What Mena Trott’s mom can teach us about marketing copy 02 Nov 2005
27 comments Latest by Robert Gremillion
Back in the day, we used to sell our services by saying we made interfaces “easy enough for our moms to use.” Well, Mena Trott of Six Apart actually brought out her mom to demo the company’s product Comet at a recent conference.
Definitely warm/fuzzy. But more than that it also demonstrates something about tone. It shows the power of using an intimate, personal tone — something a small company can do with ease that big companies can’t do at all.
[Note: There were some recent 6A/37s debate about big vs. small teams (Mena’s take, Jason’s take). But for the sake of this discussion, I’m still considering Six Apart a small company. You know, compared to, say, Microsoft.]
Let’s compare/contrast the copy at the actual Project Comet site with that of the blog post. There’s nothing extra bad about the marketing site’s copy but it’s just a bit bland (unless you get all juiced up by terms like community aggregation, multiple streams, and advanced weblogging technology platform).
Project Comet is focused on creating an advanced weblogging technology platform combining the best elements of all our products, giving people the ability to easily stake out, build and share their own place on the web.
Meanwhile, the blog post (which 6A wisely links to from the Comet site) has a warm, personal tone and actually tells a genuine story. The whole thing is a lot more readable.
So then I brought out my mother and I began asking her why she didn’t have the motivation to maintain her own blog. Her three major reasons?
She feels like she doesn’t have anything to say.
She doesn’t want the world to see what she writes.
She doesn’t have the time to keep up with blogs.
We went through all her concerns and showed how “Comet” addresses them.
It’s a small example but it brings up a larger point. When you’re a small company, you can use familiar language instead of corporate speak. Your site and your product can have a human voice instead of sounding like a corporate drone. You can bring out your mom to demo your product and then blog about it afterwards. Let’s see bigco.com do that.
Small teams sometimes feel like they need to sound big and ultra-professional all the time. Almost like a business version of the Napoleon Complex. Don’t sweat sounding small. Revel in the fact that you can talk to customers like a friend.