Saturday, January 23, 2010

Marketing Message Missives for the Cleantech Sector

Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve no doubt heard of ‘cleantech,’ the catch-all category that includes products and services for energy, water, construction, transportation, food and more. In 2008 alone, cleantech gobbled up $8 billion in venture capital funds.

Here’s how John Doer sums of the market potential of cleantech: “The Internet is a $1 trillion industry serving 1.2 billion people... while energy is a $6 trillion industry serving 4 billion people.” What does this mean? Well, the cleantech market has the potential to be at least 6x bigger.

As products and services go from proof-of-concept to ready-to-deliver, it becomes our job to make sure they are positioned for success. Marketers need to focus on grabbing mind and market share. Cleantech is unique in that its products and services aim to address life critical issues, and this requires a different approach when it comes to messaging.

Here are three tips to keep in mind when approaching cleantech content and messaging:

  • Emphasize the practical. It’s tempting to lead with claims as to how such and such technology will save the environment and address global warming but the reality is, if the solution doesn’t have demonstrable financial and ROI benefits, the appeal will be short-lived.

  • Look at all messaging holistically. Define the brand and build your messaging around it. Sounds basic, I know. But so many cleantech company founders believe their technology will sell itself and pay little attention to designing structured messaging centered on a strong brand. From whitepapers to PowerPoints to websites to one-line mantras, consistency in tone and structure remain critical for creating a consistent theme and impression throughout the user experience.

  • Translate the technical differentiators into solutions and outcomes that your target audience can feel. Many cleantech companies are so focused on technology for technology’s sake that they forget to translate the technical merits into compelling benefits.

If you are interested in learning more about messaging strategy for cleantech-related marketing efforts, sign up for a free 60-minute brainstorm with one of our communications strategists.

This post was authored by guest blogger and Clarus Agency partner Marc Pomerleau. Clarus works with KLM to develop marketing programs in the cleantech space.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Please, Mr. Marketer, please: Put your webinar in the wayback machine

...and give me something to write on!

The last several webinars I've attended were not exactly the "engaging, actionable information-packed experiences" they claimed to be.

Why? With each one, I spent about 45 minutes in front my screen, either being lulled to sleep by a monotone (and non-voiceover trained) presenter, or fighting the urge to stick something in my eye. Maybe it's the latent investigate reporter in me, but pouring through articles with a pen (or mouse) in hand, underlining or cutting and pasting, getting excited and clicking like crazy is a much more engaging experience.

That's not to say that webinars don't have their place. And properly (and succinctly) done, they can by dynamic, interactive and effective at delivering your message to the right people.

So when you put together your next webinar, please consider the following tips:

  • If in the past your moderator has been caught not paying attention and had to say, "I'm sorry, can you repeat that?" then something is very, very wrong.
  • If the assumption of the reasonably knowledgeable presenter is that he/she is a genius and all attendees are idiots, do everyone a favor and state this upfront.
  • Provide easily accessed and downloadable slides, talking points and supplementary information. Remember, the point is that you have valuable information or insight that you want people to absorb (and use).
Call me old school and color me Web -3.0, but that?s my $.02.

Friday, December 18, 2009

@ omgzam: KUTGW

In a December 17 post on Social Media Today titled 10 Tips to Get Retweeted, author omgzam instructed us to “use longer words and more syllables.”

“Avoid abbreviations and emoticons but instead use better language with more syllables,” he wrote. “Don’t treat everyone on Twitter as stupid.”

While I don’t necessarily agree that better language and more syllables necessarily go hand-in-hand, to his raising the issue of language I say, “Hallelujah.” That’s a four syllable word for anyone who is counting.

As a long-time admirer of the written word, I wholeheartedly applaud the use of phrases such as “my condolences” rather than ☹. And I’ve always been more partial to “excuse me for one moment” than “BRB.”

My love of words aside, B2B marketers take note: Yes, your customers are busy. No, you shouldn’t waste their time or make them work too hard to understand what you have to offer them. But you shouldn’t dumb down your messages, either. Nor should you abbreviate every word so you can tell them everything your product has ever done and everything it ever might do.

Use your 140 characters wisely, not as an abbreviation or an emoticon dumping ground. That’s just my $.02. And KUTGW? According to, it means “keep up the good work.”

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Receive, open, click, ugh!

So you think you have the perfect email campaign, do ya? You have a killer offer, a targeted and segmented list, you’ve followed all the best practices when it comes to design and copy and then what – you send them to your corporate home page – no that’s just not right!

Five do’s for landing pages:

  1. Do support your brand – don’t damage it. Be sure the creative maintains your brand image. The page should be simple and consistent to the campaign that is directing your visitors. The idea here is to compel your visitors to take action, not to distract them, and turn them into prospects.
  2. Do keep forms simple/ short – don’t make visitors work too hard to get the offer/more information. You want them to supply essential information so you can contact them directly – you are not looking to write their biography.
  3. Do keep them focused – don’t include tons of links that can distract the visitor. You want them to focus on the prize, not everything else going on at your company.
  4. Do entice visitors with valuable content – don’t include information on your landing page that they can get anywhere else. This is your chance to show your value – make it worth their time and effort.
  5. Do build on the lead – don’t just collect their data and forget about them, after all that work you just did, that’s ridiculous. Start building that relationship and turn that visitor into the customer you’ve always wanted!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The New “Face” of PPC

If you’re like most people, when you think of venturing into the world of Pay-Per-Click advertising, the first name that pops into your mind is good ol’ Google. And with good reason – they are the biggest and have the easiest user interface and reporting structure available – in the humble opinion of this blogger.

But there are some drawbacks. (Insert clap of thunder here.) No matter how well you target and refine your PPC efforts, you’re still at the whim of random people that have no interest in your offering clicking on your ad.

Enter Facebook PPC with its nifty, handy-dandy demographic targeting ability.

This means, simply, that your ads will only appear on the Facebook pages of the people that mirror your target audience. You can drill down and focus on age, gender, relationship status, interests, groups, the list goes on an on. With Facebook, you can be super-specific in your ad copy. Forget general statements like “Find an ideal relationship,” and focus more on “Ladies, are you 32, single, and enjoy golf?”

Now, the only drawback is that you can’t point these ads directly to your existing landing pages. It’s suggested you send them to your Facebook page and let them socialize with your brand. That’s where the beauty of social marketing comes into play. They get to know your brand, but don’t feel like they’re being hit over the head with marketing lingo.

Facebook PPC shouldn’t be a substitute for more traditional PPC efforts. But it is a great way to talk to –and befriend – your exact target for far less than you’d ever spend on Google.