Are you Marketing a Tool or a User?

Have you ever given thought about what it is you are presenting? For software vendors, you might automatically say you’re marketing a tool. You want them interested in this tool to the point that your salespeople have a high chance coming out with a closed deal.

Take a moment to reflect though. Are you truly marketing a tool or are you marketing a user? If you want a better idea of what I mean, read the quote below:

“Today, Einstein might be looked at as a curiosity, an “interesting” man whose ideas were so out of the mainstream that a blogger would barely pay attention. Come back when you’ve got some data to support your point.”

You can find the source of this quote here at the end of a rather thought-provoking article on big data from BBC’s Syd Finkelstein. It’s been said a few times that despite the advantages of big data, can you truly say it is the replacement for human thinking?

A question like that is pretty important in marketing when you consider the kind of image you are conveying to your prospects. For example, suppose you are also marketing a big data solution.

What do your prospects see? Do they see a powerful tool that can be used effectively or something that uses itself in their place?

Here’s a breakdown on some of the differences and where to spot them in your marketing messages:

  • Prospect problems – What kind of problems do you presume a prospect to have? Is it a problem they solve while using the tool or does the tool solve that problem by itself? Do your messages inspire a sense of empowerment with the tool or do you just make them feel like they should kick back and let the machine do their work?
  • Raised expectations – Remember, your prospects would like to discuss results even before making any purchase. This is evident in the expectations they have. Will using the tool improve their performance or do they expect the tool to be the magic mirror that has all their answers already?
  • Guarantees made – Finally, the expectations that were raised can be reactions to guarantees you may have made. These could be seen on your website, your emails, or during an event. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is whether the content of your message was about offering a tool that would really help or offering something that would stand in for all the things a user should be doing.

Now there are many cases when tasks become better off delegated to the machine. Still, the opinions of those like Finkelstein speak volumes of how quickly businesses do that in our digital age. Responsibility for it lies, at least partially, on whether or not your marketing a tool or a user.

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