Posts Tagged ‘Messaging’
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!
March 17th, 2010
I came across this article the other day and it reminded me of how great business ideas and strategic messages often get executed in the most unusual ways. Of course, companies are always looking for ways to message and express their brands, vision, and business aspirations in their advertising and strategic messaging to stakeholders like customers and channel partners. That is what world class marketing organizations do communicate the value and attributes of their brands, products, and services. Having sat on the client side, I thought this was a humorous set of messaging gone awry. I just could not imagine approving messages like this with their hidden messages and parodies.
At a keynote address on Monday, Twitter CEO Evan Williams said the aim of his company is this:
“Be a force for good.”
TechCrunch writer Michael Arrington, who reported this quote from the South By Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, said the statement made him cringe.
Any company that’s out for profit cannot claim simply to “be a force for good,” he writes:
… it’s basically impossible to balance a profit motive with a goodness motive. And in fact the nice thing about capitalism is that everyone acting in their own self interest tends to be good for everyone else, too, if appropriate government forces are put in place to stop monopolies, pollution, etc. Being a socialist is a great way to get laid in college but it’s no way to run a society.
With that in mind, here’s our list of the five cheesiest – or otherwise bizarre – tech company mottos, slogans, mission statements and unofficial tags. Can any profit-seeking company claim to be in it for the betterment of humanity? (Ben & Jerry’s ice cream tried until investors stepped in, as NPR explains). And do they have to wear their ideals on their sleeve in such bumper-sticker fashion?
Let us know what you think in the comments section. And, without further ado, here’s the list:
Google: “Don’t be evil.” (”Star Wars,” anyone?)
Apple: “Think different.” (Like the rest of us? Part of an older ad campaign.)
Microsoft: “Your potential. Our passion.” (Well, at least they’re passionate).
Facebook: “To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” (A little long-winded for a mission statement, and doesn’t include any money-making goals).
And, of course, Twitter: “Be a force for good.” (See above).
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