The original mission statement of the BBC was to “educate, inform, and entertain”, and that’s still in place today, albeit with the words in a different order. It’s stood the test of time, and I think that it’s also a very good place to start with any marketing material you’re creating.
The “inform” part of the statement will always have been the core of anything you produce. From a data sheet to a case study to a video, it goes without saying that the purpose of the marketing piece will be to inform people about a product, service, application or initiative.
The “educate” part has become more important in recent years, and is still easy to overlook. If you just “inform”, it’s all me-me-me. If you take the time to “educate”, you draw in the readers and make their time worthwhile. You also demonstrate your authority and perhaps offer an advantage over the competition.
The “entertain” part is the hardest to accept. It doesn’t mean that your next corporate video needs to be presented by Ant & Dec. It just means that whatever you’re producing (even if it’s “just” a web page or a printed data sheet) should be cheerful, lively, and – above all – human. The business world has got remarkably less pompous and more casual in my lifetime. Most good salespeople are naturally entertaining, and marketing material is just as much a face of the company.
It’s not hard to look at anything you produce and ask if it passes the “does it educate, inform, and entertain?” test. That’s something to stick on the office wall.