Meat or Bread? Can Your Customers Tell What You DO?

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A roommate once pulled a tin of something from the depths of our shared fridge, fogged over in a carpet of blue-green mold and asked - ‘Is this meat? Or bread?’

(Hey we were young professionals, and were rarely home at the same time.)

But it comes to mind every time I pull up a website or look at a company’s collateral - is it meat? Or is it bread? What the heck IS it?

Too often, marketeers try to pack EVERYTHING a company does, or a product is, in a single website or piece of collateral. Or tries to describe it to catch every possible application or customer need. Trying to be everything to everyone means your message, and even identity, isn’t clear, and thats actually driving customers away and lowering your perceived ‘brand.’

If customers can’t tell what you do within a fraction of a second, if they’re not sure if you’re an importer, a reseller, a solution builder, a manufacturer, a news site or what - you have a problem!

Because thats exactly what every customer to your site is thinking. If they can’t figure it out - they have no reason to stick around. All the social media campaigning and event sponsoring in the world will be frittered away. If your message is generic and muddied - how can a customer get excited about what you offer?

The most common problem technology company sites have is the top line menu - its always PRODUCTS, SOLUTIONS, RESOURCES, etc. and a picture of happy people doing… something and pointing at stuff. How does that tell a customer what you DO? If they have to click and click to try to piece together what you do and if it fits what they need - they’ll just leave. And it will be harder to win them back next time.

If you have this problem - its time to take a hard look at what the new customer experience is when first looking you over. Its time to really think about how you can convey what you DO, and what you STAND FOR powerfully and succinctly - in even a fraction of second.

The discussions and insights this exercise generates are transformative - look at it as opportunity to refocus your entire team on your company values and mission, how you best help customers get their work done and THEN make sure that its communicated at every touch point.

When you’re clearly communicating your identity, what you do, and why thats important, the customer now has a powerful reason to engage with you, learn more, and champion what you do to others.

Here’s a checklist to know if you’re making progress:

  • Can a new customer intuit what kind of business we are and what you do in a fraction of a second?
  • Can seasoned customers still find what they need quickly?
  • Am I trying to get too many messages across at once?
  • Can I ‘progressively inform’ the customer at their pace, instead of trying to force feed everything at once?
  • Is the ‘voice’ (how you describe what you do) simple, conversational, friendly without being obsequious, and natural?
  • Do I allow multiple ways for a customer to engage based on their comfort level?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to many of these - you’re well on the way to crafting concise, memorable content that customers actually want to read and engage with. You’ll love what happens next to your social media engagements and sales pipeline.

Whats your experience? What’s your ‘meat or bread?’ moment?