Professional => Web presence => Topic started by: JTT on November 28, 2014, 11:42:48 AM

Title: Quick Marketing Tips
Post by: JTT on November 28, 2014, 11:42:48 AM
I have had the blessing of being able to work with some really excellent companies on their marketing materials. One particular client is known for making lightweight gear and had a somewhat high profile roll out of gear that, at the time, was revolutionary in design, materials, construction methods, and light weight. I was brought in after the initial roll out to help write some product descriptions to be used in print and on the web.

When the product was initially released, the marketing push was all about the weight. People who had actually put hands on it could vouch for its extreme durability but those who had just seen press releases were commenting in public venues that it looked/sounded flimsy and that it wouldn't last regardless of the reality that it will likely outlast traditional MOLLE gear. Some of this misconception could likely be attributed to people' resistance to change (the product was very different) but I think it also came down to how it was marketed. The marketing did not account for the preconceived notions of potential customers.

When you are marketing your own products, try to think of all the ways your words can be perceived. A word like "lightweight" can be perceived to mean weak or flimsy rather than just lighter in weight than a similar product. "That dude is a lightweight!" "Cheap" may mean inexpensive to you but it might mean poor quality to your customer. "Over built" may make someone think a product is heavy or complex rather than just durable. "Simplified" or "streamlined" design may make your customer think your price should be lower since you now spend less time producing the product. There are tons of examples like this.

Create Some Guidelines...

In the above example, the solution was to create a set of marketing rules/marketing glossary/style guide (whatever you want to call it) to help ensure consistent communication. We decided that the term lightweight would never be used unless durability is also emphasized. I highly suggest that you develop your own guidelines for how you market your products and then stick to your guidelines (they can, of course, change over time). It will help you remain consistent in the message that you are delivering and builds your overall brand.

Features AND Benefits...

Also consider how you can spell out not only features, but benefits to your end user. Don't take for granted that your customer will understand that your new, simpler chest rig is more durable because there are less potential failure points and lighter in weight. If your chest rig has simplified design that makes it lighter in weight and more durable, the simplified design is a feature. The benefit is the lighter weight and improved durability. Don't leave those benefits up to the customer to infer because, as you can see from the above example, a lot of them will get it wrong.

The real challenge is to then distill all of those features and benefits into a blurb that is short enough for someone to actually read.
Title: Re: Quick Marketing Tips
Post by: Shaddox Tactical on November 28, 2014, 06:43:42 PM
Great advice Matt.  I know this is one area I am very week in and constantly stuggle with.  Thanks for these tips.  Creating a marketing glossary and/or style guide is  something I will have to do and be more mindfull of how simple words have different meanings in different context. 
Title: Re: Quick Marketing Tips
Post by: HRO on December 01, 2014, 04:58:55 AM
This is something that has become glaringly obvious to me in the last few months. I've sent kit out to guys (who aren't dummies) to try out & thought, 'They're into this kind of gear, they'll figure it out & get the gist'.
How often do they figure it out & get the gist? Hardly ever! Even though my gear isn't rocket science because I approach certain things differently most people simply don't get it. I accept that I'll have to outline & explain every feature that may be unfamiliar or done differently from what they're used to. Youtube is going to be my primary avenue of explaining the gear, unfortunately it means people will have to watch & listen to me.
Title: Re: Quick Marketing Tips
Post by: JTT on December 01, 2014, 05:09:07 PM

Some guys are quicker on the up take than others. If the reviewer isn't catching what you are trying to accomplish with a piece of gear... there is a good chance your customer isn't either. It is always best to have effective marketing materials that spell out features and connect those features to benefits for the customer.

If you go the YouTube route, create a quality script/storyboard and stick to it. That will help you hit all your marketing points an prevent rambling. As a consumer, I appreciate a video that is succinct. No consumer is expecting a review from the manufacturer - just an overview.

Title: Re: Quick Marketing Tips
Post by: BOgear on December 02, 2014, 12:31:25 AM
@HRO, I too do a fair few YouTube videos to overview products, or explain individual features. As @JTT suggests, I follow a script (always the same intro, content, always the same conclusion), although I sometimes do ramble/stumble over my words because I absolutely love what I do (and know enthusiasm rubs off on people - plus I'm not afraid to make a fool of myself on camera, which also kind of helps with a connection even if you are only "online"). I figure my biggest barrier to sales is not having the bag in front of the customer, so try to replicate this as best as possible, and videos seemed like the best and easiest way. I do tend to "over educate" so people know what the features are and actually ask for them (after having watched a pile of my videos). The flipside is not explaining a feature so the customer doesn't understand it, which leaves your hard design work pretty much useless (or worse, complained about: "I can't believe they put a buckle here").

My YouTube channel for examples (its a constant work in progress) (

I haven't done it myself, but if you were to send a product to a tester, make them watch a video first so they are up to speed. At the least they get an idea if the product is for them (before you post it), and at the best they help restate your brand message (as @JTT says with the guidelines).

@HRO I haven't shown you the upstairs section of my studio, but you are more than welcome to come over and use the set up to get some videos going. I've got everything you need; lights, camera, lav mic, external sound recorder, table. You just need to provide a suitable backdrop; pink walls probably isn't your thing! :)
Title: Re: Quick Marketing Tips
Post by: HRO on December 02, 2014, 04:30:46 PM
Yeah picking up what you're both putting down. I'd definitely have a methodical outline to work through & wouldn't be afraid to do a few practice runs before going 'live'. Maintaining consistency is something I'm really striving for. One thing that seriously puts me off as a customer is not receiving a consistent result for whatever it is I'm paying money for. One way I'm addressing this for my vids is having the same intro & conclusion as well as product explanation in the vids. They are often your first interaction with the customer so you'd better make it count.

At work we have an acronym (what Gov dept doesn't?????) for learning & presenting equipment. DUCOT: Description, Use, Construction, Operation, Testing. Obviously not all headings are applicable but by selecting appropriate subjects you can build your own acronym/outline to match your gear.

@GOGear, that's an awesome offer mate! I'll be touching base at the end of the week to arrange our next RV.

Thanks guys! Really enjoying this site.