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.