Thursday, December 16, 2010

Irrelevant, Unsupportable, Inane

Apparently I'm not the only one calling out MABUSHI these days.  David Meerman Scott, of 'The New Rules of Marketing & PR' and Web Ink Now fame, eviscerated a company last week on their truly awful PR spam.  More power to you, David!

Continuing on that theme, I am highlighting the MABUSHI of this company, who are posting it in 10-foot high letters on the side of their building.

The first commenter who can correctly identify this company will get a $5 Starbucks gift card.

What's worse, just underneath this bit is yet another tag line which does a really good job of describing what they do and  for whom.

Let's break this MABUSHI down into its component parts:
Focused: On what? How do I know they are focused on the right thing?
Unwavering: Does that mean they won't listen to customers? Does that mean they won't change course even in light of overwhelming facts to the contrary?
Dedicated: To what?  Are they so focused, unwavering and dedicated to their business model that they will fail to pick up on significant changes in the industry or new market opportunities?

And then looking at this from the big picture: What does ANY of this have to do with telling someone about the value of their company or why anyone would care?  I strongly suspect that no one bothered talking to customers, prospects and other industry wags to develop this statement.  It reads more like something executive management put together to boost morale.

The following blogs aren't companies, per se, but their tag lines all do a beautifully effective job in quickly conveying their value and relevance to the reader:

Web Ink Now: Marketing and Leadership Strategies
Rocket Watcher: Product Marketing for Startups
Scoutmaster Musings: there's no tag line, just the name conveys everything it needs to convey.

Simple, clear and relevant.

That's how it should be done. Yes, it is hard.  No, it's not impossible.  Look at the core value of what your company does and just say it as simply as you can.  Please.

Next up: This offender revealed.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Leading Providers of MABUSHI

Full Disclosure: Head colds make me grumpy and I haven't completely shaken the one I got on Thanksgiving Day so this post is a rant of things to avoid rather than a helpful how-to discussion. And, no, The Cranky Product Manager did not write this post.

I was looking at the exhibitor list for the recent Enterprise 2.0 conference in Santa Clara and discovered a veritable goldmine of MABUSHI.  I read each company's description of themselves and was amazed at how many "leading providers" of the same thing there are.  I was also gobsmacked at how many other descriptions were so unintelligible that I had no idea what they did.

Here are just a few examples of how companies described themselves, along with my snarky response:
  • the leading provider of purpose-built innovation software connecting employees, customers and business partners for idea management and innovation discovery.
    • Did they use a gobbledygook generator to write this?
  • a global leader in Business Execution Software.
    • Why would I want to execute a business?
  • the leader in enterprise-class, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions for managing global businesses, combining the lower cost of SaaS with a modern approach to applications. 
    • Try reading this one out loud - remember to breathe
  • the leading European provider of Enterprise Social Software.  
    • But I'm not European
  • gives your workforce a simple way share ideas and issues and seek feedback from the most qualified people in your organization
    • Isn't that called 'listening'?
  • leads the Social BI market, bridging the gap between traditional business intelligence and enterprise social network applications.
    •  I didn't know businesses were intelligent
  • the leading provider of social software, services, and analytics that improve business performance.
    • Didn't I just read that somewhere else?
  • the leading provider of Enterprise Activity Stream software.
    • Doesn't anyone follow?
  • a new mode of online communication.
    • First it was email, then IM, then blogging, then Twitter, I can't keep up with all these newfangled modes of online communication.
  • is an interactive design and solution integration firm delivering innovative solutions in the areas of Web-Based, Enterprise wide collaboration and Social Computing. 
    • You left out 'leading provider.'
  • provides the most comprehensive Social Media Platform (SMP) designed to help organizations socially enable their traditional business functions while enhancing their users experience online. 
    • Huh?
 I'm not making this stuff up.  All these phrases were cut and pasted directly from the Enterprise 2.0 web site. 

What's wrong with these people?  Go back to my post on Self-Selection or my post on MABUSHI testing.  Read (and take on board) ANYTHING that April Dunford has written,especially the first 20 minutes of this presentation on marketing.  Download the Pragmatic Marketing Effective Product Marketing materials and go through the exercises.  Something, anything that shows you understand what you do, who your customers are, why they should care.  Then write it in ONE SENTENCE and use language that real humans can understand. 

Just to show I'm not a complete grinch, one company, TriNet got it right. Hit it out of the park, actually.  Here's their self-description:
  • TriNet helps you, the small business entrepreneur, realize your ambitions by being your essential HR partner. 
Clean. Short. To the point. Describes exactly what they do, for whom and why. A thing of beauty.
Congratulations to TriNet for understanding how to talk to their customers and not talk about themselves!

 Next time: More Grumpiness - in 10-foot letters.