If Tech Marketers Ran Hollywood

Posted by on Nov 14, 2014 in News | No Comments


Seventy-four percent of technology companies have achieved something “breakthrough,” “revolutionary,” or “world class,” and 49% are leaders of their category.

Hard to believe, yes, but that’s what they tell us.  I recently examined all the press releases from MarketWired’s industry feeds for Computers & Software; Telecommunications; and Electronics & Semiconductors over a 24-hour period.  I wanted to test technology companies for their authenticity and humility.  They did not do well.  Because when 49% of companies are category leaders, that tells me one of two things: 1) we have far more two-company categories than I realized, or 2) companies are distorting the truth.

The irony is that by distorting the truth, these companies are weakening their message.  We don’t respond well to arrogance or braggadocio.  And the categories these companies are inventing for leadership purposes test the boundaries of comprehension.  To wit:

Company A is the leading global provider of advanced programming and IP management solutions for flash, flash-memory based intelligent devices and microcontrollers.

Company B is the leading pure-play specification-grade LED lighting solutions provider.

Could you imagine if the film industry followed this same approach?  If tech marketers wrote the loglines for famous films?

Star Wars is the world leader in fable-based, science fiction adventure films blending spirituality, action and intrigue in a multi-race, Force-centric environment.

Titanic is the leading provider of class-oriented, emotional journey depictions at sea combining historical record with fictional romance to create a non-positive ending set to world-class music.

Silence of the Lambs is the one of the world’s leading serial killer, coming-of-age productions for aficionados of mental manipulation, oddly alluring mentor relationships, and lotion in baskets.

The value comes if you flip the script, so to speak, and apply Hollywood’s story-driven style to tech company elevator pitches or descriptions.  I recently worked with a company called Aktana.  Great product and team with the following company descriptor:

Founded in 2008 in Silicon Valley, Aktana is the world leader in actionable analytics driving salesforce effectiveness.  Weve combined our deep understanding of sales methodologies with our technological expertise to create a system that bridges the gap between technologies, teams and tactics.

Using the screenwriter’s approach, we were able to identify their compelling narrative and summarize their value to global life science companies as:

Your global sales force is your most expensive asset. To improve its performance, you’ve invested heavily in data and analytics, but sales reps still can’t find what they need and make sense of it all.

Aktana does the legwork for the rep, synthesizing the many inputs that could help them and providing just the information they need, when they need it most, to make better decisions.

It starts with the audience perspective as it should.  Only then does Aktana’s value appear because now it has context. Their logline summarizes it even further:

The sales rep has never been a data scientist and never will be. So Aktana plays that role for them, providing exactly the information they need, when they need it, to sell more.

Does that leave out part of the Aktana offering?  No doubt.  But a logline never captures the entirety of a two-hour film.  It describes the storyline in a concise, compelling fashion in order to motivate the audience to go see the whole film.

Similarly, you’re not trying to explain the entirety of your business to the audience in a single sentence. You want them to understand enough so that they’re highly motivated to learn more.

Authenticity works, and connections are there to be made with audiences of all kinds.  But you must find the truth and the story in your company’s work.  Leave the claims of category leadership to others to bestow upon you.  Chances are, once your company is truly a category leader, we’ll already know it.

Follow me on Twitter.