clueless messaging → clueless buyers

also: iterating on messaging, niching down, and the importance of brand in B2B


I’ve been bashing bad website messaging on LinkedIn for more than a year now, but in all this time, I’ve not looked into the core reasons of the thing I’m fighting.

So in this week’s newsletter, I want to explore just this.

But first, let’s define what “bad messaging” means.

In my homepage reviews, I consider messaging bad if the hero section doesn’t tell you at least 3 of these:

  • what the product is

  • what the product does

  • how the product does what it promises

  • who the product is for

  • how the product is different from other options

3 out of 5 isn’t great, but at least it’s not “we supercharge your bottom line“ kind of bad.

So, if the website doesn’t have these questions answered, it’s because the person in charge of the website didn’t realize the need to include this information.

Or, if they knew they, they didn’t know enough about the product and the buyers to articulate these points well. (And no budget to pay someone to do it for them.)

But why don’t people in charge of homepages know this information?

In my experience, it’s because most companies below a certain size (25-ish people?) don’t have someone with enough expertise—marketing OR sales—to even begin to address this.

What’s worse, if you ask 10 people from smaller companies what marketing even is, you’ll get 12 different definitions. And you’d be lucky to hear “website messaging” mentioned more than once.

And whoever signs off on “update our website“ projects normally doesn’t even realize this kind of project takes a specific skillset — one that may be missing from their marketing team.

So you have people who don’t know much about website messaging assigning “website update“ projects to people who don’t have the skills to deliver those projects.

And when sales are the only ones talking to buyers…

…support are the only ones talking to customers…

…devs are the only ones knowing the product…

…marketers are expected to deliver website messaging projects just ‘cause they’re marketers.

And before you say “well, it’s marketing’s job to go get that information from sales, support, and devs!“ — you’re correct!

But at these very same smaller companies, marketing’s plate is already full with everything else that’s being dumped on them — assigned to them by the very same people who don’t realize updating a website is a big project.

So the quality of something ends up suffering, and marketers are suffering along with it.

Clueless messaging can only give you clueless buyers. It’s a garbage in, garbage out system.

Except it is ultimately marketing’s fault.

Don’t know how to write good website copy? Plenty of info to read.

Don’t know what the buyers are thinking? Go talk to sales.

Don’t know what the customers are thinking? Go talk to support.

Don’t know the product well enough? Go talk to devs.

Don’t have the bandwidth to do all that? Grab receipts and go talk to your boss.

(Coming from someone who did ALL of these mistakes, and then some.)

Things I found for you

Meme of the week

When you're trying to appeal to a wider audience.