In this era of subtweets, subtext has seemingly become paramount in our culture. Whether it’s athletes subtweeting their teammates, or musicians lashing out at their competitors, the delicate dance with language of what’s really being said has never been more forefront in our society.
When it comes to technology marketing, there’s a long history of the implied being as important as what is actually stated. Throughout technological history, and more generally with sales and marketing across all industries, there are meta-patterns that define the communication and are driven by the implicit rather than the explicit. For most products, what you’re really selling customers is not the product itself, but money. And it’s money in one of two forms: either your product is going to save your customers money, or it’s going to help them make more of it.
In fact, it’s rare that you see any business actually buy something that will not do one of these two things — aside from art in office lobbies, most businesses are not interested in purchasing products solely for pleasure or style.
When this type of sales strategy is looked at from a marketing perspective, the product itself is still not central. The perspective become translated into making claims about money. For instance, Our product has these value claims, which will save you money. Or Our product will enable you to make money in these ways.
Based on this schema, you could easily play a game of MadLibs with most sales and marketing materials for technology products over the past 50 years. If you looked at the history of claims made for business technology, you could substitute the name of a product from 40 years ago with one from 20 or 10 years ago, and the copy would still work because the marketing content is using a traditional template based on selling a value claim about how the product would affect your bottom line.
As CEO of a B2B technology marketing company, I meet with lots of companies and see copious examples of marketing, both good and bad. And I always feel that it’s a warning sign when I meet with clients, and we look over the marketing of their competitors, or just other technology products in general, and come to the conclusion that similar claims and language are being used across the board. I view this as portentous because in my experience, products, even in competing spaces, seldom work the same way. My advice is that if you see similar messaging for a product that’s dissimilar to yours, you need to question to what extent your messaging is conveying your unique value. Because, to put it simply, the answer is that it’s not.
At Evolved Media, we believe the marketing content we create should help our clients stand out. Banal messaging isn’t the way to do this. For us, the only way to achieve unique messaging is through #content marketing that’s done from a #product marketing perspective.
What I mean by that is that the product should be the center of attention in your marketing. Product marketing is at the intersection of marketing, sales, and the product itself. If you create content marketing from a product marketing perspective, you’re infusing your message with your unique value proposition and how it creates value for a user. And this is a kind of value that can be counted in more than just dollars.
It’s true that at the top of funnel you may want some marketing content that is not as heavily infused with a product-first message. There’s nothing wrong with that. But it’s also possible to do top of funnel marketing that is more specific and can generate interest based on the differentiating capabilities of your product. When you focus on the product itself, you express how customers can quickly gain value from it, and they more easily grasp why your product is unlike anything else on the market.
But it’s really with middle and bottom of the funnel marketing where it’s best to talk about your product in earnest. You can only do this if you are working with a marketing team that truly understands your product and what it brings to the table. That’s what we focus our attention on at Evolved Media — understanding the products of our clients as deeply as possible. We do this because it’s effective. We do this because I was a CTO and have experience building and using products. We do this because of our staff’s collective experience in discussing products in the creation of more than 25 books.
I like to say that we are product whisperers because showcasing our clients’ products is all that we do. We understand products. And therefore, when we do content marketing, we keep the product in mind so we can animate our messages with your unique value proposition. This is better for everyone in the long run. Your product assumes its rightful place as the star and you avoid the broad generalizations that are so easy to find in most content marketing. Additionally, having product-first marketing leads potential customers more quickly to understanding whether your product is right for their needs or not.
That’s why I believe content marketing should come from a product marketing angle. If you want to create a sophisticated, singularly compelling understanding of your product and its value with customers, you have to keep the product at the forefront so they can see why it will make their lives better.
Become a product marketing master