Sometimes even experienced sales or marketing people are too close to the problem to see the solution.
As I mentioned to you a while back, we’ve recently launched Qarto, a digital content translation service that helps organizations streamline and automate the production process of localizing any kind of content.
I recently had an opportunity to place a Qarto press ad in a well-read local business journal. Of course, that meant I had to come up with an ad idea and supply the publication with artwork before their production deadline. In other words: nothing that we haven’t done 1001 times before for various publications on behalf of various clients in a number of countries around the world.
In case you didn’t notice, KEXINO is a marketing agency. Since marketing is what we do, you would think that it would be the easiest thing in the world for us to come up with a concept that clearly communicates Qarto’s business value, in the vocabulary of the customer. After all, it’s what we do for our clients every day. The one should be easy-peasy.
Except it wasn’t.
For some reason we were having an extraordinarily tough time distilling the messaging. First versions of the ad were either far too wordy, or were assuming the reader had knowledge of the intricacies of producing translations (never assume anything).
The problem that we were having is the problem that you may be having: You’re too close to your business.
Can’t See The Wood For The Trees
If you’re anything like me, then you live and breathe your business. You know all the ins and outs of your market and industry, and could be called an expert in your field.
And that’s the problem.
The problem is something happens when you have to describe your business, product, or service to someone who hasn’t been living and breathing your brand 24/7: You stumble.
Effectively, you can’t see the wood for the trees. Because you’re so intimately connected with every facet that affects your business and your industry, it becomes difficult to see yourself in the eyes of your customer. You can no longer be objective. You know too much.
Fortunately, there is a cure: A fresh set of eyes.
For me, that meant a call to Nick, a friend of mine in the UK who understood the concept of Qarto, but without knowing all the bells and whistles of the service.
Nick’s runs his own advertising and graphic design agency. He’s used to working with clients to reduce the messaging and communication of a brand to its most essential, and fundamental. Though I’m sure he’s less used to going through that process with a company that professes to do the same thing for its own clients…
Anyway, over the course of the next few days Nick and I brainstormed and fleshed-out the concept of an ad. Before we knew it, the artwork was ready and sent over to the publisher. We were both really happy with the result (and both took credit for the idea).
Don’t Try To Market Yourself (Even If You’re In Marketing)
Creating messaging, positioning, and communications for your own product is almost certainly going to fail you. Even if your business is marketing – as ours is – it’s too easy to fall into the very same traps that we warn our clients to avoid.
Knowledge is a blessing – as well as a curse. Regardless of how well you know your business, your industry and your market, you should call upon a third-party to question the assumptions that you’re making – probably unconsciously – in your strategy, your messaging and your execution.
So, how was my ad received? Well, the publication comes out at the end of the month.
I’ll keep you posted.