Watching somebody talk to themselves is always an upsetting experience. It’s even worse when that someone is a customer, they’ve hired you to help them communicate with the outside world and they’re still only talking to themselves.

I recently had this experience writing a white paper for a large technology company promote its technology licensing program. They had thoughtfully supplied me with case studies illustrating how various partners had benefited through such licensing. But the quotes in the case studies all focused on what a good job the large technology company had done answering their partners’ questions and making their senior developers available for help. The quotes said nothing about whether the licensing program had actually helped their partners make more money. Considering this is the main point of the white paper I was writing, why didn’t the case studies talk more about it?

I suspect the reason is that in creating the case studies, this large technology company was talking to itself. Changing its own corporate culture from keeping proprietary technology secret to sharing it with outsiders was such a huge hassle – and such a major achievement — that, naturally, this is what they focused on in the case studies.

But it’s exactly the wrong message to give to customers. It shows you’re so wrapped up in improving your internal processes that you’re not focused on helping the customer. The harder it was to create a new product or a new line of business or a new corporate culture, the more you’ll be tempted to talk about that in your marketing literature instead of talking to and about the customer. Remember that what’s in it for the customer is always – always – the main point.


Bob Scheier Associates

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Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email or call me at 508 725-7258.

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