Communications: If there is one role that marketing must play in every
organization, it is taking the complex and making it simple. I don’t mean
dumbing down information; I mean succinct and precise words to convey benefits
to stakeholders along the value chain.
A marketing colleague who works in the software/technology
industry was relating to me how the company he works for has a team of IT
professionals who are brilliant. But he has to translate their genius into meaningful English so that customers
can appreciate the benefit their software offers clients. But his dilemma is
that he has multiple audiences he needs to reach and each one speaks a
different language. His three targets to
communicate with are purchasing agent, technical managers and marketing management.
Marketing must be the translator.
His metaphor for me was Google Translate. He said that he often thinks that his role as head of marketing is to put their key message and benefit into a translator, and to set the language for purchasing manager, quality assurance or marketing team.
|Google Translate: Explaining an idea to different stakeholders|
Why the marketing department needs to be CTO (Chief Translating
Not all stakeholders
in the sales cycle have the same motive: I bet that you have multiple
stakeholders you need to influence to complete a sale. You probably have more
than one influencer and more than one decision maker in the sales cycle. Each one needs to have the benefit of your
product/solution/service translated into language they can understand.
- The buyer or purchasing manager
might need to understand how you will save them money and that doesn’t mean a
- The technical manager may need to
understand how you will improve performance and quality.
- The marketing team may need to
understand how you will improve their image.
|I'm trying to sell you something but you need something else|
The essence of the
message must be consistent:
to share the same type of message to the different audiences but they need
different cues or examples to process this information. This is no different
than writing a statement of benefits in English and translating it into French,
Italian and German. If you use Google Translate, the meaning won’t really come
through even though you have a rough idea. You must get crystal clear with the
right word or phrase to explain the benefit.
By example, if you are selling a very expensive product that
the purchasing manager will resist, you need to clearly explain how your
product will save on the total cost of ownership for their clients. Maybe your
product, although more expensive, will prevent breakage, which could be very
costly to the quality assurance team.
Your translation has to put the benefit into words purchasing will
understand. “Our product will save you money on your complete solution”.
|Uncovering the message|
The real world challenge is that within most companies,
different influencers on the sale don’t talk. Quality, purchasing and marketing
can be in different universes with little interaction. For this reason, it only underscores the
importance of speaking to each group with language that convinces them that
your product will help them solve their problem.
A foam packaging company that I used to work for once
approached an appliance manufacturer with a brilliant packaging solution to
protect their appliances. They had a damage rate of 7% which translated into
millions of dollars. The purchasing agent balked at paying 50% more for our
product. There incremental spending was $50,000 to save over $10,000,000 yet the purchasing agent was focused on keeping his total purchases under a certain level so he'd get his bonus. We had to convince him of the big picture.
When we returned and showed the true value of what we had to offer, he
saw the solution in a different light because the company could have saved
millions on incremental costs for this component. We presented a cost of
quality to him- not a selling price. By rephrasing and repositioning our
message, we helped him understand the issue from a fresh perspective.
|Getting it right|
Selling is a complicated communications problem. Marketing
can help by translating and positioning arguments so that the audience
understands what is being said in a way that is relevant to them. The marketing
team must support the sales network so they can bring the right words to
I like that my last name is embedded in this word. If you work in marketing, are you a translator to?
Labels: cost of quality, Marketing Moments, translations