December 9, 2012

Marketing communication tips

I review many press releases, websites, slide decks, and complete marketing strategies. Inevitably, there are certain marketing communications tips I keep repeating. Some of them are:

  1. Pitch at a suitable level of detail.
  2. Treat your top influencers as individuals.
  3. For every news item, ask yourself — who cares?
  4. Don’t pigeonhole your company or product.
  5. Use a proofreader or copy editor.
  6. Use short(er) sentences.
  7. Blog.

I shall explain.  

1. Marketing pitches can be on at least three levels:

A common error is to make your product pitch in such general terms that it’s really a sector pitch in disguise.

2. There are many kinds of influencer, who often need to be handled in different ways. Some of the differences can be handled just by asking how they like to work (for example, I have a whole how to pitch me post). Beyond that, the right person to lead an important relationship is:

As one tech journalist put it:

If you are a small startup with innovative technology, put as little as possible between your own people who can talk with passion about the stuff, and whoever you’re trying to get coverage from.

1 of my top 20 vendor relationships — Teradata — is led by an in-house “relations” specialist. 0 of them are led by outside PR.

3. Enhancing your product is good. But if all you’re doing is playing catch-up in areas that you lag competitors, you have two main choices for marketing the enhancements:

And nobody — except perhaps in the affected regions — cares that you opened a sales office in Lake Wobegon, added a distributor in Grand Fenwick, or have a CEO named Elbonian Entrepreneur of the Year.

4. Focus is good. But if you claim extreme focus, there will still be a record of those claims when you later want to branch out, which can and will be used against you in sales and marketing situations.

5. A significant fraction of all marketing collateral is written by committees, by non-native English speakers, by engineers, or in a hurry. In all those cases, outside proofreading or even copy editing could be useful.

Lack of budget is no excuse; such services can be amazingly cheap.

6. In particular, sentence bloat is endemic, which is why my comments on press release drafts often say “Sentence from hell!” As I write this:

Strunk and White weep.

7. Every vendor should have a blog. Period. There are no exceptions to that rule, because blogs serve one universal need — saying things that are inconvenient to express in other formats. Examples of things easier to do in a blog than elsewhere include:

Vendor blog dos and don’ts include:

Related links:

Comments

4 Responses to “Marketing communication tips”

  1. Trends that will continue in 2013 | DBMS 2 : DataBase Management System Services on December 12th, 2012 8:35 pm

    [...] pitch email. Indeed, that happened twice last week, triggering the first item in Sunday’s marcom tips post. Categories: Business intelligence, Hadoop, Liberty and privacy, MySQL, NoSQL, Open source, [...]

  2. Putri on May 24th, 2013 12:19 am

    Nice tips! Thanks a lot!

  3. Some principles of editing and content development | Strategic Messaging on July 22nd, 2013 4:36 am

    [...] An important part of my consulting practice is editing marketing communications. [...]

  4. Marketing in stealth mode | Strategic Messaging on March 4th, 2014 1:09 am

    [...] I wrote in a collection of marcom tips, the pitch style “We’re an awesomely well-suited company to do [...]

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