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The Past is Still Part of our Present

We were invited to chair a session at the recent Telecom APIs event in Munich. As part of our engagement we gave a short presentation on the importance of so-called ‘legacy’ technologies in enabling today’s networks.

The short message is that SS7 is alive and kicking and just as important to Tier 2 and 3 operators as it ever was. Take a look at our presentation to find out more.

3 tips for killer marketing messages

Effective technology marketing means communicating the benefits of a complex product or service in a clear and concise way. While that sounds simple enough, shaping the right message to support your value proposition requires careful thought.

How do you communicate the value of a complex, specialised solution or service? How do you ensure that you succintly capture the essence of what you do in simple memorable language?

How can you ensure that you get your point across clearly and without confusion?

There’s a lot to consider when creating a killer marketing message but if you follow these three guidelines you should be able to

1 – Find out what you do

Do you really know what you do? This might seem like a slightly bizarre question but the first step to getting your messaging right is making sure that you have a clear and uncluttered view of exactly what you do, who you do it for and the problems that you solve.

It’s not as simple as it sounds, you may have different value propositions for different segments within your market. You may find that customers are buying from you for reasons you didn’t expect.

Go back to basics. Speak to existing customers and pick the brains of your sales team to try to find out what really sells your product. Once you’ve established exactly what that core value is you’ll be on your way to creating an effective message.

2 – Never assume that your customer has your level of expertise or industry knowledge.

We often come across high-level marketing copy that’s clearly been written by an expert for an expert. While that’s ideal for detailed technical information it’s not necessarily so effective for headline marketing material.

A whole mix of people might be involved in the purchasing process for a complex technical product, and many of these may not have a technical background. To enjoy success with a large decision-making unit that’s likely to be composed of finance people, purchasers and marketers as well as engineers, your message needs to be pitched at the right level. Your target audience shouldn’t have to spend time working out what it is you offer, so make it easy for them. Assume nothing and you won’t go far wrong.

3 – Get straight to the value, the details can wait.

Technical people live for detail, it’s what differentiates them from us marketing folk but there’s a time and a place for ‘information’. Your high level marketing message is not that place.

Keep in mind that your audience is bombarded with thousands of marketing messages every day, from the smiley face on the cereal box to the glossy white paper from your competitor, they’ll be filtering out marketing noise all day long and making instantaneous judgements on what is and what isn’t relevant to them.

To cut through that noise, you need to make your marketing message bold, succinct and memorable. The best way to do this is to focus on the value you deliver. If you can communicate that value with clarity you’ll capture your target’s attention and provoke his curiosity.

Who gives a Fax? Passenger Pigeon or Coelacanth?

It’s not a decision I’ve taken lightly but the occasion of our updated branding, which inevitably resulted in swish (we think) new business cards, also led Rob to ask me if we still needed to list our fax number. Removing it cuts down clutter and makes the design more uniform. Although I’m rather attached to my fax number and, seven years ago, it took me ages to find a good bi-directional fax to email service (most of them are unidirectional – that is, inbound only), I’ve gone with our Creative Director and deleted it.

The faxs of the matter are that I used it about twice a year. Some companies used to insist on using it for exchanging NDA but it’s been ages since anyone asked. I’ve used it for confirming hotel reservations too, but again a scan sent by email seems to be universally acceptable nowadays.

And so, it’s gone. I still have a fax line and will continue to pay for it, which makes it highly profitable for the provider (and a bit stupid of me), but it’s largely – well, almost entirely – redundant for us.

And yet there are plenty of providers still offering fax services. We have friends in the fax industry. Someone still uses them and many make money from them. It remains in certain niches, such as the legal profession, financial services and so on, which doubtless provide good business but the end must be in sight. Of course, these are hardly niches but really mega industries, so if you are in the fax game, then there’s presumably still quite an opportunity to provide a kind of combined fax and secure storage business.

But the faxt is that fax alone is heading for the fate of the passenger pigeon. Blended with something else (such as secure storage, as we note), it’s likely to remain for quite some time, like some sort of prehistoric survivor (see headline). And of course, the Coelacanth may be endangered, but they seem to thrive in the fastness of the ocean depths.

Even so, I feel we have contributed to that end by deleting it from our business cards (another passenger pigeon died today). I doubt I’ll be asked if we have a fax line again – and if that’s true, I’ll cut the service in a year. Meanwhile, if you want to send me a fax, you’ll have to send me an email first…