Can you Rise Above the Noise, When You Sound Like Everyone Else?

By Tom Pisello | February 25, 2021

Spoiler Alert: You won’t unless you leverage a Business Value approach

Guest article by: Steve Siegel (Product Marketing expert, former Clumio, ServiceNow, EMC, and Nokia)

As a marketer, you’ve likely learned to live by the mantra – “Let’s shout above the noise.”

For the last several years, I’ve led product marketing in fast-moving, highly competitive technology and services markets. We had to stand out above the fierce competition to gain precious prospect attention and drive new opportunities. The trouble was, I was often leveraging the same tools in my marketer’s tool belt as everyone else – focusing on new product features that sounded only incrementally better than the new features in the last release. Every vendor has to deal with the feature treadmill. Many updates were me-too features- stuff we needed to match competitive offerings, but these weren’t going to help us stand out.

As I researched strategies, I spent lots of time looking at other solution providers’ websites, seeing how they were marketing themselves. It’s incredible how many websites that still market their features and lead with how their widgets work. It’s as if there’s a belief that we need to speak to every target audience as if they were engineers. I started my career as an engineer, and I can assure you, this is NOT the right approach as very few of the decision making group are engineers. I only have four words of advice on this approach. PLEASE STOP THE INSANITY.

So what changed? Two Words: Business Value

My epiphany came after I commissioned a study to quantify the business value of the services we were marketing. We hired an analyst firm to interview our customers, and they dug into the business outcomes our services helped create. The analyst firm put numbers to the business outcomes – hours and dollars saved along with customer satisfaction and Net Promoter Score (NPS) improvements. Customer quotes captured the qualitative benefits – users replacing tedious, repetitive work with more exciting work that positively impacted the business and their careers.

This study became a great asset as we started to leverage it in our outreach campaigns and sales calls. As a product marketer, I thought the business value work was complete when we published that first study white paper. It turns out it was only the end of the beginning.

While most business value study white papers are extremely useful, we live in a short-attention-span world, one where buyers expect content to be concise, relevant, and personalized. When was the last time you read a 20-page white paper? Tell the truth now. I rest my case.

As the program evolved, we couldn’t rely on the initial success of the study alone. We needed to find ways to make the analysis results even more visible, compelling, relevant, and personalized, and place these into a comprehensive program that could help our buyers, throughout the buyer’s journey – from discovery and selection through post-sale and optimization.

Lessons Learned

So, here is your cheat sheet – the lessons learned as a seasoned product marketer, which you can use to go beyond the basics and create a business value program that works:

Transcending beyond features to leverage a business value study and white paper is a great first step, but for me, that was just the start of our business value success. The key was to quickly implement a more comprehensive business value program. As a result, we were able to engage in a more differentiated way, and realize a dramatic improvement in qualified opportunities, boost in win rates and increase in average deal size. In short, we were able to change our customer conversations, and as a result, drive success.

The Bottom-Line

As a product marketer, in a world where product features are commoditized and oft-times indiscernible from different providers, business value can help differentiate your offerings from the competition.

More than a single study and white paper, when business value is part of a complete program using the seven steps highlighted above, you can drive more engagements, inspire quicker buyer decisions and grow your business.

To hear first hand from Steve Siegel, checkout the podcast interview: Product Marketing: How to Best Articulate Your Differentiating Value

Steve Siegel is a technology and services product marketing expert, having led significant groups, product line marketing, and innovation at firms including Clumio, ServiceNow, EMC and Nokia.

He can be reached at:

#ValueMarketing #ValueSelling #ValueManagement #ValueAcceleration #ValueStory #ROI #InteractiveContent

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