Your Customer Won’t Tell You This, So I Will
A long time ago, I received a fantastic piece of advice from a marketing expert. Lynda advised me to make the content I create interesting and entertaining. Her exact words were, “Bill, your marketing needs to fully reflect who you are. It must be relevant and interesting and deemed as time well spent. You are a wise ass. Use it in your writing.” What caused her to give me that advice was simple, the marketing material I was creating with boring. It was accurate. It had lots of figures and a few graphs. But, she told me, it should also come with a warning label: “Do not read while operating heavy machinery.” It sucked. Ever since then, I have let my inner voice (the snarky one) operate the keyboard. Include now, obviously.
No one will tell you if your marketing material sucks. It is virtually impossible—as I found out recently when I tried—to politely and professionally and with all good intention inform someone what they have sent you to review is, well, horrible, boring, and not worth the time to read (especially if no one asked you for opinion). But damage will be done and future messages will be ignored or avoided or blocked.
The next time you put together a flyer or a white paper or a promotional video, keep the ratio between information, quality, and length proportionate. That is, if the message you have to share is not exciting, be brief. There is no need to use a thousand words to torture the customer when your boring message can be delivered in 100. Conversely, don’t be afraid to stretch your legs a bit on a subject you know will be of interest and is well written. If you are proud of it, chances are the intended audience will be interested, provided the piece has one more key factor: a credible voice.
Good marketing happens when the recipient deems the message to be of value and they relate. This occurs, in part, when its creators have some chops in that area. You want to say to someone, We get you. We’ve solved your problems for others. Trust us.
Don’t let your marketing be created by someone whose bio does not scream, “Expert.” It’s like when someone with a background in Operations tries to tell a sales rep how to sell. The message cannot be heard unless the messenger has the word, “Sales,” on a resume.
Your goal is to be seen as the expert in the challenges the intended audience is facing. Do that or, well, let me put it this way…
If Mark Twain were writing this blog, he would end with, “Better to send nothing and be deemed not credible than to create something that removes all doubt.”
Bill Farquharson is a sales coach and trainer. He can be reached at 781-934-7036 or firstname.lastname@example.org