3 Ways Building Product Marketers Should Rethink “What Do You Do?”

13 Jan

Now Is The Perfect Time To Re-evaluate Your “Elevator Speech.”

Once upon a time, it was enough to hear a job title to get a sense of what someone did for a living. But with a workforce filled with more and more artificially inflated, lateral-promotion-enriched job descriptions, helping others understand what we—as companies and individuals—bring to the table is vital in generating new business and managing customer relationships.

Now I’m not suggesting that anyone “fluff” their title or cram collateral with lots of marketing speak. But being able to quickly and concisely explain “what you do” is an important element in crafting your brand story and setting yourself apart from your competition.

To get started, here are 3 key points to consider when responding to “So, what is it that you do?”:

1. Something Bigger
You may have heard the story of a pope touring the construction of a massive church. Each tradesman explained their particular craft—until the pope asked a man sweeping a floor what he did: “I am helping to build a cathedral.” Explain your own role in the context of something bigger. “We manufacture [product] that helps [audience] to [benefit].” It doesn’t have to be especially lofty or inspirational, but by better understanding the role you play, others can better appreciate the value of what you do—and may even want to be a part of it.

2. Something Tangible
Rather than talking about what you do, talk instead about what happens when you do it. What is the thing or result that the customer enjoys because of your contribution? “We help building product manufacturers get into retailers like Home Depot” sounds much more fulfilling and accessible than “We provide marketing for a large two-step distributor in the building products channel.” Presume the other person is completely ignorant of your line of work; let them chime in with industry terms first to show they have a deeper understanding.

3. Something Special
The easiest way to establish credibility is to throw a superlative or unique fact into the statement: “We’re an agency for the oldest trade tool brand in North America” or “We work with the three largest residential construction companies.” The challenge here is to be relevant without coming off as bragging; keep it about the clients or customers you serve rather than yourself.

Remember: the idea isn’t to dazzle or impress—that should happen on its own. The real purpose is to provide relevance and context so that understanding can happen. Because that understanding can mean connection, leading to the those magical words we all love to hear: “I know someone you should talk to…”

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