Everyone likes a good story. But if your story lacks a strategic message about how you drive value for your customers and your shareholders it rings hollow. In today’s market environment, analysts and investors have no time for empty stories.
If you’re like most companies, your financial communications describes your idea of what your solution’s features and benefits are. This is natural. After all, your product or service was created to solve a specific problem that you or your leadership perceives exists in the marketplace.
But the mark of successful messaging is when customers, as well as analysts and investors sees the benefits – from their perspective. Does your solution solve a pain point for customers? Or can it make their life easier or more convenient? Will it meet their need for CYA (cover your ass)? Or help raise their profile at work?
Do analysts and investors easily understand your value proposition and how you will execute on it to drive growth and valuation? Have you clearly and realistically defined your total addressable market? Is your competitive position well fleshed out for investors?
Learning your customer’s objectives and pain points – not telling them what they are – has more value to them and to your team. When customers see the benefits of your solution from their point of view your value becomes apparent to them. They start thinking that you understand them, their needs and the pressures they’re under. This part of your content is tactical.
Your content becomes strategic when it escalates the customer’s perceived benefits beyond the immediate resolution. To do this, close the loop on how your solution will help them achieve their company’s strategic and risk management objectives, and improve their financial outcomes. This is how you transition from being a point solution vendor to a trusted partner.
Building Value into Your Messaging
Customers now do up to 80% of their research on your market, your solution and your company – before they want to engage with your sales reps. This makes your content more critical to getting short-listed than ever before. It must be nuanced to the customer’s buying cycle.
The better you understand and articulate the key fundamental drivers of your market the more integral you become to the strategy discussion. Leverage your market research and customer feedback. Share what their peers are doing.
Monitor the content customers read on your site. You’ll not only get clues into their primary interests, but also into what stage of the buying cycle they’re at.
Your content must educate, demonstrate and validate how your solution helps them achieve their business objectives. Our clients know this because we say it until we’re blue in the face.
- Educate. Educational content helps customers understand the technology and market trends. It establishes your thought leadership in shaping where your market is headed and why. This content also explains why your technology is vital to aligning IT with enterprise return on investment (ROI) and risk management objectives.
- Demonstrate. Your content messaging here focuses on specific features and benefits of your solution – from the customer’s perspective. Technical briefs get into more detail about the architecture and functionality of your solution. Importantly, this content must map to the market trends you defined in your thought leadership to show consistency in your solution.
- Validate. Case studies and/or customer testimonials show your solution in action. How did your solution solve a customer’s problem? Did it improve productivity or cut costs? Help them win market share? These are relatable examples of how your solution positively addresses what’s important to them. They follow a problem-solution-outcome pattern that maps back to the customer’s specific business objectives.
Revenues, income and cash flow are the metrics that drive valuation in either public or private markets. They reflect how a company is executing on its story.
Driving time-to-value for customers earns their satisfaction and loyalty. Companies that succeed at this attract more customers and capital. But the success of your campaigns, lead generation and close rates will be determined by how effectively you communicate to customers how you will positively impact their business to achieve their objectives.
Without these facets, a good story is just sizzle. Sizzle will turn most heads in a restaurant. But it’s the steak the customers will keep coming back for. This is the most important factor in differentiation. It’s where the value is for the customer.
Contact us. We’ll show you how to close the loop.