Communicating to the market who you are, what you do and why you are important
The Client: Private Social Networks (PSN), a vendor of social network technologies for the healthcare industry.
The Situation: PSN was a bootstrap start-up whose outbound marketing communications were not working.
Silicon Strategies’ Role: Conduct brand and market message investigations in order to focus all of PSN’s marketing communications.
Foreshadow: Within months of our revising PSN’s messaging, IDC included PSN in their annual Innovative Software Companies Under $100M to Watch report.
Initial Observations: PSN had a problem many start-ups do, namely a failure to focus on the motivations of target buyers in their messaging. Their web site and collateral did not mention the primary motivations of their buyers or how PSN’s solutions addressed those motivations.
- There was no discussion of the business issues hospitals faced.
- There were no high-level value propositions concerning PSN products.
- Combined, there was no connection between the market’s problem and PSN’s solution.
Identifying brand and value: Silicon Strategies Marketing conducted a series of discovery exercises which forced PSN’s management team to articulate their brand and their value propositions. With these, Silicon Strategies composed PSN’s core marketing messages and top-line value propositions (which commonly appear as headlines on the PSN web site). The processes included:
- Two phases of brand identification, including a short/intensive centering statement and a longer brand essence articulation.
- Documenting key buyer genotypes and their primary motivations.
- Creation and distillation of PSN’s three core market messages.
From this foundation, all PSN marketing materials evolved including:
- Their entire web site.
- Their sales brochure.
- Their ever-present “circle of care” diagram that guides sales discussions.
The Results: The results were very positive:
- Testing of market messages and communication tools at trade shows demonstrated instant cognition for both product value and function.
- Early sales phases were shortened since buyers bypassed difficult discovery/learning processes.
- PSN moved aggressively forward with venture financing.
- Foremost, clarity of communications begins with fundamental messages.
- If you do not articulate and simplify your brand and messages, you cannot communicate them to the market.
- Effective messaging makes products easier to understand and thus easier to buy.