In Services Marketing, Fruitcake Won’t Bring You New Business

One of my favorite quotes of American humorist Mark Twain is: “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” He knew the secret of creating effective content: less is more. This is absolutely the case when creating content for marketing your service offerings and capabilities. But it’s not the dominant view, which is why so many service providers’ odds of getting new business sink when they launch new content — sort of like fruitcake.

Fruitcake is dense and heavy. Although it’s sweet and looks like a dessert, many people just pass it around without sampling it. Don’t let your marketing content be like fruitcake. It needs to be like a buntini — light, snack size, easily picked up and memorable. Your marketing intellectual property needs to be short, easy to digest, and easy to refer to other people.

I’ve blogged before about problems with ineffective thought leadership and marketing content. Often the issue is people and companies want to be stars. To be effective and memorable, you need to check that mindset at the door and focus on creating content that is compelling, interesting and based on real experience.

It’s even better if you serve up your content as a story or illustration rather than presenting it in a theoretical context. People gobble up stories. But theories, like fruitcake, are difficult to digest. If you go the theoretical route, you need to increase the level of synthesis and brevity.

Yes, it takes more time and effort to be concise. But your content will be more effective if you whip up a compelling topic, synthesize it down to its essence, present the essence in a short story and then stop. This way you’ll leave your potential customers hungry for more instead of wondering how they can squeeze in a nap to digest what they’ve eaten.

Photo credit: Richard Elzey