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Tech Buying Basics: Campaign or a Conversation?

By Derry Finkeldey | November 13, 2022 | 0 Comments


There’s a state election going on in Australia at the moment. Don’t worry! I’m not about to get political here. I was just struck again this morning by the potential for jarring insincerity in political messaging. And, how effective it is at shutting down the listener’s ability to hear.

The politician who won’t deviate from their 3 canned messages. It’s freshly needling me this morning after watching an interview. The politician refused to answer direct questions (albeit, some of which were silly). He kept repeating the same messages in different orders. I tuned out. I tuned out even though I thought most of what he was saying was sensible. I was irked by his unwillingness to engage with the interviewer. It was a broadcast. It felt insincere. Then, he got asked another silly question, and he went off script. He acknowledged the question. He didn’t even answer it. But, he pointed out politely that it was an irrelevant question to ask him. My attention came back. We were once again in a real conversation.

One Size Rarely Fits All

I get a lot of client questions asking me to review messaging. Especially, customer case studies. How can they be improved? Will they engage prospective clients? The most common things I see are that when we have a happy customer, the natural inclination is to write the “one ring to bind them” case study. This presents in a few forms. There’s the one page sales deck slide outlining lists of unconnected client facts and bullet points about what they did for the customer. There’s the multipage omnibus sharing everything about what we did for them. Whatever the format, what they share in common is a “once and done” approach. The expectation is that this is efficient and the piece will be leveraged in every channel we venture into and for every customer contact that we speak to.

  • Have you seen this?
  • Have you done it?
  • Is it an efficiency drive?
  • Or, is it lack of time?

We forget in the rush that messaging is an invitation to converse. Just as, face to face, we turn off when someone broadcasts – speaks at us – we tend not to engage meaningfully with broadcast messaging. And yet, I see marketers frequently create content that isn’t developed for a specific audience, nor for a clear purpose. And so it isn’t efficient, because it doesn’t engage. It contributes to the “effectiveness crisis” and noise that we’re all struggling to rise above. We are often unintentionally behaving like politicians because we don’t offer content as a conversation starter, but as a campaign.

Starting a Conversation

Starting a conversation requires knowing who we’re speaking to and being relevant. Being relevant requires understanding their situation. It requires varying the message to acknowledge the question. So, how do we acknowledge the questions our customers have?

  • First, choose an audience. Just one. Your ICP. Others will find you and check in if it’s relevant to them.
  • Second, understand where most of them are in their buying journey. Answer the question for the stage in buying journey.
  • Think about where they are most likely to be looking for those answers at that stage in the journey and take the discussion there.
  • Resist the urge to tell them everything at once. Resist the urge to broadcast.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time we stop talking in Marketing about driving Campaigns, and start talking about starting Conversations.


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