Splunking: impressive messaging all B2B marketers should aspire to.

While working on a recent B2B marketing project for a software client, I checked out Splunk, a provider of operational intelligence solutions. And I must say, I was totally blown away by their messaging. I can’t say that I’m a IT Director or CIO (their prospect I’m guessing), but I’ve gotta say, their approach is dead brilliant. In literally under 30 seconds, I completely get what they do technically on two important levels:

1. Emotional (‘Listen to Your Data – It’s Trying to Tell You Something’)

2. Intellectual (showing their awesome dashboard in the video)

That’s pretty impressive. Plus they support their claim with business case arguments, which are also backed up with impressive big brand case studies. If I were a director or C-level prospect, I’d be picking up the phone, I’d want to know more.

Am I being overly naive here, or should we all be taking a lesson from this? Splunk simply follows B2B marketing principles to the letter. In my 30-second first impression, they did not mention a single feature, only big picture benefits. They told me what they could do for me (benefits), not how they do it (features).

I’m offering this short post here today, only becuase  it’s rare to see such well-executed B2B communications such as Splunk. While I don’t give them huge kudos for their aesthetic design, the brand approach from a messaging standpoint was literally flawless. I know nothing about operational intelligence solutions, yet in less than a minute I can see what a cool solution Splunk offers.

That’s a principle all B2B marketer should aspire to.

Spotlight, a bold new sub-brand from our friends at Unimax.

Our longtime client, telecom software provider, Unimax is doing some smart new things in this rapidly changing and uncertain marketplace. They’ve created a new product based on the specific needs of a subset of their customer base, and have created a delicious new interface designed to give the user the tools they need to manage daily tasks. What you see below is our design concepts for a microsite we’ll develop in WordPress in the near future. Can’t wait to get started on that.

 

 

 

Branding 101: three distinct types of taglines, and when to use them in your brand’s lifecycle.

best slogan or tagline

I’m was recently working with DemandQuest Marketing Institute on a few minor branding and marketing issues, when the subject of taglines came up.  Their website tagline read DemandQuest – Achieve Marketing Clarity. That sounded nice, but was it the right approach for a startup company specializing in marketing training? It dawned on me when I picked up their promotional pen they gave me at one of their seminars. It read DemandQuest – Marketing Institute. Not surprisingly, whoever made the decision to use that tagline had the correct instincts. Because, in the realm of branding and using taglines, there are three very distinct types, all used for different purposes at different phases of of the brand lifecycle:

  1. The Descriptor — In DemandQuest’s case, or any start-up unknown in the marketplace, this is the safest approach. Your tagline should simple describe who you are and what we do, in simple, straightforward terms. We’re not trying to get cute in any way: DemandQuest Marketing Institute. That’s pretty clear to anyone on any first impression, stating precisely who we are and what we do. This approach is perfect for the new business with a new brand when clarity is absolutely critical, and ambiguity is dangerous. If you want your tagline to work a little harder, try the next approach.
  2. The Selling Proposition — We’ve all seen these, the mini-slogan that states your value proposition in 3-5 words. For example, ‘Johnson Printing – top quality, lower prices.’ Personally I hate these, because they make you look needy, unless of course you’ve really got a great selling proposition, and you can pare it down to 3-5 words, like ‘the quicker picker upper’ or ‘good to the last drop’ or something catchy. Unfortunately, most start-ups don’t have the dough to pay a big-time writer  to create something like that. It’s not to say that a straightforward selling proposition or brand promise won’t work. Just keep it simple. Not sure what DemandQuest would use in this scenario, but ‘Achieve Marketing Clarity’ was not a bad attempt, it just muddied the message. It was more like the next approach.
  3. Aspirational — Finally, if your brand is all grown up, and well established in the marketplace, you may want to consider this approach. It speaks more to your philosophy, than your value proposition. Obviously, ‘Just do it’ is one of the all time greatest, and is perhaps best example of taking a brand to the next level where it’s not about the product anymore. This approach is more about connecting on a human level about a value, or just saying ‘hey, we’re just like you.