Company success begins with believing in the value prop

The best indicator of company success? Believing in your value prop

Confidence. When you have it, life is a panorama of possibilities. Success just seems to follow, and even the occasional failure turns into a new opportunity. As a longtime marketing and PR copywriter, I’ve noticed company success follows a similar trajectory. Highly successful companies are, without exception, led by true believers in the company’s products and mission. And they tend to prove this faith in how they deliver their marketing and PR messaging.

By the same token, organizations that doubt their value proposition do exactly the opposite—like when the US Postal Service infamously sent a status report to US Congress members via Fed EX. Or when Blackberry tweeted about a new marketing launch with an iPhone.

Both are textbook examples of how fear can paralyze an inherently good offering and jeopardize future success. With that, here’s a checklist of traits exhibited by companies that do believe in their ability to radically impact the market:

  • They leverage and promote what they are uniquely known for, even—indeed, especially—if this value proposition bucks industry norms
  • They are not overly spooked by the competition. They are obsessed with delivering outstanding outcomes for their customers.
  • They don’t agonize that they’re not packing enough information in a single marketing or PR piece. They are laser-focused on getting information out to enough audiences.
  • They are single-minded in their mission to make their industry and their customers’ worlds better…and put their resources to work in proving how this can be done.

Content Marketing = Messaging Confidence

So how can companies do all of the above, in a planned, strategic way? From my experience at Amendola, they are the ones most likely to dive enthusiastically into the realm of content marketing—creating and strategically distributing a valuable library of information until they effectively dominate, if not own, their industry’s narrative.

I absolutely have to call out our client Health Catalyst here. The company has methodically built the definitive online knowledge hub on how healthcare organizations are creating better outcomes through, in part, analytics and other data-informing tools. Searches for various terms and trends in healthcare often lead one to the Health Catalyst website—the knowledge library is that extensive and well-crafted.

Turning customers into true believers, too

Health Catalyst also leverages its vast knowledge for an annual conference that is becoming the best-known event in the healthcare analytics arena. I think that this, too, is another hallmark of the true believer who leads his or her company to success: there is constant interaction with customers. If not conferences, then smaller user groups. If not weekly or monthly face-to-face meetings, then certainly regular opportunities to connect via webinars, online forums, and more. There are newsletters, both print and electronic…if not sent monthly, then quarterly. (All of these efforts, incidentally, provide your loyal customer champions with information they can take to the powers-to-be to make the case for your company.)

This leads to another trend I’m noticing—companies increasingly have someone in charge of elevating customer experiences. Critically, these people work closely with customers to set benchmark targets and then help to meet or exceed them. This can greatly benefit content marketing campaigns by cultivating case studies that reveal astonishing results.

A tell-tale sign of insecure messaging

Here’s an inescapable fact about the healthcare IT industry: many companies in this space are convinced that healthcare executives and clinicians exist on a remote and humorless plane away from the rest of humanity.

You can easily see this in much of the marketing and PR messaging that churns out from these companies. It reads as if written by a robot programmed to generate only acronyms, jargon and ubiquitous claims such as “transforming operational efficiency” and “aligning business and clinical outcomes.”

That’s about the only kind of writing that will get the greenlight in a company that isn’t confident its prospects have actual emotion buttons. Or, more to the point, aren’t confident the company’s product is compelling enough to push these emotional buttons.

In his delightfully titled blog post “What HIT Writing Needs is More Cowbell” my colleague Ken Krause lays out a good case for taking a more consumer-oriented approach to writing for healthcare audiences. “At the end of the day, clinicians and HIT leaders put their pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else,” Ken reminds us.

He adds, “When physicians plunk down money for that highly coveted BWM, it’s not because of gas mileage research; it’s because they’re sure they’ll look cool driving it.”

Indeed. And these all-too-human people work in a profession that can be extraordinarily stressful, chaotic, astoundingly over-regulated, chronically under-staffed, and many other characteristics that are a recipe for howling-out-loud humor. You read that right. As comedy writing guru John Vorhous has astutely noted, the essence of comedy is rooted in truth and pain…and there’s a lot of pain in delivering healthcare in today’s modern era.

That said, I’ve yet to see healthcare IT break the comedy barrier (some of us are trying), but inroads are being made in tech B2B, thanks to a series of brilliant Adobe Marketing Cloud commercials. It is very clear that Adobe knows its audience: marketing professionals. Specifically, Adobe knows what drives us insane…and nails it in what are hands down some of the funniest ads I’ve ever seen.

When customers know you get them, they have more trust in buying from you. And humor is one of the most effective ways of translating this empathy. Are you confident you understand your customers’ true pains? Then be more confident in using humor to market to them.

Becoming more confident in your value proposition

Sometimes, all we need is a taste of success to get a big boost in confidence. Engaging in some or all of the above activities—content marketing, focusing on the customer experience, cultivating more customer interactions, crafting messages that speak on a human level—increases both the odds of company success and confidence in your product.  Basically, these activities get the word out about your value proposition which is 98 percent of the work involved in getting this message to take root.

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