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Marketers want things short, easy, and fast.

  • Initial Bulleted, Scannable Proof Point:  The marketing copy we covet is short and sweet.

Nike didn’t waste time with “Don’t think,” although it is implied, when creating their game-changing, “Just Do It.”

“Think Different” is held sacred as Apple’s pithy hymn. Yet even that short slogan left the door open for IBM’s beauty of brevity, “Think.”

  • Second Scannable Proof PointMarketers love Twitter.

Twitter is all about short, easy, and fast communication. That’s why marketers tend to market to other marketers on Twitter.

  • Third Scannable Proof Point: Search Engines are condensed archives of information.

Search engine results – a couple of lines of copy – give searchers what they need in a quick, to-the-point way. Utility be damned! Could this be why we marketers live for SEO?

  • Getting to the Point

Titles of marketing content must fit into a 140-character framework, usually alongside a hyperlink, contextual copy, and a hashtag.

What’s more, the pattern and phrasing of an asset’s title should map to common questions people have or common phrases they search for.

For these reasons many follow this basic formula: X Easy Steps for Y.

Some also opt for the more search-friendly, inverted formula: How to Do Y in X Easy Steps.

There’s a problem here, however, and in true marketing blog form, I’m going to extrapolate on a personal experience to address a general issue for everyone.

  • A Personal Story to Illustrate My Point

I’m getting married in October to another marketer (who, in true marketing form, I met on Twitter). Naturally, I have to help make the wedding happen. Admittedly, though, based on my own skills and experiences, I can only offer a limited scope of contributions. My fiancé knows what needs to be done, does what needs to be done, and I help where I can.

I, of course, can’t control the process – I wouldn’t know what to do next if I did.

She also can’t control the process because, along with putting up with me, there are vendors, deadlines, requirements, limitations, and challenges that push and pull plans in different directions.

For context, I’m only now fully grasping the truth that there’s so much more to a wedding than simply getting married. Meanwhile, she’s already architected our wedding to be OUR wedding – not letting outside demands sway us too far from what’s best for us.

  • The Turn (It’s Happening. You’ll Learn Something, I Promise!)

Of course, why was it important to highlight that she, like me, is a marketer?

Think of all that a person does when planning a wedding. Think of all the long hours, hard work, and countless tasks that must be completed in order to get to the big day.

Now, imagine someone who – with only the best intentions, of course – jumps in at the first sign of a struggle and promptly tries to suggest a short, easy, and fast solution.

That jumper (<cough> me <cough>), may actually insult the person struggling by assuming that their struggle can be swiftly and easily resolved, and thus alienate said person by making it appear like their struggle isn’t understood at all.

Even though my fiancé is a marketer, professionally conditioned to appreciate short, easy, and fast ideas, such ideas fall flat when they are not appropriate to the problems both she and I are facing together.

As it turns out, short, easy, and fast does not win every time!

  • The A-Ha Moment

Managing the buyer’s journey is like assisting your partner in the planning of a wedding.

The partner who takes the lead is the buyer.

Your suggestions are the “content” produced to help move things along.

Outside of the moments when you are helping them, though, the buyer is still doing tons more than you can imagine.

What you contribute needs to be respectful and considerate of the “tons more” at play.

Sometimes, short, easy, and fast is appropriate. “Which disposable coffee cups should we get?” “The green ones.”

Sometimes, though, truly useful content needs to be thorough, appreciative of difficulty, and worth a little extra time.

If a purchase requires deep, exhaustive, time-consuming research, content that’s deep, exhaustively researched, and unconstrained by length is what the buyer is searching for.

  • The Takeaway

I could have gone down the well-trodden path of, “How to Best Serve Your Buyers with Varied Content in 3 Easy Steps.”

I didn’t. That’s because the BIG takeaway is that you need to think through what your buyers actually need – what will really help them instead of alienating and annoying them – before setting about to create your marketing content.

Why I’m writing this way is because I know marketing is hard. It’s like planning a wedding. I’m marrying a marketer who is planning a wedding while also not missing a step in her regular marketing role. It’s a lot to deal with!

I muck things up most when I try to help without knowing why I should help. Thus, in those moments, how I help, is actually not at all helpful. I actually just end up sounding like every other person who tries to influence what my fiancé does for our wedding.

Instead, of course, I should help by taking the time to be a part of what she’s doing – empathizing with her and everything she is trying to do – because it’s our wedding. As a result, instead of telling her what I think she should do (which sets a really bad precedent for our life together!), I can focus on coming up with meaningful ways to achieve our shared goal.

How do you think your customers would respond if that was the kind of help you were offering them?

Image Source (Creative Commons): Salicia.

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