Linkedin inspired me this week. It offered a great example of the incredible disconnect between marketing, communications, brand and sales functions in some companies. There are still some companies that seem to operate without a clear strategic direction or purpose, which totally floors me.
Shotgun business development and sales practices can effectively kill your company, break brand promises (assuming they are articulated) and eliminate any credibility with your product and service offering…before any sale has been made. Savvy marketers and brand strategists have been pounding collaboration and integration of these concepts for years, yet some companies still don’t seem to get it. There’s no better example than one in real life, so let me share.
Subject: Mobile App Strategy for Feral Creative on SmartPhones & Tablets
On the surface, this seems pretty innocuous. Apparently, I share a network or group connection with this “business development executive”. However, three things quickly derail this individual’s and their company’s credibility and brand promise.
1) They didn’t qualify me as a relevant lead for their product/service offering.
2) The message is poorly crafted, inarticulate and passive.
3) There is a major disconnect between marketing strategy and their product offering.
If sales/business development took the time to attempt to qualify me as a viable prospect, they would realize Feral Creative doesn’t need a mobile app strategy. However, my clients might. Therefore, I am not the intended target to buy their offering as presented. I could surely influence a purchase decision with a client who may need a mobile app strategy, but I won’t.
Crafting a Relevant Message
Aside from the passive language used in the email, “I would like to share” and “that would help”, there are some other glaring errors. Run-on sentences are confusing and irritating. “BLANK is among the world’s largest companies for custom and multiplatform mobile application development having built 100s of apps and working with clients such as CISCO”…blah, blah, blah. Clearly, this executive isn’t a communications professional.
“Our corporate brochure can be downloaded” – another passive statement. I also don’t see a relevant or engaging call to action for me. I’m curious why I’m even receiving this. But, I like to play along. I attempt to download the corporate brochure (but, only after I looked up the company’s public website to ensure its legitimacy) and that’s when it all comes together.
Major Disconnect Between Marketing Strategy, Sales and Product Offering
As a company who sells mobile app development, why are you directing me to download your corporate brochure? Using a brochure to try to sell a mobile platform is completely irrelevant. But, I humor them and from my iPad click the download link and wait. Unfortunately, Safari cannot download the file: “download failed.” That’s a bummer for a company who builds “custom and multiplatform mobile applications.” On my mobile device, I can’t open their link.
Intrigued, I go sit in front of my iMac to try to download the file from the given URL. This time, the awesome bandwidth from my Internet provider obliges. After about a minute, the file download completes and I see why I can’t access it on a mobile device: IT’S 25 MB AND 38 PAGES!! Where do I even start with all that is wrong with this?!
Irrelevant strategy to their offering? Yes.
Poor messaging and call to action? Yes.
Bad grammar? Yes.
Broken brand promises? Yes.
Attempting to elevate your credibility by name dropping clients?! Yes, then…
…sending me to a URL (that doesn’t work) on a mobile device and eventually seeing a 38-page pdf file as your proof point?!
This is a great example of how some companies fail to “get it” strategically, lack collaboration internally, and don’t enforce strict brand guidelines, practices and communications throughout the company. However, I was encouraged that they wanted my input, so I responded.
“BLANK, thanks for your note. I am not currently in need of mobile app development, but I appreciate you reaching out. I do suggest that your company take steps to reduce the file size of the corporate brochure download, and make it relevant to specific audiences that you’re targeting instead of a mash-up of what BLANK does for every client in every industry.
At 25 MB, your company’s corporate brochure is HUGE, unwieldy (38 pages, is that really something you expect people will read, especially on an iPHONE?), and it doesn’t support your brand of building effective multi-platform mobile app solutions. Can you imagine a prospect attempting to download a 25 MB file on a mobile device? I tried on iPAD 3 times in 3 different locations via 3G AND WiFi, and Safari could not download such a HUGE file.
Instead, maybe your company should hire me as their marketing VP so I can help direct a more relevant marketing and sales strategy; develop a targeted social media strategy that complements the offering; and create more effective “collateral” that is not a band-width hog on mobile devices and is relevant to your company’s brand of multi-platform mobile app development.
This will be the topic of my next blog. You can read it and share the link once it’s published (likely by Monday, January 23) at http://drakemanning.com . Don’t worry, I won’t use your name or BLANK’s, but I will have a lot of fun with it.”
If there is any doubt that crafting a relevant strategy to promote a company’s products and services is critical to its success, this example surely sends a convincing message. Please, if you have any direct or tangential influence over marketing and business development functions, share this with your colleagues. Don’t let poor marketing strategy drive even worse sales practices. And, definitely, don’t let sales and business development functions kill your company, your credibility and your brand. It all needs to work in tandem through collaboration, and it all needs to be well established from a strategic platform.
Sorry BLANK, you lost me.