I spent the last couple of days in the O’Reilly Architecture Conference and HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) Conference. During that time, I had the chance of listening to quite a few technical marketing spiels.
Some of them were technically very impressive, but missed the target by a planet or two. I came up with a really nice analogy for how such presentations do a great disservice for their purpose.
Consider the following:
This non-steroidal drug has been clinically tested and FDA approved will cease the production of prostaglandins and has a significant antiplatelet effect. It’s available in tablet and syrup forms and is suitable for IVs. May cause diarrhea and/or vomiting.
This is factual (at least as much as I could make it), I assume that if you are a medical professional you might be able to work out possible uses for this drug. But the most important thing that is missing from this description? What does this do?
This is Ibuprofen and you take it to ease your headache (among many other uses). It can also protect help you avoid blood clots.
I intentionally chose this example, because it is a very obvious one (and I just came back hearing way too much medical stuff). You begin by telling me how this will ease the pain. In many ways, I consider technical marketing to be composed of the following steps:
- Whatever this product can actually ease the pain.
- Whatever this customer actually experience the pain.
For example, if you are promising to have a faster than light bullet-train to Mars, that is going to cast some… doubt on your claims. On the other hand, it doesn’t matter to me if you can cut down my commute time in half if I can get to work while not leaving my house.
If the customer experienced the pain and believe that you can actually help there, you are most of the way there. All that is left is just negotiating, barrier removal, etc.