Marketing tech companies: No one knows what you do!

The marketing technology industry can be hard to understand. Every company seemingly gives itself a sub-category it operates in – catalog if you can the number of specializations there are in the field of getting people to Tweet about your brand. It is difficult for potential customers to understand not only what they need, but how to get it accomplished and with whom.

That’s why it’s maddening that companies do such a terrible job at explaining what it is they do in a straightforward manner.

As much as every brand would like to claim it breaks through a paradigm, their potential customers aren’t even sure what that paradigm is. And maybe they like the paradigm!  

Companies want to seem greater than what they are currently or they want to avoid some sort of pigeonhole. But potential customers who are fearful of wasting money need a clear and simple understanding of what companies do. And marketing tech companies, across the board, are failing horribly at this. 

Below, I identified four reasons how company descriptors can be very bad. In order to get the point across, I used four company examples. Rest assured there are plenty others that are guilty; hopefully those included see it as some free advice. 

Issue #1: Leading with what you are not

Here is Hootsuite’s “About Us” page:

We are not just a social relationship platform. We are not just a tech company. We are creators, innovators, and builders dedicated to revolutionizing the way you communicate.

Hootsuite is a content management software for social media. You use its services to post content on Twitter and Facebook. They also provide analytics and other features, but if you are working with Hootsuite, it is because you originally wanted to post content to your social media presences.

Compare this verbiage to that of Coca-Cola’s in a recent press release:

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world’s largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands.  

Now, Coca-Cola will want you to know it inspires happiness and is a global force for good, but it sells beverages at the end of the day. And it has near-total brand recognition. It could say it was a fun-trepreneur and people would still know it hawks sugary and other beverages. But it doesn’t – it says it makes beverages.

Issue #2: Unnecessary broadening or ignoring the core functionality

This is Nanigans‘ About Us

Founded in 2010 by veteran entrepreneurs from data warehousing and performance marketing, Nanigans is regarded as one of the most innovative companies in advertising technology today. By building scalable software that meets the specific in-house marketing needs of the world’s largest performance advertisers, Nanigans has earned a reputation for developing cutting-edge solutions to complex user acquisition and remarketing challenges. The company is disrupting the traditional agency and ad network model of media buying and is enabling new levels of efficiency and success in the process.

At no moment in that “about us”, does it talk about Facebook, which is its primary social media site its products buy on. This is how TechCrunch describes Nanigans when it partnered with MoPub: “Today it looks beyond Facebook for the first time, teaming up with MoPub to serve ads on thousands of mobile apps and sites.” 

I know it will be impossible to get brands to drop the unnecessary and aggrandizing terms like “innovative”, “best” and “cutting-edge”, but potential customers would be so better served by getting the truth of where you buy and what you buy today. Leave the blue sky for some other section of the site.

Issue #3: Unnecessary buzz words

I understand what lead nurturing means. Many people may understand what lead nurturing means. But many do not and will not. In fact, lead nurturing seems to be a term used mostly by companies in their press releases. I challenge Autopilot, which is coming out of beta and looking to grow it’s business, to better hook in customers than using this as a descriptor: “Design multi channel lead nurturing journeys across the entire customer lifecycle.”

Issue 4: Failure to answer one’s own questions

Jebbit said it is the leading post-click engagement platform. Perhaps realizing that this is a ponderous term, it asked itself, through the guise of a reader, “What is post-click engagement?” The answer, sadly, did not answer this. It merely reinforced that this unknown post-click engagement was important. 

Post-Click Engagement has emerged as a digital marketing strategy that improves brand’s ability to communicate, establish a relationship, and convert consumers on a landing page or website after clicking on a link or ad.

If I didn’t know what post-click engagement was before that answer, I certainly don’t know now.

Marketing tech companies, heal thyself. If a writer tasked with explaining this industry to potential customers is having an issue deciphering one’s company’s description, imagine those readers’ confusion when they visit company sites. Customers deserve better. The industry needs to do better. 

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