Credo 3.1 – Messages need to stress consistency between past and present

Our monthly series of ‘Credo’ posts aims to summarise some key principles for analyst relations manager. The third Credo stressed the way that messaging has to be both top-down and bottom-up. It’s provoked some off-line discussion that suggests than an on-line clarification will be useful.

Many technology suppliers have an intellectual division of labour that is also found in the analyst houses: some analysts start from the industry view: they stress strategies and segmentation. Others start from the level of functionality and service: they rate providers’ solutions from the buyer perspective.

Often, vendors have to use quite different spokespeople to develop those discussions with analysts. Top-level executives have the industry view: solution marketing managers have the deployment perspective. Sometimes neither understands the other’s viewpoint.

That frequently means that the vendor looks inconsistent when readers of research, or colleagues at the same analyst firm, compare accounts of the vendor’s story. That inconsistency is especially share when the strategic view is (to use a kind term) aspirational, and reflects a vision that is not fully supported by the vendor’s reality. Often the solution marketing manager or business development specialists are focused on what the firm is currently and concretely bringing into the market: their story might focus on the clients’ needs and the vendor’s appetite.

Too many firms accept this inconsistency as a natural and unavoidable part of business. They should not. Vendors need to have spokespeople who can connect up the past and the present. That means that vendors need to ensure a common understanding of how what their brand means in the market.

And we’ll say more about that when we come to the fourth Credo which is about alignment: All messages must be integrated.

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