Just as marketing often throws products “over the wall” to sales, development often throws products over the wall to marketing. When marketing lacks a clear understanding of the problems your product solves, the buyers they solve them for, and a clear understanding of the criteria and process those buyers use when making buying decisions marketing resorts to “Buzz Word Bingo” in hopes that something they say sticks.
Marketing’s job is to create a story that spreads.
Or as Seth Godin states “Marketing tells a story that spreads”.
Without market knowledge and a clear understanding of the problem(s) your new product or service solves the marketing message becomes one of “Gobbledygook”.
As David Meerman Scott explains on his Blog Web Ink Now, That’s how so many PR people write — using gobbledygook-laden phrases that are so overused to have become meaningless.
When marketing creates buzz words and Gobbledygook it makes your market nervous as you have not clearly stated the problem(s) you solve for them, …so they assume.( and we know what happens when we are left to assume…)
One symptom your marketing story has gone astray is the need to have specific messages that address the myths in the market that have grown due to a lack of story clarity. Your marketing efforts will move away from developing a story that resonates with the market and they will produce defensive copy like: Top Five Health Care Reform Lies—and How to Fight Back.
All of the above are signs of a solution being thrown over the wall to marketing without a clear understanding of the problems your new solution solves and marketing is playing catch up. What should have been market research and testing of messages becomes surveys to validate the need. It gets really dangerous when development asks marketing to “create a need” for this new solution they just threw over the wall.
What should we all remember about creating stories that resonate in our markets so we do not have to be defensive? Cheryl Clausen helps us understand what it takes to write a good story in her blog: How to Put Life in Your Sales .
Curiosity – Incorporate unexpected things, open a loop with an incomplete thought you have to stick around to finish
Make it about the people who buy your stuff either explicitly or implicitly
Keep it logical – Stories have a plot. Therefore, a person like the people who buy your stuff must have an urgent challenge or problem that is resolved as a result of the actions they took.
As you develop your short powerful story include these elements:
Speak to the right people
Share the right message
Tell your story the right way
Connect with people at the right time
Focus on the right reasons people want to act
It does need to:
If you find the market is struggling with the messages your marketing has created and its stories, what you are experiencing is your lack of market knowledge and the problems you solve is showing.
Chances are you are experiencing a Hasted effort to market without clearly understanding the unresolved market problems you were supposed to solve, your buyer personas, and an understanding of your buyer’s buying process.
You can keep trying to catch up and or defend yourself and your new product idea, or you can back up and spend time understanding the needs of your market.
You must stop telling and selling and start asking and listening.
In the process of doing so create buyer personas and speak to those personas in their voice. You must make your story specific to those most likely to buy.