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Keeping Attention – Substance Over Style

by Hank Barnes  |  February 5, 2019  |  Submit a Comment

In most marketing organizations, there is a push to be cool.   We work with agencies and internal teams to create compelling ads and content that capture attention.   We want to do things with style.

And style does matter, particularly when looking to get attention.

But style alone won’t keep attention.  That takes substance.  Particularly for B2B buying or complex buying situations.

Substance is the meat–the details that help build confidence in the buying team.

Photo by ELEVATE from Pexels

Photo by ELEVATE from Pexels

Substance may not be flashy, and often is not perfect, but it feels authentic (and should be authentic).

It takes substance to move deals forward.

For example, consider demo videos.   I’ve seen many of these that purport to be demos, but they are clearly glossy, stylized productions that obscure the reality of the product and how it works.   The style may be fine, but don’t call it a demo.  Call it something else.   Demos need substance.  They don’t have to be cool.   But they really need to be authentic.

As you look at your marketing strategies, take a hard look at how much you focus on style and how much you focus on substance.

You need both, but if I was making bets, I’d put more investment in substance (unless you are really frustrated by your inability to capture any significant level of attention).


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Category: go-to-market  

Tags: authenticity  b2b-buying  messaging  trust  

Hank Barnes
VP Distinguished Analyst
6+ years at Gartner
30+ years IT Industry

Hank Barnes explores the dynamics, challenges, and frustrations enterprises face when buying technology products and services. Using that customer-centric lens, he advises those responsible for marketing technology products and services, general managers responsible for product portfolios, and startup CEOs on next practices to drive success for their customers and their business. Read Full Bio

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