Much is made by many including myself of getting your go to market narrative and value messaging nailed. SO IMPORTANT. Without a great story and value messaging, you can NEVER reach and leverage Message-Market Fit and achieve and grow market leadership. Aligning your value with customer transformation; making your customer the hero and your product/solution the magic in their journey is critical to success. Like a blockbuster movie, your story or script has to be great.
However, while all blockbuster movies have great scripts, many of the best scripts are never great movies because of a failure of creative execution and/or lack of effective promotion and distribution. It takes not just a great writer and great script, but an excellent creative team (director, actors, camera, sound etc…) and targeted and successful distribution/promotion to make a great movie.
Likewise, to build a blockbuster Go To Market success you need not only a great story, but great creative execution across all your go to market assets (Website, collateral, explainer video, sales deck, product experience…) and targeted and high impact promotion and distribution. Well known SaaS business leader Jason Lemkin writes on his site SaaStr, “Your Marketing Site Really Should Be Even Better Than Your Product” and this is all about great creative execution, strong narrative and value messaging. And as every marketer knows, in the crowded market targeting, selecting, and executing high impact demand generation programs is also critical to success.
Sorry no short cuts to success, don’t under-invest in your script (narrative, messaging and positioning), your creative execution, or your targeted promotion and and distribution strategy. It starts with the script, then moves to the creative and “ends” with the promotion. So when thinking about your blockbuster Go to Market, remember this simple equation:
Great story+ Amazing creative+ Targeted and leveraged promotion = Blockbuster
Ken engaged with FireEye in late 2009. At the time, they had revenues in the low millions of dollars, primarily in the .EDU market. FireEye came to Ken to help them better explain their value to buyers who could not fit them into a current category in the Network Security Market.
Working with the Founder/CEO, the Director of Marketing, Product Manager, and the EVP of Sales, Ken delivered a new messaging platform around the concept of “Modern Malware Risk.” The company re-launched in April of 2010 at the RSA Security Conference with a new message of Modern Malware Exposed, a new category of Next Generation Threat Defense, and an integrated online and offline set of properties and deliverables.
FireEye leveraged and built great success in the market with this messaging and positioning for the next 4 years. FireEye’s September of 2013 IPO valued the company at more than $2B.
(For more details on this story, see Launching to Leading, pages 11-13.)
Ken engaged with Jumio in late 2016. Jumio, a provider of real-world identification technology and services, had a differentiated offering, but was challenged in communicating why this mattered to prospective customers. They too often found themselves fighting feature rather than value battles.
Ken worked with the executive team and sales and marketing leadership to develop a story and messaging around Trusted Identity as a Service, and developed both a Viewpoint story and detailed product messaging.
Chief Revenue Officer Robert Prigge said, “The process we went through with Ken was transformative. It crystallized the value and uniqueness of our offering to our customers in a way we never expected. It has changed not only the way we talk about our service, but the way we think about it and our priorities going forward.”
In Q1 of 2017 Jumio announced a momentous quarter, adding the most enterprise customers ever in a quarter and breaking daily transaction volume records.
Hello again from my home office. A few days ago we had a hailstorm here in Menlo Park. I figure we have now added hail to pestilence in the list of 2020 plagues. Hopefully we wont be seeing any frogs, boils or bloody rivers anytime soon, but I guess at this point I would not be surprised.
What doesn’t surprise me is the unrelenting amount of advertising I am still subject to. Some of it is good, it strikes the right tone, it is 1) Authentic 2) Relevant and 3) Sensitive. When it is, it gets my attention, I am open to receiving the message and it says something that is meaningful to me.
Tone, as I blogged in Part 2 of this series, is probably the most critical thing to get right in today’s environment. Without the right tone, not only will your message not get through, but you can do un-repairable damage to your brand, your reputation and your future business. Without the right tone, as shown below, we lose message appropriateness and more importantly, impact.
Let’s now deconstruct tone and see if we can find some insight and guidance into building messages that are in tune! Tone can be broken into 3 components, Authenticity, Relevance and Sensitivity. Let’s take a look at each of these.
Authenticity – When researching what makes communication authentic, three words keep coming up, CLEAR, DIRECT and HONEST. Authentic communication has no hidden agenda, does not hide behind ulterior motives or obtuse language, and does not hide it’s intended outcomes or goals
Relevance – While pretty obvious, relevance is always a key factor in any communication. This is a bit of marketing 101, but targeting and understanding of your audience so that what you are talking about matters. Also, remembering that priorities are askance right now, you may decide to hold on some aspects of your message until the world is not quite so uncertain.
Sensitivity – Remember, your audience is human. We are all being impacted by the crises. So from simple word choice to topic selection, words and context matter. It might be obvious how bad of a headline – “A Novel Approach to Making Viral Videos” would be right now, always double check your self for the sensitivity of the recipient in crafting your messages.
Hotels.com updated ad with spokes-character “Captain Obvious” is getting kudos from many, and rightfully so. Check it out if you have not seen it:
A Hotels.com spokesperson summed it up better than I can when they told AgAge:
“We didn’t feel the tone of our usual advertising was right for the current environment. For the airtime we had remaining, we opted for a message that reinforces the guidance to stay home.”
This ad hits the mark, it is authentic, relevant to all of us, and sensitive at the same time. And on top of all that it does make you smile, which today is sure a bonus!
Again, I hope this series of posts helps you even in a little way. I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas and stay connected to you. I’m here, like we all are, for the foreseeable future in my new home office digs, and ready to virtually meet anytime! Ken
Hello from my home office. We’ve all had a once in a lifetime few weeks, and the future remains uncertain, kinda scary, and unprecedented. I managed to get a social distanced walk in with my friend Neil yesterday, and it was nice to have the interaction and the fresh air. When Neil and I parted, I had a bit of a think on the rest of my walk home about about how to do what we do as B2B Marketers in these times, and specifically, no surprise, my thoughts turned to messaging.
Again, as we fight for our collective well being, it may seem trivial, but keeping what we can going in our businesses is part of our well being. So with the understanding that this is NOT the same as vacieene research or testing distribution, I will share a few thoughts.
Communicating your message is a combination of 3 elements, Tone, Content and Channel. As I am obsessed with, I had to draw them as a Venn Diagram
So first let’s take a very quick look at each of these 3 components.
Content – What are your key value points, call to action and other ideas you want to communicate
Channel – Where, where and how are you communicating your message
Tone – What is the level of authenticity, relevance and sensitivity of your message
And of course, as I am always doing, I immeadiately went to labeling the intersections to find the real meaning in the Venn and here is what I come up with…
Let’s now look at the three intersections:
Reach – How well does the content connect to buyers. Does the message match the time, place and overall context of the delivery? If channel and content are mismatched, your message will not get through
Impact – Is the value communicated meaningful and relevant to the target, and if so, is it in the correct tone for the context that I am connecting in. If value or tone are off, you content will not have the impact you desire.
Appropriateness – Simply put, what is the right tone for one channel, may not be for another. Phase of buying cycle, business and societal realities, why the buyer is seeing or consuming your content, push vs. pull, all contribute to the appropriateness of the communication.
Much of this is hard enough in normal times, for the foreseeable future, choosing the right content, right channel and striking the right tone will be extremely challenging for marketers. In my next three posts, I am planning on expanding on the impact of today’s emerging societal and economic challenges on Content, Tone and Channel for B2B marketing. And first, I am going to tackle what I think is the most difficult of the three, tone.
Again, I hope this series of posts helps you even in a little way. I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas and stay connected to you! I’m here for the foreseeable future in my new home office digs and ready to virtually meet anytime! Ken
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