And another thing...

Brad Brenner

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Outside Marketing Counsel – Yet Another Reason

Why hire an outside agency or consultant to do your marketing or at least work with your current internal marketing department? A good question, and one for which I regularly find real world examples. Let me start with one of the most important reasons…objectivity.

Successful marketingBrenner Associates recently redesigned a website for a software/services company. They were flabbergasted that we recommended NOT mentioning the name of their flagship product anywhere on the home page (with limited room for text). Instead, we suggested substituting the product name with important key phrases that clearly explain the benefits and value of this product.

To someone inside the company, the product name is everything. While under development, the product – and its name – was everything to the employees. They lived, breathed and dreamt about it for months if not years on end. So when it came time to market their new widget, it seemed obvious that the company’s website homepage should scream the product name upfront and center.

Too bad the rest of the world did not have the same pre-launch experience. Potential customers never head the product name before and don’t care, at this point, what it’s called. However, what they DO know is that they have a problem that needs solving. And they have a general idea of what terms to use to look for solutions.

For example, say your company has just launched a new product called MoraleCentral, a new online tool that gives users tips on how to solve employee morale issues. 

Chances are, potential customers – those with employee morale problems – would go to the Internet and Google such terms as  “employee moral”, “moral boosting”, “improving employee productivity” or “teamwork tips” But unless they are already familiar with the product itself, chances are zip that they would search for “MoraleCentral”.

More importantly, once they found your website, its important that they instantly know that they’ve came to the right place. If you don’t catch their interest in the first second or two, they are just a click away to the next site.

So, what would be of more value to have highlighted on your homepage? The term MoralCentral or the words “Solve Employee Morale Problems Now”? The product title means diddly to them. But when they see the “solve employee moral” highlighted, they know instantly that they’ve come to the right place.

For the guy who has been working on MoralCentral for the past year and a half, this might seem counter intuitive. For an outside marketing pro, the choice is obvious.

It addition, MoralCentral will certainly have no SEO value whatsoever. The phrase used to highlighting the problem/solution, however, will have been chosen based upon its proven track record for driving viewers to websites. What’s the point of highlighting anything if no one will ever see it?

Another case in point

Several years ago, Brenner Associates was working with a top printer manufacturer. The internal marketing team was quite excited (and anxious) because the company was about to launch a new printer, the XPT 3000 (not the real name). The reason this was such a big deal to the printer company and its employees is because the new XPT3000 was about to replace the company’s best selling printer to date. If this new printer wasn’t a success, it could really hurt sales.

So Brenner Associates looked at the new product and at the competitive landscape and at customer demand and decided that the best thing about this new printer was that fact that it was, by far, the fastest printer under $100. And that is what we led with our press release headline – AJAX Introduces The Fastest Printer Under $100.

The internal marketing manager was upset. Why didn’t we mention the name of the printer or that it was replacing their most popular printer?

He wanted a headline that read AJAX Replaces Popular XPT1000 With New XPT3000.

To you and me (outsiders) it should be obvious. But it wasn’t so clear to the person that had been living and breathing XPT3000 for the past six months.

Then I asked the manager, “what if Frigidaire was about to replace its best selling refrigerator with one that was twice as big for half the price. Should the headline be Frigidaire Replaces Its Best Selling Refrigerator With New One or Frigidaire’s New Refrigerator Gives You More For Less ?

This was easy for him to answer correctly.

He was an outsider looking in.


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More Stories By Brad Brenner

Brad Lee Brenner is a master blogger, radio host and founder of Brenner Associates, a public relations / communications firm headquartered in Portland, Oregon. Over the past thirty years, Brad has written hundreds of articles that have been published in trade journals, newspapers and online news sources. His focus of expertise includes technology, the medical industry and communications for the digital age.