Ellen Cline, writer
Creative communication that markets, informs, and entertains

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You Know Too Much

Author: ; Published: Dec 14, 2009; Category: Business Writing, Message Simplicity; Tags: ; No Comments

“It’s so obvious, why doesn’t anyone seem to understand what we do?” Well, it’s not and they won’t get it if you keep explaining it to them the same way you always have. Let’s face it:  You know too much.

This happens sometimes to people in companies that offer technical products and services. So it might seem that it’s just about things being too advanced and specialized for us non-rocket scientists to get. But no, it can happen to just about any company, no matter what they sell.

You see, you know your product or service inside out. So it seems perfectly simple to you. But you spend every waking hour (and maybe even some dream time) thinking about this thing—the rest of us don’t. You’re immersed in this world that you are privileged to belong to, but nobody else, even your potential clients, lives there.

Your customers, they might live in the same solar system, so yes, they should have some background and care about your world. But they’re busy and distracted, so you need to make it easier for them to understand.

To simplify your messages, it generally takes moving back a few steps to get an objective view. Or maybe a bit farther than that to capture the proverbial 10,000-foot view. And it’s going to be hard for you to do this alone, because like we’ve just been talking about, you know too much.

So think about who your customers and potential customers might be. What do they care about? What do they need? How does your product or service fill that need?

This all may seem so obvious and Marketing 101. But sometimes we all need to be reminded. Getting an outsider to help you get a more objective take on your key points can make all the difference.

If it’s technical, try explaining it to this outside person as if they were in kindergarten. You want the big points, not every technical detail. Even if you have 25 great features, try narrowing it down to three, or even better, one.

Later you can use the details if they support your top points. You know, there’s this benefit provided by that feature, and here’s how and why (the finer points) for the people who care.

This is the first step to creating targeted marketing messages, which is the first step of creating effective marketing materials.

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