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You can’t talk about it if you can’t say it

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: giving your products proper names, rather than marketing them by their part numbers, is an underused opportunity in the technical B2B sector. It’s so much easier for your salesmen and your customers alike to be selling and buying the “Big Blue Widget” rather than the “XCV-T45/43000b”. It’s something they can actually refer to by name when they’re talking about it!

Samsung’s SGH-D500 is a fine mobile phone, but however interesting it is, nobody’s going to drop a name like that into a conversation. But the iPhone? Now that’s a different matter. Or imagine a discussion between one of your customers and a contemporary who might well also become a customer of yours. “I like the way you’ve done that”, says the latter. “How did you do it?” Your customer replies: “I’ve used something called a Big Blue Widget. It’s made by an outfit called the Blue Widget Company”. But if your product only has a non-memorable part number, the information will be less forthcoming, more like: “I’ve used this widget thing. Good isn’t it?”

Yet it’s almost seen as a sign of immaturity in some quarters, as if your products won’t be taken seriously if they’re not referred to by an over-long part number, artificially inflated to make it seem like you have more products and sizes than you really do.

Perhaps sticking to the part number is the easy option. But if the problem turns out to be that the task of dreaming up a name in the first place is too creative, take a look at Wordoid, a really nice tool for coming up with abstract but relevant ideas. Hat-tip to Seth’s Blog for this one.

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