I was listening to a podcast from Packet Pushers the other day. There was a Tech podcast piece towards the end by a sponsor and listening to the speaker, I was taken aback by the similarity in the messaging from that company to most other companies in the cyber security space. All the Marketing keywords such as SASE, Zero Trust, “truly differentiated architecture”, Digital Transformation, etc. were audible. If one had listened only to the description and the drumbeat of brilliance of the company, they would not have been able to identify it. Music composers are inspired by pieces that they hear, so much so that their composition can sound exactly like the original piece. In this highly digital and connected world of similar products and competition among those products, it is hard to determine the original from the fakes. Which company has the goods to go with the marketing?
It is not just the Tech industry that is susceptible to this messaging overlap between companies. Take a look at any of the advertisements for cars. Most of them highlight all the features that are packed into the dashboard, the driving comfort on offer and the added warranty available. Of course, each of those cars offer something that is “best in class”. Honestly, all the cars in a segment look so similar nowadays. Capitalism has spoilt the consumer for choice. How, then, does any single commodity stand out?
Does the answer lie in Simon Sinek’s book, “Start with Why”? Marketing and advertising of products and services need to focus on the Why question more than the What. Why does a company exist? The greater purpose needs to be identified. It cannot just be about growing the business, providing a means of communication/ transportation/ security. It needs to be something that the company believes in. Identifying this higher purpose takes time and needs effort. Even after understanding the Why, percolating the info through the company and translating it into a Marketing message takes more effort. I think this approach is an ideal scenario and one that very few companies are able to follow.
On the other hand, there are companies that do not spend the time in figuring out the Why. They are a part of the class that compete with each other based on features and eventually, demonstrations. Maybe that is the way to go! Prove you are better by just letting the customer take the product for a drive! There are all kinds of companies out there, some successful and some not, following whatever method suits them best. Who is to say that one method works and the other does not?! No one knows the secret sauce, surely?