An important discipline for maximizing communications

September 28, 2017
Author: Henry Artime

In my twenty years of experience working with manufacturers and B2B brands of all sizes, I recognize the challenges a marketing team faces. For example, it can be cumbersome to communicate value propositions that resonate in diverse sales channels and with various audiences.

What’s at stake is the sales growth and success of the organization. Therefore, we must all do the intelligent and at times difficult work of identifying and clarifying the value that sets a brand apart, and in turn, give sales people the tools to engage their prospects better.

That’s why I constantly remind my clients that, “Brevity breeds clarity.”

Here’s another way to look at it. In your communications, the more words you use the more interpretations you invite, possibly creating more confusion or ambiguity about your USP.

I acknowledge that the thought of communicating value through brevity can feel unattainable. Perhaps it’s because manufacturing and B2B marketing team members typically wear many hats. If that describes you or your marketing team, you may not want to hear that it takes much longer to be brief then it does to be long-winded.

Mark Twain said it best, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”

Challenge your marketing team, writers or agency to be as brief as possible in order to be as clear as possible. Take the time necessary for brevity and clarity.

Again, brevity breeds clarity.

Here are two exercises that will help you clarify your messaging. One is obvious, but the other is often overlooked or ignored.

  1. Diversity.
    “Be heard above the noise,” is a familiar phrase, and that’s why we’ve been taught to ask, “How can we differentiate ourselves from our competitors? How can we uniquely speak to a subject or address a pain point?” Another way to think about it is: What will make your brand impossible to ignore?
    I hope to expand on this process in a future post. For now, remember that you must know what all your competitors are saying for this exercise to be successful.
  1. Parity.
    Why “parity?” Early in my career I followed the herd by only seeking to communicate diversity from competitors in the market. And, in full disclosure, that’s all clients were demanding.
    However, that often left the client with the additional burden (often financial) of educating the market about what they meant. That led to being misunderstood, because our language and value proposition diverged too far from what the market understood and expected. They had no familiarity with the terms or phrases that we were choosing to use. We spent so much time trying to make our clients different that we sometimes failed to articulate what made them better than the alternatives in their category.

This experience leads me to know that your messaging and positioning must make room for parity – odd though that sounds. You must allow space for consumers or buyers to understand what category you’re in, and what specific pain-point you’re addressing.

A well-positioned brand is easy to identify in its category and easy to distinguish from its competitors.

For marketing messages to work they must be remembered, and the easiest way to be remembered is to be brief. When this is accomplished, the sales team will thank the marketing team.

Brevity breeds clarity.