Every business faces a common problem when marketing a new product: how do we show our prospective customers how this meets their needs?
This was the problem that a recent client, Integrity Data, hired us to help them solve.
Integrity Data creates software for Microsoft Dynamics GP (a payroll and human resources product for businesses) as well as other applications. The company recently introduced U-LINC, a product that ties together a company’s databases and other business applications. U-LINC automatically lets managers know what’s going on inside the company–as much or as little as they want–and enables them to regulate the actions of users. For example, if a user tries to modify a vendor account record in the database, U-LINC could notify the manager of the change and give the manager the option to approve the change.
While the innards of U-LINC are much more powerful and sophisticated than what I’ve described, our job was to take that complexity and explain it simply.
Integrity Data’s marketing director, Marleen, asked us to design an introduction and conclusion for their U-LINC PowerPoint sales presentation. The presentation already had a good product demonstration at its core but Marleen wanted a stronger start and finish. The slides would be used by the sales team for both in-person presentations as well as online webinars.
A typical approach to marketing a new product would be to list the product’s features: it’s bigger, faster, newer, comes in red. A better approach is to show potential users how the product will benefit them: makes your life easier or saves you money.
A still better approach is to tell a story.
Stories engage us emotionally and inspire us to act.
As Chip and Dan Heath point out in Made to Stick, Subway’s advertisements that feature Jared Fogle, the former 425 pounder who lost weight on his “Subway diet,” inspire anyone who wants to lose weight. “Jared’s just like me,” we think. “I can do that.”
For Integrity Data’s U-LINC project, we decided to disguise a story inside a presentation.
Before we put the story together, though, we met with Marleen and other key Integrity Data team members to learn more about U-LINC–how it worked and how it was currently being marketed. We combed through their product information as well as industry publications to learn about competing products. We wanted to ensure the story would frame the user’s needs in a simple and plausible way.
Now armed with details from research, Deanne and I proposed a few story ideas to Marleen and the team. They chose a concept we called “Monday” that would contrast an office world without U-LINC (how Monday feels) with a life after U-LINC (to get past the Monday feeling). Rather than list all of the product’s features (which could be done elsewhere), we chose to emphasize a single benefit, peace of mind, inside the story. Yes, U-LINC does some amazing things but the key benefit for mangers is that it helps reduce their anxiety by keeping them “in the loop.”
We developed a script and and the visual design for the slides that were added to the core product demo presentation as the introduction and conclusion. Additionally, Marleen asked us to create a one-minute screencast version that could be shown as the introduction to an online demo. We revised the script and recorded the screencast (shown below), narrated by Deanne.
Design or marketing projects may begin with the question, “How do we make this look better?” This is only one part of the process. The real key is communication. If you can bring together visual design and a strong story with your product, there’s a much better chance of connecting with customers.