Connecting Message to Market

Think about something you know about. I’m going to say automobiles. At some level—maybe it’s just at the user level or maybe it’s at the engineering level—we all know about cars. We know what they do. We know how to make them go forward and backward, turn left and right, stop, turn on the radio, and so on. When it comes to cars, we’re an expert marketplace.

Now, imagine an ad or a brochure with this kind of content:

With today’s increasingly mobile world, supported by highways and regulated by traffic signals, the need to have a car that can both accelerate and stop has become an imperative for people across the country.

You’d laugh at it wouldn’t you? Clearly, the writer didn’t understand the market. And I think it would make most people feel disconnected from the message.

Now, ask yourself: When you create your technology marketing messaging, how much of that same type of content are you delivering to your market?

I see it often in most every kind of content. I imagine you have too. Those long (usually introductory) paragraphs that describe “the state of things today.” Fifty, maybe even 100, words spelling out in dense and sonorous language exactly what the marketplace already knows. Knows as well as you know what a car does.

This wastes time, wastes content real estate, and disconnects your message from your market.

It’s OK to have a problem definition section—it’s a good way to let your market know that you know what they know. But make it real and make it specific. Don’t explain, empathize.

CIOs (just as an example) know the state of things today and they’ve read the statistics you cite. That’s not the problem you can help them solve. They have problems like staffing and training, integration, transition, hidden costs, budgeting, device management, political opposition, and so on. You want to talk to a CIO about problems—well, that’s the list that troubles them.

And that’s where your conversation with them should begin.

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