Time for some marketing laxative

It’s amazing how many companies are reluctant to set out their expertise on their website, for fear that – well, I don’t know, actually. Maybe for fear that their competitors might learn something? In all honesty, that’s just daft. I remember as a technical journalist working with some companies on case studies, and finding that the limiting factor in how much technical information could be declared wasn’t the customer who we were writing about (as you might think), but the supplier’s own Sales Director. “If your customer is happy for us to say that we used six of your blue widgets in a v-formation”, I would ask, “then why do you have a problem?” The Sales Director would mumble something in the way which politicians do when they haven’t got an answer, and the case study would be watered down into such blandness that perhaps it would end up never being used at all.

Today you’re a publisher. Your website has to do unattended selling for you. Prospects aren’t going to be impressed by big statements that you’re masters of your technology; they want to see what backs that up. Once upon a time, you’d move heaven and earth to get an informative background article in a top trade magazine, the sole purpose of which was to show off that you were an authority in your field. And it worked. People would read the article, and think: “this is a company which knows its stuff and can sort me out with what I need”. Now they expect to see that evidence on your website. What are the potential downsides? Are your competitors really so useless that they’ll learn something they didn’t know already? If you think that explaining in great technical detail how your technology can be used to solve problems is going to somehow put you at a commercial disadvantage, your company really has stagnated. A company driven by fear is never a company which is going places.

Discussion

  1. Peter Mann

    I find that my customer’s clients are the ones who say ‘We don’t want our competitors to know that we’re using your products’ – or at least that’s what my clients’ sales people usually report… but on reflection, Chris, perhaps there’s more in what you say than you realise.

    PS Loved yesterday’s ’10 bullet points’.

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