Message Control

by Bart Levy

Have you ever seen a slide presentation with graphics zooming in and out, with so much information on a slide you couldn’t possibly read it, or illegible fonts and funky colors? Ever seen a presentation that left you scratching your head because the message was so confused? What about a logo that’s been stretched or squeezed to fit a space with some weird color because the corporate color clashes with the background? It’s a marketer’s nightmare.

Have you ever been given a prepared slide deck and given it just a little tweak to better suit your personal presentation style? Now imagine everyone on your sales team doing that.Your carefully crafted corporate message may be getting tweaked into something you did not intend – implying product capabilities that aren’t quite accurate or making promises that you are not going to be able to keep. What does that do for your corporate image? That’s not a marketing problem, that’s a corporate problem that could become a legal problem.

Review your sales and marketing materials

  • Are they accurate?

  • Are they honest?

  • Are they up to date?

  • Do your marketing materials reflect what you want to sell or do they highlight why a buyer should want to buy? In other words, your marketing information should let the prospect know you care about the same things they care about.

  • Do your sales materials discuss features and specs in ways that are easy to read and even compare to other products?

  • Are the graphic elements clean, up to date, easy to read and within the boundaries set by your brand guidelines?

Communication review

It can be very difficult to have a cold eye on for your own materials, but it is critical. Best practices call for a review, preferably by an outside expert, to look at every single message, from emails to sales materials to corporate reports. Discrepancies, confused messages, inaccuracies, and the just plain ugly hurt your corporate image. A review can be expensive, but so is a lost sale — or worse, a lawsuit.