What Are You Trying to Say?

Three meditations: something to think about, a “how-to” resource, and a marketing deep dive. Ommmmmm.

 

Something to Think About

One "How To" Resource

Sometimes it can be crazy trying to keep up with competitors. One of the most useful tools we’ve developed at CMO Zen is a…

Competitor/Positioning Analysis

We document these playbooks in a tool called Process Street. The link above will allow you to run the play and download/copy any necessary assets. Enjoy!

A Marketing Deep Dive

What are you trying to say?

I have a five-year-old son.

One of his favorite things to do is turn questions back on me.

“Time to get dressed for school,” I say.

“No,” he says.

“What do you mean, ‘No?’”

“What do you THINK I mean?” he says with a smirk.

This is not my favorite answer. LOL

But I know the day will come that I miss his smart-alec back talk, and I help him put on his socks.

And I’m grateful for the object lesson.

Because when we describe the value of our products to customers, they should NEVER be wondering what we mean.

Maybe at this point you’re saying, shouldn’t we outsource that to a copywriter or something?

Maybe.

A skilled copywriter is a beautiful thing.

I have my favorites.

Writers I look to for inspiration like Liz Willits, Cole Shafer, George Tannenbaum, and others.

But every job starts as the founder’s job.

As Ann Handley so aptly put it… everybody writes.

That means even if you failed high school English, now you’re the CEO of a startup.

Your company relies on you to write.

Someday, you’ll be able to hire great copywriters to do all your writing for you.

But until then, it’s on you.

Your product is the answer to people’s problems and they aren’t going to learn about it through osmosis.

Nope.

The way we get ideas from one human brain to another is with words.

I have a five-year-old son.

One of his favorite things to do is turn questions back on me.

“Time to get dressed for school,” I say.

“No,” he says.

“What do you mean, ‘No?’”

“What do you THINK I mean?” he says with a smirk.

This is not my favorite answer. LOL

But I know the day will come that I miss his smart-alec back talk, and I help him put on his socks.

And I’m grateful for the object lesson.

Because when we describe the value of our products to customers, they should NEVER be wondering what we mean.

Maybe at this point you’re saying, shouldn’t we outsource that to a copywriter or something?

Maybe.

A skilled copywriter is a beautiful thing.

I have my favorites.

Writers I look to for inspiration like Liz Willits, Cole Shafer, George Tannenbaum, and others.

But every job starts as the founder’s job.

As Ann Handley so aptly put it… everybody writes.

That means even if you failed high school English, now you’re the CEO of a startup.

Your company relies on you to write.

Someday, you’ll be able to hire great copywriters to do all your writing for you.

But until then, it’s on you.

Your product is the answer to people’s problems and they aren’t going to learn about it through osmosis.

Nope.

The way we get ideas from one human brain to another is with words.

Okay, sometimes with pictures, but MOSTLY with words.

And for some reason it’s more common than sunny days in Las Vegas for founders to struggle to communicate the very most basic aspects of their product.

Before we know it we’re neck-deep in jargon and ten-dollar words that don’t explain bull pucky.

Here’s one I saw last week (minor edits to protect anonymity).

“We help [undefined enterprise category] easily unlock their hidden potential ahead of seismic market trends by successively transforming their organization.”

What does that even mean?

If your product description includes words like “empower,” “efficiency,” or “save time and money,” this is the newsletter for you.

My premise is that we communicate for influence.

I’m going to show you how to make it easy.

We want prospects to take action towards becoming customers.

As long as they don’t know us, they cannot choose us.

Pretty simple, right?

And here’s the deal.

Your customer only needs to understand two things after reading your message.

What do you do?

Why should I care?

Another way of looking at this is your goal is to nail clarity and intent.

  1. Clarity means that it’s crystal clear what problems you solve, the value you provide, and how you’re different.
  2. Intent means the message should make prospects want to buy your stuff.

Clarity is factual. Intent is emotional.

If you say, “We’re the best choice for our customers. That’s because…”

Whatever comes next is the reason you’re the best choice.

That should come through loud and clear.

Often this ties a core benefit—i.e., what the customer can do with your product that they couldn’t do without it—coupled with a differentiating feature.

This isn’t something that you do once to perfection and never do again.

There are many iterations of your message that include both clarity and intent.

Nobody nails the highest converting version on the first try.

You’ll have to test it and refine it.

But now you know the building blocks, the prerequisites, the core of messaging that works.

It’s pretty simple.

And doesn’t require a Pulitzer Prize winner to craft.

A great message has prospects saying, “Oh, I get it.”

That’s clarity.

And, “I need it.”

That’s intent.

 

 
Chad Jardine, Founder & CEO

CMO Zen

 

 

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