Marketing Lessons for the Non-marketer
Let me start this by saying that I'm not a marketer. I'm a SQL Server geek who is probably a real marketer's worst nightmare. If my phone rings I assume it's a recruiter or sales person, so I won't answer it. I make it a point of pride not to click on internet ads or links in email spam. Every email that is not from friends or coworkers is spam, whether I signed up for it or not.
The twist is, a little over 2 years ago I accepted the challenge of managing software products designed to help people just like me. I work with real marketers every day, and I've learned from them. I've mixed that with other life lessons, and I'm sharing some of it here in hopes that someone else can get a jump-start.
This seems so elementary, but I believe this will be an issue until the end of time. You've built a townhouse, but you want to market a castle.
The lesson here is to market exactly what you've built. Your product teams intended to build a townhouse. Lots of people love townhouses. Even if you reach the audience that wants a castle, they are not fools, and they will see that it's a townhouse anyway. That will send them away, or worse, create false leads that will waste time for your sales team, and for those people that are still out there looking for castles. Worst of all, you probably missed a ton of people who were looking for a townhouse in the meantime.
This one was tough for me. I tend to be very chatty when I write. I lean toward adornment of what my mind tells me are very clever words.
Keeping it simple doesn't mean you can't be clever, but adding words for the sake of more or bigger words just makes you sound pretentious. It can also make you seem overly "corporate". If your audience is someone like me, corporate and pretentious are things you don't want.
There are appropriate places to go into rich detail, like in your product sheets, or in feature descriptions. Otherwise, save people time by getting right to the point. What are you selling? Who is it for? What value does it provide? In most cases, regardless of the product, those questions can each be answered in one sentence.
I can, and likely will, write another post later about delivering on your product promise, but remember we're talking about marketing here.
Tricky ad placement, click-bait, and ridiculous contests with no winners are all infuriating constructs of the age of information. These things all happen because of how ads work. You can pay or get paid for each click, and you can pay or get paid for impressions. Those are very real reasons for people to get clicks and impressions by any means necessary.
If you advertise some value in exchange for a click, you need to deliver on your promise. If we place an ad that says you will learn how to troubleshoot using waits *click here*, you can trust that you will be placed on a quality article written by someone who knows what they are doing, and that article will teach you about troubleshooting using wait statistics.
I'm a firm believer that a person's time is the most valuable asset they have, and an ad click does not represent the fraction of a second it takes to click. It represents a shift in their current focus, anticipation of whatever was promised, and an additional time investment to collect on the promise. If you don't deliver on the promise, you are the worst kind of thief, having stolen that person's most valuable asset.