Jason Dea's Pages

Friday, February 25, 2011

Piling stuff on top of the trash can is not taking out the garbage…

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My family has a habit of piling things on top of the trash can with the mistaken belief that this is in fact the same as actually taking the garbage out to the garage, curb, or dumpster. I call this game the squeezing contest.

As I was undoing the latest squeezing contest, and sorting through all the junk that had been amassed in our kitchen, I reflected on my first foray in to crafting messaging and value propositions.

When I first started in marketing I had a terrible habit too, sort of a messaging squeezing contest. I was a regular guy with a degree in engineering in a sea of MBAs so I compensated for my lack of business school pedigree by trying to sound smart. In retrospect I was being sucked in by the lure of tech marketing gobbledegook.

Another thing I tried was to add complexity to the way I built the message itself. I became quite adept at using Microsoft smart-art to create complex frameworks upon which I would build a story around. What I soon learned was that by overcomplicating things I was actually putting up barriers for my audience's ability to understand the point I was trying to make.

Since then I've learned that piling garbage on top of a trash can isn't taking out the garbage, it's just making a mess. I've also learned that piling on a complex messaging framework just adds confusion to the story you're trying to tell. I've now borrowed a simple messaging philosophy that April Dunford summarizes exceptionally eloquently. 1. What is it? 2. Is it for me? 3. Why should I buy it from you?

Rather than trying to satisfy a massive matrix of messaging components, this 3 question model is much easier to implement. Ultimately I've found it much more successful as well. Customers don't want to feel confused. They just want you to get to the point.

So I've gone from this

Old_message

To this.

New-Message

Oh and this too….

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