Are You Drawn to the Siren Call of Speeds and Feeds Marketing?
Why Haven’t We All Moved to Customer-Focused Content Yet?
One of the most common habits in B2B marketing is to focus on why you love your cool products. I hope you do! Your passion and innovation are what make your story interesting. Also, in the era of fake news—people care even more about why you do what you do.
The Siren Call of Speeds and Feeds
And yet, there’s something that draws product marketers to lead with features and functions in content. As product marketers, we learn about new products all the time. Here are the questions we ask to understand the product families that we support:
- What customer problem does the product or solution solve?
- Which customers use it? Who else could benefit from it?
- Which people at those companies benefit the most? What problems are they solving?
- How does it work? What are the key functional requirements to use it?
- What are the top most important features?
- What’s on the roadmap? Why are those things important?
- What’s our secret sauce? What unique technical, design, or delivery advantage do we have?
- How does our product compare to competitors? To doing nothing?
- What’s the state of the technology we’re using?
- Where will disruption come from?
I always recommend product marketers to start with the problem we solve for customers. Yet, like the call of the siren—the bits, bytes, flows and speeds entice even the best product marketers to get caught up in the excitement.
Two Perfectly Human Root Causes
Why does this happen? Here are two core reasons.The first reason is closer to our daily lives. The second is the world we live in today.
1. Product expertise…it’s a good thing.
Product speeds and feeds are literally at the core of this list. You may have a great vision of customer needs and a pulse on the industry. Yet without products and solutions that uniquely rise to the opportunity, you’re just a dreamer. Product management and technical experts command the heart of this list. They build the solutions we sell to meet our vision. So it naturally dominates their perspective.
This is a good thing. As designers and builders, I’d hope that they’d be obsessed with this part of the product go-to-market process. I want my product experts so fascinated by their work and engaged with their customers that they are deeply devoted to their patch of solutions. Make no mistake. Many of these talented product pros are terrific at this entire list of strategic and tactical questions. And yet, the speeds and feeds part of this list is their siren call. It’s where we ask them to be at the top of their craft.
As product marketers, of course we’re influenced by these great people and their passion. Our job is to be close to our product experts and bottle their vision in ways others understand. So, their siren call becomes ours too.
That’s why it’s understandable when product marketers’ first drafts of content reflects the views of internal business partners. They’re our people, and we get them. We’ll get back to why this shouldn’t persist past first drafts of copy.
2. We live in a technology age
We’re all tech companies now. I recently blogged about how this benefits marketers. Most of us have technology baked into our products and solutions. That’s why our product and technical experts need to keep up with the technical times. To invest in their continued education, there are technology conferences, communities and digital watering holes where everyone can keep current on their craft.
A quick look at CIO Magazine’s ‘Your guide to top tech conferences 2017’ illustrates the point. There’s an industry built up around technology knowledge transfer. And we love our own circles of technology. I know I do. The rise of marketing technology is a boon for my craft.
And therein lies the second call of the siren. When we see our communities and conferences on ERE sourcing, Programmatic I/O, API strategies and, yes, even MarTech—we believe that people get us. Yes!!
Now…Back to Reality
Congratulations, you’re not alone in your passion for geeky tech. There are other smart, interesting and engaged people who share your interests. However…these likely aren’t your customers or prospects. Unless you’re selling only to engineers or a very narrow community of experts, you shouldn’t assume people get your brand of geek speak.
And so, my product marketing friends, you must fight the siren call of speeds and feeds in your marketing. Keep true to what matters to your customers:
- Focus on the customer challenges you solve.
- Tell them what results they’ll get.
- Tell them your story – why you?