In marketing technology, it often pays to curb your enthusiasm a little and give your customers a chance to catch up.
Under the pressure and excitement of bringing a new technology product or service to the marketplace, it’s easy to forget that:
(a) Your customer understands the field but has no knowledge about this particular product or service. Marketing materials that jump right in with new acronyms and concepts leave even the best-educated and most experienced customer baffled.
(b) Your customer has heard it before (“user friendly, affordable, state-of-the-art”). To differentiate your product or service from the competition’s, provide those details that show user friendliness, affordability and innovation. Instead of vague adjectives and adverbs, give specific answers to the questions customers ask most often: How much training is involved? What savings does the technology achieve? What benchmarks does it meet?
(c) Your customer’s goals differ from yours. You are celebrating an advance in technology (“our new robotic packaging system includes a PC-based control system, barcode printer, grippers, fixtures…”). Customers want to know what your technology will do for them (“maintain zero tolerance for error and keep up with stringent government regulations”). Focus on your customer’s goals first.
(d) Even high-tech customers appreciate a good story. Make your point through a success story, testimonial or photograph and you’ll keep the customer’s attention longer.
(e) Your customer has to fit your technology into an existing context, including limitations in space, resources and time. Acknowledge that context (“a closet-like room is not the ideal data center but for some companies that’s the best available”). Provide information that helps the customer see your product in the customer’s world.
(f) Customers suffer information overload. Be careful before you spend limited marketing space on an aspect of the technology that is invisible to your customer—even if that aspect is amazing—and avoid dividing one marketing message between a dozen products and services the customer might (or might not) be interested in. Too much information will overwhelm your customer and delay a decision.
When you are marketing a new technology, it might help to think of yourself as a teacher. A great teacher builds slowly on what students already know, gives them information they cannot find elsewhere, shows them how a new concept works, keeps them engaged, gives them hands-on experience and paces lessons carefully. Enthusiasm is wonderful in a teacher, but not if it leaves the students struggling alone with material they haven’t yet mastered.
Sharon Bailly, founder of TWP Marketing & Technical Communications (www.twriteplus.com), has helped high-tech companies communicate with customers in the software, computer, oil & gas, medical products, pharmaceutical, healthcare and construction industries. For more technical writing information, visit her blog at www.nhbusinessblog.com.