Why Your Product Marketing Should Be Boots on the Ground (And Out of the Clouds)

Businesswoman discussing new strategies with her team sitting around a table.

This might sound very obvious- but your product marketing must be CLEAR. This is easier said than done. One of the things I get most frustrated with is when tech companies have a tagline or one-liner that doesn't explain what their product DOES.

I see a lot of, "XX Company- We're changing the way you do business." Or here's another one, "XX Company aims to change the way the world things about sales." How about this- “The platform revolutionizing HR.”

Ok...

But what do you do?

It's not that the visionary language is bad. I started my career in nonprofits- I love a good mission statement.

But customers are only going to care about the vision if they first know what your product does, and how it's going to solve their problems.

Most brand messaging is in the wrong order. It typically starts with the highest level, most aspirational and visionary language, followed by a really long feature list and confusing jargon.

My #1 piece of advice I would give any tech startup is to flip this around and focus on what your product does.

Now here’s how to craft brand messaging that will click:

1. What do you do?

Start communicating to your customers first about what your product does. CLEARLY. Don't use run on sentences. Don't try to cram 5 ideas into one sentence. Just say what it does.

2. How will you help?

Be sure to follow this by elaborating on how it will help solve their problems and make their lives better. Pro tip- if you can really lean into the emotions of the problem, you’ll resonate more deeply and quickly with your customers.

3. How are you different?

Here’s where you can add a list of features that are important to differentiate your product. Don't go crazy. But give a good overview. 

Once you’ve covered your bases and clearly communicated what your product does, how it solves the customers’ problems, and how it’s different from other products, you’ll have people’s attention. With your customers’ goodwill, now’s the time to share your vision and why you're doing this good work. 

Until you’ve achieved such widespread household recognition, you really need to make sure you’re building brand language around these 3 steps. Coca-Cola has earned the right to say on their website, “Together tastes better.” Though, to be honest, I don’t love that tagline… but heck, I know the next time I’m craving a soda, I’m definitely going to go for a Coke. 

A brilliant man once said, “In your marketing copy, don’t be cute. Be clear.” Cute and clever will be fun to write, but it won’t sell your product. Your product marketing must be clear. Focus on clarity and you’ll be in it to win it. 

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Decoded Strategies

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Kristin Spiotto and Annie Mosbacher are dedicated to helping promising, but stuck, tech companies implement marketing and retention strategies that lead to long-term success. 

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