How to Stop Wasting So Much Time & Money on Your Marketing
It’s an often-observed truism that human beings seem to love to make simple things complicated.
And this is especially true of marketing – particularly in the software tech sector.
I’m sure you’ve all come across the acronym ‘KISS’ (Keep it simple, Stupid!) - In marketing, the reality is that keeping it simple is what facilitates engagement and drives leads.
It’s essential you wrestle to the ground any latent desire to make things more complicated than they need to be.
Fighting the complex and confusing in marketing is critical to its success. In fact, making things as simple as possible – so that a 12 year old can read and understand what you are saying – is the “Holy Grail” for today’s marketers.
This is especially true when selling complex software solutions. We, in the sector, need to work hard to keep it simple.
Over Complicated Messaging
The nature of the software entrepreneur is that they have lively minds and an incredibly strong work ethic. They will over-work themselves and, in the process, will tend to over-complicate things. Their inclination is always to work harder - but that’s not necessarily smarter.
And organisations in the software tech sector are all doing the same thing.
In some respects, the issue of over-complicated marketing messaging can be laid squarely at the door of the analysts. In their desire to coral and catalogue the software tech market, they publish articles that add to the general ‘noise’ with an ever-growing list of indecipherable phrases, buzzwords and complex market definitions.
The art is NOT to follow suit - It’s not right just because the analysts have spoken.
Don’t Shout – And Stop Using Jargon – Just Stop!
As the software sector has matured and many more players have joined the industry, gaining visibility has increasingly become a shouting contest, where those with the loudest voices (read “budgets”) gain the most attention and win the business.
Unfortunately, they all chant in monotonous unison, the same tired, technical clichés, over-used and poorly understood acronyms and completely irritating buzzwords.
Artificial Intelligence, ROI, RPA, Professional, Unrivalled Support, Platform, Framework, Efficiency, Machine Learning, API, Commitment, Expert, Software Stack, Metadata, Committed to Excellence.
Like a list of mandatory vocabulary, the words and phrases tumble from the mouths of the software tech marketer - all borrowed from the same book of “Techy Marketing: For Sheep”. And still, they explain away their hard to interpret phrases, acronyms and ‘tech talk’ with the excuse, that they have to market this way because they are technical people who are talking to very technical people.
WRONG! On both counts!
You are a sales and marketing company that uses technology to provide a solution for your client. You should be communicating with business leaders who may at some stage need the input of the pure techies. But, don’t forget, even the techies are human and don't want to be shouted at or bludgeoned with acronyms.
Your Prospect Doesn’t Care if You’re a SaaS cloud developer, Trapeze Artist or a Stripper
If the above is your story. It be doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to join the madding crowd – or join in the shouting to be heard.
Clients don't care about how you work.
They don't care if you’re a SaaS cloud developer, Artificial Intelligence Platform Provider or have the latest widget.
They don’t care if you are trained as a JAVA or .NET Developer, AGILE Systems Integrator, Trapeze Artist or a Stripper.
These are trivial details - Not essential messages.
Your client's PRIMARY concern is about the issues you can resolve for them.
Speak Clearly to Your Fellow Human Beings
In an increasingly noisy, global software market, you need first to gain attention.
However, unlike the kango or jackhammer that can be heard above the traffic on a noisy street, you shouldn’t need to shout to be heard.
It’s far more important – and effective - to speak with a clear and candid voice on topics that affect your target audience.
Demonstrate your understanding of your audience’s daily challenges and pain points and your communication will speak for itself without having to be strident or raucous.
Clients want you to talk to them like one human being to another, in words that are easy to understand and unambiguous. They don’t want to be forever reaching for the “Software Tech Book of Phrases, Acronyms & Buzzwords” for clarification.
Software tech entrepreneurs should not follow the herd in this way. The herd sticks together for security, but software companies cause themselves harm by this behaviour.
It is a sad fact of the software sector that many companies struggle to explain, with any degree of clarity, exactly what it is that they do – Still less, why their prospects should care..
The Software Sector Dilemma
Here is a brief anecdote that goes some way towards explaining the software sector’s problem.
When was the last time you were driving your car and you spotted a dog and you decided to pull over and take a closer look at that dog?
Not very often, I’m guessing - Because we see dogs all the time. They are commonplace in any area, rural or urban. We probably don’t even notice them most of the time. Because our brains are designed to block out most auditory and visual inputs unless they are out of the ordinary.
Captured above is the big problem.
The software industry wastes money time and resources creating “dogs”.
Really boring dogs. Nothing that creates curiosity or interest or is remarkable in any way.
Just ordinary “dogs”.
However, what if you were driving home tonight and, as you turned into your road, you saw a dog, walking along the footpath on its hind legs, smoking a pipe? Might you give it a second glance?
I think it’s fair to assume that you would.
I also think you would probably stop and take a closer look - That is, if you had not already crashed your car as your head nearly swivelled off its shoulders.
Don’t Waste Your Time or Money on Jargon-Laden Communication
Now, it’s at about this stage that the B2B software techy types - those without a strong marketing understanding begin their oft repeated mantra: “But we are a technical company and we sell a very technical solution to very technical people”.
My response would likely be, “I think you are wrong. First, you are not a technical company. You are a sales and marketing company selling a technical solution. Second, don’t forget the ‘technical people’ you are selling to, all fall into the same category of “Human Being”. They have lives, friends, family, interests - Just like everybody else. They typically react just like other human beings.”
So, if you think that all your marketing needs to be full of technical jargon, acronyms and hard to decipher ‘technology chat’ then I am afraid you are wasting time, effort and money.
Grab Attention. Be Clear. Be Specific
This doesn’t mean “dumbing down” what you do.
In fact, the complete opposite.
At the appropriate time, you need to provide the level of technical detail that is required by your prospect - but only at the appropriate time.
Long before that, you first need to get the attention of your target market.
Obviously, your marketing needs to be appropriate - Your prospects may not want a walking, smoking dog.
Most of all, your marketing needs to grab attention and be remarkable in some way.
Without that, most software marketing is.......... just a dog!!