The weird reason why your marketing absolutely sucks

If your marketing team is awesome, you’ll never actually produce a brochure.  Rather, you make stuff so informative that people don’t realize it’s selling them.

The folks at Optimizely published a book on A/B testing– with example after example of landing page tweaks that helped Obama get elected, more donations for Hillary Clinton, and whatnot. The techniques are solid. And all examples of success are using their software.

dennis_and_friends_in_vegas
The second half of the book is why you need to use their software and how to sell it within the organization. I didn’t pay $27.95 for it– they gave it to me for free at a conference, along with a sweet mini-helicopter.

The reason their sales materials don’t stink of sales is because they start with real business problems and show how to solve them. They just happen to use their tools to do it. And they first explain the fundamental concepts of landing page optimization BEFORE ever going into the features of their tools.

If you can frame the problem in the right way, then your solution become the obvious fit.

A “brochure” is designed to educate and sell a client– explaining what you do, how you do it, and the associated benefits/features. If you’re in sales, you have these glossy documents that clients instantly disregard. And prospects can likely download them from your website, so why do they need you to read it to them?

Look at Marketo, a company providing marketing automation software. They produce a series of “definitive guides”– legitimate resources on how to supercharge your email marketing, drive new leads, excel at social media marketing, and so forth.

Their former head of social, Jason Miller, spoke frequently on content marketing– and they measured the leads, opportunities and revenue that came from these efforts.

2014-01-14 23_23_07-How Marketo Uses SlideShare for Inbound Marketing and Lead Generation

And so Marketo never needs to talk to anyone who doesn’t already know who they are. Their educational efforts warm up leads and qualify them. This is inbound marketing– where the customers come to you, as opposed to you cold calling them.

If you run a hospital emergency room, do you need salespeople circulating the parking lot, trying to sell discount heart surgeries or the fact that you have a sale on chemotherapy treatments going on today?

No, people wheel themselves in, already complaining of pain.  They just want you to diagnose the problem and offer the right solution. If you’re in marketing or sales, take the grease out of your hair and put your labcoat on.

 
But your marketing materials suck.

Are they framed from the standpoint of the client or from your company’s viewpoint?

Here’s how to tell:

  • Are you talking about features before benefits? Don’t be a feature creature– spewing all manner of technical specs.
  • Do you talk about the competition?  You instantly put the lead in vendor comparison mode (on guard) vs in learning mode (open and listening).
  • Are you focusing on their results or on your company?
When we customize a brochure to a client’s particular needs, that’s typically called a proposal. Only big guys get proposals, since they take effort and multiple meetings to customize, qualify, and educate prior to a sale.

A “statement of work” is the precise description of what we are going to do with a client.

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About Dennis Yu

Dennis Yu is the Chief Technology Officer of BlitzMetrics. He is an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook marketing, having been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Fox News, and CBS Evening News. He is also a regular contributor for Adweek's SocialTimes column. Dennis has held leadership positions at Yahoo! and American Airlines. He studied Finance and Economics from Southern Methodist University and London School of Economics. Besides being a Facebook data and ad geek, you can find him eating chicken wings or playing Ultimate Frisbee in a city near you. You can contact him at dennis@blitzmetrics.com, his blog, or on Facebook.

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