February 15, 2017

Stoking a fear and promising a fix

I’ve been insistent that everybody needs to pay attention to politics now, which is being conducted with greater cynicism than technology marketing ever could be. But in this particular post, political and technology marketing (among other kinds) are compared on a more even basis.

Donald Trump:

This is actually a time-honored pattern, pursued by (among others):

While fear-and-fix is a powerful strategy, it’s not easy to pull off, because it involves establishing both sides of a partial contradiction:

Approaches to resolving this paradox typically fall into one or more of three buckets:

Let’s consider some examples. Read more

February 8, 2017

Donald Trump’s politics in one song

Donald Trump’s favorite musical is said to be Evita, the story of the fascist/populist couple Juan and Eva Peron, who guided Argentina from status as a rich country to being pretty much of a third-world wreck.* Isaac Butler wrote about that back in November, but he missed a key point. More precisely, he missed a key song, whose lyrics I shall copy below. (I think this is one of the rare cases in which printing a song’s entire lyrics is clearly fair use.) Emphasis added.

*In real life, Juan Peron was vastly more influential on his country than his second wife Eva, not least because he lived much longer. But the musical portrays them as more equal partners, giving her great credit for his original ascension to power.

Art of the Possible Read more

February 2, 2017

How to influence legislators

A group of former congressional staffers has put out a great-looking, short guide on how to influence legislators. Their angles include:

I’ll quote the summary in its entirety: Read more

March 8, 2016

Selling is complicated

It’s time for another of my quick primers on the enterprise IT business. This one is about sales. First I’ll run through some generalities; then I’ll link you to some previous posts; after that I’ll close with a collection of practical tips.

This is, to put it mildly, an important subject. In particular, there are only two kinds of enterprise IT CEOs:

Every enterprise IT CEO needs to be heavily involved in sales.

Of course, a few tips do not a salesperson make. Selling is a complex process, with many steps. Worse, it’s tough for somebody to explain to you what the process is, in part because there’s a kind of recursion involved — a big part of what you do in the sales process is establish what the process is.

And that’s in both senses of “establish”, namely “figure out” and “bring into being”.

Other inherent difficulties in selling include:

Read more

February 21, 2016

Telling multiple stories

Much of this blog gives advice about how to tell a story. But that’s actually an oversimplification. In fact, you’re almost always in the situation where you want to tell multiple stories at once. The main messages of this post are:

Reasons the multiple-stories situation is so common include:

The first way to deal with all this is via modularization. In some cases, that’s easy. (E.g. websites can make different points on different pages.) Sometimes it’s harder, but worth doing anyway. E.g., in my recent post on influencer pitches, I said:  Read more

January 15, 2016

PR (or AR) pitch emails

I believe:

My support for these views includes:

My top tip for pitch emails is: Approve the pitch emails a PR firm writes before they are sent out!!!! There are two big reasons for this:  Read more

October 30, 2015

Why pitching ability matters

Engineers used to wonder what the point of sales and marketing people was. If a product was good, wouldn’t customers make the correct decision to buy it?

Nobody I know seems that naive anymore, but I did just get a similar question, which may be paraphrased as:

Why do investors judge a startup on the CEO’s pitching ability? Shouldn’t they focus instead on the actual merits of the company?

Most of my answer boiled down to:

Investors’ top concern is management’s ability to execute, and pitching is — or simulates — a large part of execution.

In particular (and now I’m quoting my own email directly):

I finished with one other point that didn’t fit the template, namely:

If you can’t articulate a good pitch, why should we believe there’s a good story in there at all?

I think the entrepreneur who asked me the question was convinced. :)

Related link(s)

September 18, 2015

Third-party quotes in press releases

I’m generally a skeptic about the value of press releases. However:

So my current opinion is:

That fits with my general view that press releases:

That brings me to the subject of this post: third-party press release quotes. For starters, I think the following are pretty obvious: Read more

August 30, 2015

Elevator pitches and other self-introductions

The concept of “elevator pitch” is ill-defined. Strictly speaking, it’s supposed to be how you’d describe your company or product in no more time than the length of an elevator ride. But if you ever actually are in such a situation, you will likely tailor your pitch to the specific listener. Ergo, you shouldn’t have one standard elevator pitch. So I’ll talk about “self-introductions” instead. Whatever we call it, the challenge “How do we introduce and summarize our story in the shortest possible time, or in the fewest possible words?” is a Really Big Deal.

Self-introductions occur at several different lengths, including but not limited to:

Usually, it makes sense to view the shorter ones as being abbreviations of the longer, more complete forms.

Read more

July 21, 2015

The marketing of productivity

Most software technology benefits boil down to either:

My views on the marketing of productivity benefits are similar to what I wrote about the marketing of performanceRead more

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