Put yourself in the buyers' shoes.

Applying journalistic curiosity to put the audience first – that's Buyer Messaging. Write better marketing content and grow business with segmenting, targeting, positioning, messaging, personas, insight, and enablement.

The Year of Listening

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire… Jack Frost nipping at your nose…

Back in the mid-80s, three of my siblings and I shared a rather nontraditional yuletide tradition.

On Christmas Eve, with gifts wrapped, cider mulled, pudding figged and halls decked, the four of us – all teenagers – would each curl up in an afghan.

We’d hit the remote, and within moments, bliss out to the slightly warped-sounding, creased-VHS-warbled opening tune of Rod Stewart’s Infatuation.

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How to reach 300% more prospects than you were going for

(Or, Buyer Messaging Makes Ultra-Specialized High Tech Accessible for Everyone… Even the Pope)

Imagine one of the most ubiquitous, seemingly mainstream and commercially prolific sectors on the globe.

We’re talking huge – with an expectation to contribute $720.38 billion-with-a-“b” to the US economy by 2020. One that feels as though it should be sexy and drop-dead cool, built on personalities, high-profile publicity and back-room deals, but in reality … Continue reading “How to reach 300% more prospects than you were going for”

A Sales Enablement Toolguide

In B2B technology product marketing, one of our most important jobs is to give reseller reps and channel partners tools that ignite buyer discussions, and that help the keep momentum going as they progress throughout a sale.
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Don’t write slogans. Solve problems

Once in a while, a product or a brand will leap up from the rest and throw a thunderbolt of revelation that, YES. This is exactly what I need! This was meant for me!

You know, the kind of message we strive to deliver in our marketing that answers — irrefutably — the question: “What’s in it for me?”
Continue reading “Don’t write slogans. Solve problems”

Sing from the Same Songbook

4 Things B2B Brands Can Learn from Bands

You don’t have to be a hit factory to write marketing content that makes a connection with your audience like a Billboard Top 100 song.

But the fan frenzy generated from tapping into teen angst can teach us a lesson about writing for our B2B customers with rock-star empathy for the challenges they face.

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Breaking Bad Messages

Some people go to early-morning flea markets and collect antique spoons.

Others take weekend nature hikes and collect arrowheads.

And still others visit kitschy souvenir shops in tourist locations and collect snow globes.

Me? I go onto the World Wide Web and collect Breaking Bad synopses.
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Remember Your Reviewers

Tech journalists, trade publications and industry bloggers are vitally important channels for B2B product marketing messages.

One of these influencers can ignite adoption of a new release with a rave review — while another can implode it with a negative one.

A top-notch reviewer’s guide can be a real difference-maker when it does these things right:

  • Outlines the product’s ideal users, so reviewer can adopt the right audience mindset
  • Sets expectations about what’s in the box (and what’s not)
  • Saves the reviewer time – illustrates new capabilities vividly without confusion
  • Doesn’t assume prior knowledge
  • Guides reviewer to key operations, not wading through miles of laborious instruction


I always refer marketing colleagues to Corel’s Painter reviewers’ guides – and this year’s version is no exception. Click here to download it and learn from it to serve some of your most influential buyer personas — the press.


Can You Relate?

Meeting Problems Head-On

In the past 48 hours, people from three separate companies have complained to me about their aggravation with wasted time getting a conference room projector set up in between meetings.

One guy had a Homeric adventure that lasted fully one-third of the meeting time. First, he fruitlessly hunted down IT to provide the right cables for his laptop, because someone in the meeting before his seemed to have left with the adapter.

Then he sheepishly interrupted a different meeting to find out if the presenter had any spares.

Finally, he accidentally barged in on the CEO and chairman of the board to borrow someone else’s display dongle.

“Every meeting starts like this,” he grumbled. “It’s gotten so everyone expects it.”
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Conversions vs. Conversations

The company I’m working with to develop Sales Enablement tools wanted to train its traditional channel partners on new marketing methodologies.

To help explain the conceptual difference between Demand Gen and Sales Enablement at this company — and their respective interactions with buyers — I created this chart:


Feel free to use it as an at-a-glance reference for your partners. Since every brand’s marketing team and channel models are different, your mileage may vary.

