For Short Messages, Be Specific About Value

Am I the only one who has noticed that the typical short (<25 word) marketing statement communicates almost nothing of value?

If the product is really simple, this isn’t much of an issue. I have one client who enables third-parties to build apps around their core solutions. Think iPhone apps, but my client publishes 35% of the world's scientific research data. When someone created a Genome Finder app and said that it “views and analyzes sequence data of genes,” I was happy. That’s what the app does, all it does, and this information is helpful to the buyer persona.

But the typical B2B product solves a myriad of problems, has a long list of features / benefits, and buyers really want to get some useful information from us.  Meanwhile we're  focused on other priorities such as:

  • Explaining the availability of the new features the developers spent so much time to include
  • Differentiating this product from the competition, plus other products within the same product family
  • Featuring the right key words for SEO
  • Satisfying the requirements of internal templates

Note that the priority to engage or persuade the buyer isn’t even on this list. While this would logically be the first priority, internal pressures generally weigh so heavily on the messaging process that the addition of another variable is entirely unwelcome.

So short messages usually devolve into safe summaries that neither impress nor inflame. Here are two examples I found on the web this week (from two, very large, very successful vendors for this type of solution):

Vendor #1: The ___ system delivers productivity for your people, offers flexibility for your business, and works with existing IT investments.

Vendor #2: Our ____ solutions have been tailored to fit your industry business processes, your customer strategies, and your success criteria.

I suspect that writing these statements involved countless rewrites and internal reviews by dozens of well-paid people. Then the company spent additional money buying Google ads for these products. And these were the first words I read when I clicked on the ads.

Look at these statements from the buyer's perspective, and tell me if you learned anything at all. These companies had 25 words to try to gain our attention and convince us to take the next step, and this is the best they could do? If only they’d taken the time to understand what was important to us before they wrote the first draft, it might have been their final draft.

Topics: Buyer Personas, Buying Criteria, messaging, persona marketing, Positioning & Messaging, Writing

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