Signal-to-Noise: TMI Can Screw You and the Pooch

In marketing directly to engineers, I’ve learned that data is key. The more data, the better. Engineers want to know the specifications, not the manifestations. In fact, most skip the marketing blurbs and go right to the datasheets where tables of features can be quickly skimmed and scrutinized.

For everyone else, however, less information is actually better.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have some specifications readily available, or that you not have a lot of backup material, but most visitors to your website or lucky readers of your datasheet only have about 2 minutes to “get it.” This is the nature of our world. There is so much noise from vendors and media that the elevator pitch can only last two or three floors before it becomes just another boring elevator ride (complete with Muzak playing “My Favorite Things”).

As an engineer-slash-software entrepreneur, your instinct may demand you showcase every nuance of your solution. You may want to write an entire paper on how your API is superior or how you fully utilize memcache.

But not on your first date. You have to learn to flirt a little.

The best vendor-customer conversations are just that: conversations — not a direct sell job, but a serious look into what the customer is trying to solve and whether there is a real fit. That means less time to go into how your backend architecture is totally compliant with open standards. So frigging what?

In the precious moments when we have a customer in your virtual lobby, it makes more sense to determine a fit. Save the deep dive for a demo two or three meetings later. That means putting away the engineer hat and putting on the consultant jacket. If the customer wants to know, let them ask. Otherwise, you need to spend more time understanding their needs.

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