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Product-centric marketing is out-of-favor these days and for good reason.  Increasingly we have heard buyers telling vendors that they don’t want to hear about their products.  Instead, they want to hear about the benefits that vendor’s products can provide to them.   The change in approach has implications not only for messaging and positioning but also for sales tools and marketing collateral.  For example, does the shift mean that people not only don’t want to hear about products, but also don’t want to read brochures about your products?

The answer is both “Yes” and “No.”  In the early stages of developing a relationship with a new prospect, buyers are more interested in reading blog posts, watching videos or perusing an e-book than reading a product brochure.  During this phase of the decision cycle, buyers are simply trying to understand trends in the marketplace and the different vendor models available.  Product brochures are ineffective in the early stages of a sales cycle as the material is too detailed and company-specific to be relevant.  Instead, thought leadership materials are preferred.

However, there remains a place for the product brochure in the sales lifecycle.  Product brochures are best used with well-qualified customers, which are trying to determine which mix of services they want to buy from you.  Nonetheless, there is a general trend of buyers becoming less interested in reading promotional marketing materials from vendors.  Therefore, if you are going to write a product brochure it should be concise and compelling.  It should clearly explain up front in “plain English” what does the product do and why does it matter?  It should then cover the key features of the product.  With a foundational understanding of the product capabilities then the product should explain the benefits and why your product is differentiated from others on the market.

Steve Keifer

Steve Keifer has led marketing and product management teams at seven different SaaS and cloud providers ranging from venture-backed, early-stage startups to multi-billion, publicly traded companies - including several that experienced hypergrowth, filed IPOs, and reached unicorn status. In Bantrr, Steve shares many of the best practices and lessons learned from building and scaling marketing organizations. Topics include new category creation, brand development, and demand generation.

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