I was trained as a programmer, but for the past five years I have been our marketing director. Here in a nutshell is my philosophy on how to communicate in marketing.
Savvy customers can see through bullshit. If you use flowery language, buzz words, and classic salesman phrases then smart people will run the other way. Just explain what your product does in simple terms and only make claims that are true. If your product has some strengths and weaknesses then just talk about the strengths. Lying about the weaknesses is a terrible move that will result in lost trust and customers who won’t buy a second product from you.
Don’t use classic manipulative sales tactics. For instance, I get an e-mail about once a month from the same software company announcing a special sale. It’s not a special sale if you do it every month! Then on the last day of the sale they announce that they will extend it “because of overwhelming demand”. Why? Because most revenue comes from the last day of a sale. If you extend it then you get to squeeze that sense of urgency into your customers a second time. The problem is that these cynical tactics show your customers that you don’t mean what you say. Being manipulative makes the smart customers go away and those are the ones that I want to keep.
Show rather than tell.
This advice is specifically for products like ours that make pictures. In all your marketing materials (web site, ads, emails) spend most of the space on large pictures that were made with the product. Don’t use much text. Just explain clearly what the product does and then invite the reader to come to your web site to see more. No one likes reading a bunch of marketing babble when it is easier to just look at an image and decide for themselves whether it is impressive.
“Show rather than tell” and “be honest” both influence how we make example images and videos. An image showing what a product can do must be easy for the customer to recreate using only your product and no Photoshop touch up. I promise you that someone will buy your product because of an image they saw on your web site. If they try to create that same effect and can’t do it because you cheated on the image then they are going to call you on your bullshit.
Maybe I will write other articles on the nitty gritty details of marketing like social media, analytics, or press relations, but I’ll stop for now. I think that the simple attitudes expressed in this article are more important than the specific tasks Jimmy and I do each day.