Be The Buyer’s Book List

The club Oprah would run, if she were a B2B marketer

A while back at a social gathering, a fellow partygoer asked me an innocent question.

“What’s on your Kindle these days?”

What a happy question for an insatiable reader! Not to mention one who travels a lot and always takes the precious time after the boarding door closes and before laptops come out to squeeze in another chapter…
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No Comparison

Expert Product Marketing Managers know all the reasons not to provide competitive feature comparisons for Sales to share with customers.

  • They’re vulnerable to line-by-line picking apart
  • Discrepancies risk lost confidence from customers & resellers
  • Put us in defensive position
  • Make us chase our tails
  • Hand the competitor a recipe to eliminate differentiation

I use the below example to show Sales why they’re moot exercises. It’s a competitive comparison that got into the hands of the “B-column” manufacturer, which prompted the lead engineer to refute it line-by-line beyond recognition – and promptly develop two features that showed a disadvantage.

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 11.46.20 AM

Lesson learned? Nah. Sales people still asked for this useless document. Mostly because it humiliated the primary competitor who created it.

Market Human

Or is that “Market, Human!”

A lot of marketing experts are finally coming around to the beating heart of product marketing: remember that a business title doesn’t buy your product; a person does.

We’ve held that belief as our basis for B2B marketing writing for a long time, but we didn’t make it up. People have intuitively grasped for ages that there’s a person on the other end of a communication, making a decision about what’s on that page.

So what could possibly go wrong?
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Know When To Walk Away

Trade show demos that go too long – and how messages can help

Product marketing professionals have responsibility for messaging far beyond the go-to-market effort, extending across their entire brand’s customer experience spectrum — right down to the in-person demo at trade shows.
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How to be press-ready with your own live interview studio

Is Your Expertise Ready for a Close-up?

Say you’re a B2B marketer making an announcement with a press release, or a subject-matter authority pitching your expertise to journalists, bloggers, and producers of television or web programs. If you nail the pitch with a topic they want to cover, they may to want you to call in live. It’s time to get ready for your close-up.
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We’re all doing coffee wrong. And everything else.

Sending messages wrong can dilute your credibility

Show of hands: who’s received an email, tweet, article, or link declaring that you’re doing SEO wrong? Or Twitter? Or job searches, push-ups, double spaces, Agile, coffee orders, skin care …? Because, to borrow from the Huffington Post, “You’re doing everything wrong, according to the Internet.”

Continue reading “We’re all doing coffee wrong. And everything else.”

“Talk” is not cheap in TED descriptions

The incredible data visualization by Santiago Ortiz shows the words that appear most often in TED Talk descriptions, and “Talk” beats them all (even TED).


Click the image to see the visualization on Ortiz’s page, then roll over a word to see its corresponding line highlight, designating its frequency of use over time.

Make the buyer the star of your story

A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Buyer-focused, Outcome-based Case Studies

Case studies can provide important proof of a solution directly from the mouths of customers. Do yours help prospective buyers see how it can apply to them, too?
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Are Clichés the Sharpest Tools in your Marketing Toolbox?

Consider dusting off some other skills.

Why is it so much fun to trash clichés? Their banality is not their own fault; they’re just the innocent victims of other people’s misguided use.
Continue reading “Are Clichés the Sharpest Tools in your Marketing Toolbox?”

What does everyone look like?

One of London’s most magnificent public venues faced a major challenge last year. And no, I’m not talking about the perpetual challenge of whether to love or hate Marmite.

I’m talking about a challenge that strikes a common refrain with every nonprofit, big brand, small business, expert, and entrepreneur:

Continue reading “What does everyone look like?”

Favorite insight from a buyer-persona interview:

I’m tired of being the hero all the time.

Enablement tip: create expert materials that help resellers grow their Local Leadership, one of the profit models outlined in this great article, The Art of Profitability.

Local Leadership

Interpretation: If you’re recognized as the leading expert in a location, you can enjoy high profit margins while your competitors struggle to get even a small foothold.

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