Startup Messaging

I was lucky to be invited to speak at DemoCamp Guelph last night. There was an awesome crowd of smart startup people there and a great set of demos were shown.

I gave a talk on messaging for startups.  I picked that topic because I think messaging is pretty hard and a lot of folks don’t know where to start to create better messages.

The essence of my talk was that good messaging answers the following questions for potential customers:

  • What the heck is it? (meaning can you tell me in plain language what it is that you do)
  • Is it for me? (meaning does your messaging appeal to the segment that you are targeting)
  • Why buy it from you? (meaning what are the compelling reasons to choose your offering over a competing offering)

I also noted that these questions need to be answered for prospects in that order.  Trying to differentiate before people understand what you do is pointless.

Here are the slides:

View more presentations from April Dunford.

I want to thank Brydon for inviting me to speak as well as everyone else that took the time to chat with me last night.  I spent years in Waterloo, both as a university student and later when I was working for Watcom/Powersoft/Sybase so it was fun to go back and see how well the startup scene is evolving there.  I need to figure out a way to spend more time out there.

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44 thoughts on “Startup Messaging”

  1. Just one question: What was the worst idea and complete $^%$ crap product? Enquiring minds want to know.

    1. Ha! You had to be at the talk to get the story and it’s way too complicated to tell in ppt. The idea ultimately became a very large product line for IBM. The analysts at Gartner called it “the worst idea ever” when I pitched it to them the first time but that was largely because my story was bad. We acquired a bunch of companies to deliver on the idea and the CEO of one of them described our existing product set as “complete frikkin crap”. Crap is in the eye of the beholder however. We had managed to sell at lot of that “crap” and thanks to his products we were destined to sell a whole lot more.

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