Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Failure to Communicate

Ardath Albee's new book eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale (which I recently reviewed) has so many exceptional passages it's hard to single one out.

But at the expense of the others I'll point to a passage in Chapter 11 (titled "Create Content to Increase Attraction Value").

In that passage, Albee examines some of the chief reasons why so many B-to-B marketing programs, like the characters in Cool Hand Luke, result in "failure to communicate." 

According to Albee, a prospect's willingness to expend effort to absorb your marketing message is a pretty firm measure of her intention to buy.

That readiness to expend effort represents your moment of truth: your golden opportunity to move the prospect towardnot away fromyour organization. 

In that split second, the prospect's ready to learn from you.  As the Tao Te Ching says, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears."

Alas, it's an opportunity easily squandered.  

You're toast, Albee contends, if the marketing communications that await the prospect are convoluted, or if you're unclear about the reason you want her to pay attention to you.

Fail to be clear and pointed and you'll be written off.  Once and for all.

Albee writes, "People take the path of least resistance. Once they reach a conclusion, your opportunity to connect with them has been determined.  If they perceive that paying attention to your communication is too costly in terms of effort, they will delete it, bury it under the paperwork on their desk, or otherwise ignore it.  This is why setting expectations in your call to action is so important.  Make sure that what they need to do to access and use your information is obvious.  Eliminate barriers and hurdles that add to their effort.  Make it easy for your prospects to take advantage of your expertise.  Simplify their experience and the effort required to interact with your company."

Albee suggests removing all "effort barriers."  She emphasizes four:
  • Generic content (material not developed specifically for your prospect)
  • Busy Web-page layouts
  • Statistics cited without context and
  • Copy-heavy pages that readers can't scan
You'll find more suggestions like these in my new report, Path of Persuasion.  Take a peek.  It's free.
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