Wednesday, September 29, 2010

MABUSHI Before, Good Marketing After

A quick definition of 'Good Marketing' before I begin.  Your marketing, bullet points, collaterals, etc. are good when your sales team uses them, customers understand them by asking for more or buying your stuff, your sales cycle shortens, you win more competitive deals, your funnel is more efficient.  There's a measurable improvement over what you did previously.  Passing the four tests (and the additional one @productmarketer suggested) is just the first step.  Market validation is the real measure of good over bad.
So let's review the MABUSHI phrases from last time and look at some ways to improve them:
Fourth Generation Data Cloud
To be honest, I have NO idea what the product manager wanted to say with this.  If you do, please let me know.  Instead of focusing on some nebulous feature that sounds impressive, think how that feature is going to either impact your target persona's business or how it differentiates from your competitors.  If your use of the cloud gives you real time threat updates, say that in a way that is meaningful and why. 
Here's a suggested alternative:
Real-time threat detection protects your users from harmful sites immediately and automatically
Of course, your buyer persona document tells you that he doesn't want to spend time ensuring his web filtering database is current.  He hates disinfecting users’ computers that are infected by compromised web sites because it takes too much time away from more important tasks.  Protecting his users and cutting his administrivia/fire-fighting time is what is important, not the cloud.  The cloud is HOW you do it, not the WHAT you do.  How you do something is interesting.  What you do impacts his day, bonus, operations.
Here's another doozie.  Try saying this in one breath:
Innovation Leader in providing Mission Critical Software Solutions to the Global Alternative Asset Community since 1993
Here's what's wrong: a) EVERYONE is a leading innovator in their segment - just check every software vendors About Us page, they'll tell you, b) Is Innovation what your persona values the most?, c) EVERYONE delivers mission-critical solutions, and d) unless you already knew you were part of the Alternative Asset Community, you'd have no idea if this company was for you. I didn't - I had to look it up.  It's software for managing the operations of private equity and venture capital firms. 
I don't know much about this space so I am going to guess at some persona characteristics: reliability, low IT requirements, flexibility, strong reporting, excellent support and vendor longevity are going to be more important than innovation. As they are stewards for other people's money, they probably don't want to be the first one into the pool for stuff like this.
Instead, an alternative could be:
Proven Private Equity and Venture Capital Management Solutions Since 1993
Yes, 'proven' has to be defended but if reliability is the top value item for your persona you at least have a shot at them asking you to prove it.  You could be really bold and not even say 'proven'.  Also, telling your segment you are for them by using language they use makes it easier for prospects to select IN and non-prospects to select OUT.  'Since 1993' shows you've sold to enough people to know what you're doing.  Newer vendors have to rely on other factors like industry experience elsewhere to prove their worth.
Is this the best phrase for them?  I'd have to validate it with sales, existing customers and prospects first but at least it passes the Huh?, Spouse and Who Cares? tests.
And finally, there's this gem:
Maximum Operational Flexibility
Gack!  Did they use a buzzword generator to create that one?  If your buyer will be integrating your stuff into a number of platforms and has memory constraints to contend with and your stuff addresses that, SAY SO.  Don't make them guess what it means - they won't.
Here's another way to say this:
Tiny footprint integrates with all major platforms
It hits the personas pain points in common language and opens the discussion for "how tiny?", "how quickly does it integrate?", or, "even on Linux 2.6.35 for Cavium MIPS?"  Then you have a discussion on your hands.  Remember, your goal is to engage your prospects, not stupefy them. 
A final note on modifiers.  Modifiers like 'quickly' or 'easily' need to be defended, especially in print, so I tend to reserve their use for verbal discussions.  And I support them through testimonials from other customers.
Next up: Why sales people don’t read brochures

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