Telling Stories: audience segmentation
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I’ve been doing a fair amount of reading recently…particularly focused on security and legislation around interchange. As a result, I have an entire series of partially completed blog posts covering topics like tokenization, hosted checkout as a method of addressing small merchant compliance, more discussion of Federal Reserve studies, etc…
At the same time, I’ve been doing the other part of evangelism…talking with folk about IP Commerce, software, and the payments industry in general. In addition, I have personally been pitched to more frequently. It is these discussions that have predicated today’s stream-of-consciousness missive.*
Platforms can be confusing.
Multi-sided markets can be confusing.
So how do you tell the story? How do you explain the intricacy of what your service/solution provides without losing the audience?
Step 1 – Listen.
I find myself in the same boat as many that have pitched to me recently. What you are doing is interesting…it’s compelling…it’s incredibly unique…and, yet, in the fervor to share this passion simple recognition of your audience can be overlooked.
The story of a platform differs based on audience. It must have a unique set of benefits/interfaces/etc based on what portion of an ecosystem is benefited by interaction. Take, for example, the myriad of online discussions of Google Wave. The answer to “what is it?” should differ based on who is asking…but it doesn’t seem to be recognized by most technology writers as a entry point to the conversation. In my opinion, this is why Wave has been subject to so much consternation and confusion. The answer to the question “What is it?” is responded to with a discussion of technology not benefits.
Step 2 – Listen.
Notice a theme? A colleague of mine often mentions that the single most important of sales is to ask good questions. The same is true for evangelism and marketing. Stop, Ask, Listen.**
Forewarned. Is, in fact, forearmed. I warned you it as stream of consciousness. What is it that you find as themes when pitching or being pitched? What, if anything, would you encourage those of us who interact discussing business, technology, and vision to keep in mind? The comment form is below…
* Perhaps a combination of these discussions and the several days of nagging migraine.
** Or, perhaps, stop…drop…roll. Up to you.
June 17, 2009