by Ryan Skinner from a UK-based agency called Velocity Partners.

In the article, Ryan talks about how consumerization, the cloud and the real-time needs of startups are creating such a high rate of new technology adoption that it is out-pacing our ability as marketers to react and respond, let alone get ahead with effective strategies.

The author proposes that “the Enterprise IT market may have left us Enterprise IT marketers behind…”

Here’s a review and my take but I would love to hear your thoughts…

The argument goes like this:

  • Companies have sprung up in just the last few years that allow users to buy software services over the cloud directly. One example cited is Dropbox, which I use on my personal PC to synchronize and backup photos, music I’ve licensed and other important documents across multiple devices. He cited another example of a company called Karmaspehere which allows users to by Business Intelligence to massive data sets and you can purchase access by the hour.
  • IT innovations like in-memory computing, cloud computing and the consumerization of IT are well documented, this is about a whole new buyer or new “persona” that most IT marketers ignore
  • The author calls these buyers the “Godless barbarians” who navigate the buying journey with significant differences than the traditional IT buyer.

The emergence of this new buyer has come to fruition in stages:

  1. The consumerization of IT has largely been a story about hardware and software vendors and subtle references to “consumer” wants and needs but little definition of the new buying paradigm
  2. The “Barbarians” are causing a groundswell because, the author says “they’re using Mailchimp. Basecamp. YouSendit. WordPress. Smallworlders. Workday. Wildfire. Because they work.And because you can buy them off the shelf and start using them tomorrow.”
  3. They consist of impatient, competitive, frustrated, skeptical, confident and liberated enter-preneurs who expect to see value from a service at the moment of purchase.
  4. Companies marketing to them are increasingly understanding the new “consumerprise era where consumer simplicity meets enterprise power.”
  5. The marketing formula includes social media and online tactics such as credits when you “sign up a friend” (this is how I found Dropbox) but the author also states that companies who gain IT’s approval may move more quickly to adoption.

The Call-To-Arms

The author concludes this first in a series of articles by advising us enterprise IT marketers to target the Godless Barbarians, not the traditional IT buyer. To allow the barbarians to pick up and use your cloud solutions easily, to make products that barbarians want to sneak into their companies, to develop for mobile and to focus on the Godless Barbarian persona in your marketing efforts.

My View…

covered Velocity over a year ago when they gave me access to their B2B Marketing Manifesto. And here they are again, stoking the provocative nerve of B2B Marketers.

I read this article last week and it’s taken me this long to process it. I told Doug Kessler, Velocity’s Creative Director that this article “scared me” when I first read it. Not because I disagree, but because I don’t believe most of us are ready for the implications.

But I intuitively agree with these conclusions and think we need to start getting ready… Today!

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