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Valeria

I agree that most marketing communications materials suck.

I've worked in numerous corporate communications environments doing marketing work, and here are a few of my thoughts:

1) Committees kill innovation. Endless rounds of approvals lead to what I call the 'tin can' result. Remember that childhood game where you hooked up a string to a tin can and spoke to your friends? By the time the message got to the final person on the string, it had nothing to do with the original thought!

2) Corporate communications departments operate only through "approved" wording. If the word or approach doesn't fit the pre-approved company standard - forget it - it will never get printed

3) Companies for the most part don't like to tell stories because they're afraid of what they might hear. It's easier to whip up a dry, corporate approved message than to go to the source

Thanks for a great post.

@Mike - a call to action is critical in marketing. The story needs to go far enough (connect the dots, be compelling, etc.) but, as you point out, not too far. I will build on this post with a tactical one. Admittedly, I indulged in the literary references to drive the one point home.

@Richard - love the play on your name! And thank you for sharing the good example. It sounds like there is interest in continuing this conversation at a more tactical level. That sounds good to me. I follow my readers' interests willingly.

@Doug - thank you for stopping by.

@Rod - there is a time for every purpose in the buying cycle. In the example you provide - the sales presentation - it's advisable to say how you're different, but also how you're going to solve the problem. After all, that is the reason you're presenting in the first place. Easier said than done. We feel compelled to provide proof of experience (i.e., our capabilities) before we've demonstrated we're relevant to the opportunity.

As a producer of comms materials (aka "slide monkey"), I generally try to construct what I think is a compelling story which flows from one slide to the next.

It drives me to distraction when someone then asks if you could "just drop in another chart" in the middle of it all. If it was a chart that would have added anything then it would already be in. Grrr.

And I love your chat about having a point of view and a personality. It seems that in the preparation of selling materials in particular this is taboo. I would argue that personality and point of view is the ONLY thing that differentiates one sales presentation from the next in commoditised product categories (ie. most of them). After all, the sales guy after you is probably presenting exactly the same data.

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  • The opinions blogged herein represent only those of Valeria Maltoni and do not reflect those of her employer, persons or companies mentioned herein, or anyone else.