Thursday, October 2, 2008

How to Use a Corporate Gobbledygook Sales Brochure

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From personal experience and conversations with many experts in the business -to-business field, there is reasonable agreement that most corporate sales, marketing and PR lingo suffers from ...

"The Four Too’s."

  • Too wordy

  • Too complex

  • Too confusing

  • Too valueless

Agree or Disagree?

Why is that?

Essentially it boils down to:

  1. Trying to be all things to all people at all times

  2. Not knowing you can’t be all things to all people at all times

  3. Trying to sound really sophisticated, cool, intelligent, intricate and inclusive

And finally, the biggie, not understanding your customer/buyer. They only want one thing. Understand this. You exist to solve a problem for them.

In a recent technology analyst study of executives who were likely to buy enterprise software (high dollar amount purchases typically), it was discovered that large ERP vendors promoted speeds, feeds and technology innovation to their marketplace.

And buyers? Not so much.

Eschew Obfuscation

These promotions more often than not entail lengthy and wordy descriptive obfuscations. Yes, I know what the word means. I’m trying to sound really sophisticated, cool, intelligent and inclusive. (Didn't work, did it?)

But Guess What?

Buyers don’t care about that. They don't care about the sales brochures with their pandemically infected corporate gobbledygook word, or the 182 PowerPoint slide presentation -- both infested with words drained of all meaning.


They essentially want one thing: understanding.

Simple understanding.

Clear, short, concise messages and understanding.

Understanding of What?

Understanding them, their businesses, their processes, problems.

You're Only There for One Reason

Understanding that the only reasons you are there is to help them solve a problem -- or introduce them to an idea that will make them better, or their life easier in some way.

They don’t want or need the wordy intellectual technical features and functions tomes.

Keep it simple! Less is more. More of less is less of more which is, besides confusing ... great! We need more of less.

Many an executive has spun wildly hilarious tales of the innovative creative ways they have used sales brochures. Soon a corporate sales brochure may rival Duct Tape for the many ways they can be ill-used.


It's based upon a true story.

Typically executives throw away all the cutesy, excessively long-winded corporate gobbbledygook brochures as soon as the sales person leaves the room.

Or they will store them on a large dusty file cabinet -- until they find a need for useless paper.

Some other findings of the analyst study were interesting as well.

Buyers would pay for

  • high integrity,

  • fast return on investment,

  • inexpensive operation,

  • easy implementation, and

  • excellent service.

But how is that different from 20-30-40 years ago? And isn’t that applicable to any buyer? Any industry? Any country?

Buyers Want What They Want

Buyers are pretty basic. They want what they want. Understanding and practicality.

Would You Buy From This Company?

"We provide"

  • low integrity,

  • no return on investment,

  • expensive products,

  • hard-to-implement products, and

  • the world’s worst customer service.

Just a wild guess ... but I’m thinking not.

The Value Of Being a Simpleton

I like simple messages (I’m a simpleton) that give me four tools to combat the four too’s.

The Four Tools

  1. What do you do?

  2. How do you do it?

  3. What makes you different from your competitors?

  4. Why should I buy from you (value proposition)?

I know.

Too simple.

But, having recently read this message,

"We build, sell and support hypothetical superluminal quantum particle applications with ERP, CRM, BPM, MRM and PLM functionality targeted at vertical market particularities with platform-neutral ‘LMNOP" interoperability.’ "

I find I still prefer

  1. What do you do?

  2. How do you do it?

  3. What makes you different from your competitors?

  4. Why should I buy from you (value proposition)?


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