Posts Tagged ‘HP’
April 14th, 2010
Putting the “S” Back into Your Marketing Communications
I know a great many people who do excellent marketing. Ask them to write a data sheet, deliver a positioning statement, key product messages, brief an agency, customer story, etc. and they will rise to the occasion by delivering excellent work. Their messages will be prioritized and on target, the positioning will clearly differentiate their products from the competition, and the agencies will have what they need to create compelling advertising, PR, and other elements of the marketing mix.
So why am I writing this blog entry? It’s simple. Often times, the communications are missing the sizzle and snap that differentiates excellent marketing communications from best-in-class. If you eat Rice Krispies - nothing happens until put the milk on them. Then (and only then) do you hear the snap, crackle and pop. The milk is the activator of the crackling sounds. As a marketing person, this Kellogg differentiation has always fascinated me.
Likewise in marketing – something needs to be poured on the marketing communications to give it that something extra – an activator or catalyst. I call it the “S” or sizzle and snap. Others might call it the Wow factor, the Pixie Dust, the Secret Sauce. You get the idea.
Kay Ross wrote and interesting article about creating more effective marketing communications that I like a lot. At the end of the day, the role of marketing is to “sell more stuff, to more people, for more money”, said Sergio Zyman, the former CMO of Coca-Cola.
So on one hand, I think there is a bunch of tactical things you can do to improve the effectiveness of your marketing materials and communications. You can have strong calls to action, features and benefits expressed from a customer point of view. Equally important is to ensure that the products and communication strategy reinforce the strategic pillars of your company. This is especially true in PR and analyst relations. Unless you are Apple, sophisticated press does not want to hear about your products. What is more valuable to a company are communications that 1) outline the company’s strategy, 2) is explicit about the pillars of its strategy, and 3) uses products, solutions, and partnerships, alliances, acquisitions as proof points of its strategy. And in the messaging of all of this, there needs to be something tangible and sizzling to hang on to and get interested about. This is where your marketing creativity comes in.
For example at HP, we introduced the HP 1018 as the world’s smallest laser printer. While you might think that was a small story (no pun intended), improving the customer experience of the space a printer occupies on a desktop is important, which plays into the larger strategy and a proof point that HP delivers a great customer experiences.
Another example was the recent announcement by Cisco that it was improving the ability of small businesses to connect, secure, and communicate. The products, features, support, and services were the proof points of its ability to deliver on the strategy.
What doesn’t work as well? Here are Sony’s product-centric press releases.
Tie your product or services messaging and marketing collateral around your business’ strategy and strategic initiatives. The net result is that you will build more industry momentum, improve the company’s image and reputation, and educate customers who will really see the differentiation and value your products bring to the market.
Now – go out there and start sizzling!
October 16th, 2009
I am slowly getting this blog up and running – so please bear with me. The purpose of this blog is to share my experiences, observations, and best practices of over 20 years of functional marketing and general management experience at Hewlett-Packard, where I ran global marketing for both their Consumer DeskJet and PhotoSmart) and their Commercial (OfficeJet and LaserJet) printing businesses. These are some of the biggest, most successful global brands in the world. I was involved in the start of these businesses and watched them scale from nothing to over $20B. My claim to fame (if you will) was I was the original product manager that helped to create HP’s first color inkjet printers, the PaintJet Series and HP’s first large format products, the HP 7600 Series Electrostatic plotters, which we OEM’d from MCGS and improved upon. This is my second blog. My first blog was the HP LaserJet blog, which was HP’s most popular blog and had 2-3X the readership of any other executive blog in HP. It was also featured in the book “Groundswell, Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies”. In this blog, I am likely to cover a variety of topics – from product development, strategic planning, and product marketing to channel marketing, partnership, and sales-enablement related topics. I will look at multiple customer segments such as consumer, smb, and enterprise and will talk about social media and Web 2.0 marketing as one element of the marketing mix. Since there are plenty of blogs out there that focus on this, I won’t dwell on the topic as the core part of this blog’s focus.
The most important thing is that I want to engage you, the reader, in a dialog about tech marketing and tech marketing-related issues. My next blog entry will get the topics rolling. Thanks for reading and please come back again!
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