I just had the pleasure of spending 2 days helping a client jointly with my good friend and colleague Tom Grubb.  Tom, and the company he co-founded, Digital Pi, may be the most skilled marketing automation people on the planet, among other things, Tom used to run all of product marketing for Marketo, and the business he helps to run is growing beyond belief.  In today’s world, whether you are selling anything from the latest cloud big data analytics automation security product, and who isn’t :), OR industrial supplies, if you don’t have a well oiled, tuned and managed digital marketing machine running, you will not win.

However, as Tom noted eloquently to me on the plane and then blogged about here, many of the clients he works with could really use a fresh look at their messaging.  Because great messaging is the high test fuel that makes the content that the marketing automation machine depends on meaningful, relevant and successful.  Without good fuel, the best machine is subject to knocks, stalls and eventual breakdowns.

At least that was true until today, when scientists announced they have discovered the elusive gravitywave predicted by Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.  This changes everything. Well, not really.  Unless you are a nuclear physicist, then the entire context of your world view has changed.  And on the off chance that your customers are the nuclear physicists of the world, you better understand that. Because if you are trying to sell a product or service to them, and you are talking about the world before this discovery, you will lack the correct context to chat with them, and they will probably not want to listen.  But, if you can sell them a thing that can help them harness this discovery to better their lives, GET ON IT!.

OK, this is a kinda silly example, BUT, you’d be surprised how messaging fails in this precise way everyday.  B2B marketers are way too often out of touch with the reality of their customers.  They either assume that they know it, or they knew it and it changed.  In a world where B2B buyers want vendors to teach them something before they sell them something, this is a fatal flaw.

Our value to buyers MUST be in the context of their world.  If it isn’t, we are running our machine on low test crappy fuel.  We’ve bought the car and we are running in on 60 octane when it needs 97.   What do we do to fix this.  It’s not that hard.  Context first, before content.  Find a framework like my Viewpoint Marketing one, that puts your value in the context of your customer’s world, not yours.  Then fix your messaging to match that.  Now you are running on high octane jet fuel.  Go Go Go!  You may even run into a gravitywave or two.

Ken Rutsky is a Product Marketing and Go to Market “Ninja”.  His upcoming book, Stories that Sell, Messaging that Matters: The Viewpoint Marketing B2B Playbook to Market Leadership helps organizations elevate their positioning, messaging and programs from  me-too stories and tactics to unique, compelling and breakthrough ones. You can read a short preview of the book here.

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