Technical marketing mistake #3: Cramming too much information into a single piece

December 10, 2011 § 1 Comment

At Think88, we enjoy helping our customers overcome all sorts of technical marketing challenges. In the first post of this series, I summarized some of the most common oversights that we encounter. In today’s installment, I explain why it’s so easy to fall into the trap of overstuffing your marketing collateral.

First, it’s important to realize that there is no single culprit for this predicament. Instead, there are at least five reasons why we see excessively large content:

  1. Messaging issues. If your narrative is unclear, your collateral will reflect this unfortunate state of affairs: it may take 15 pages to say what could normally be conveyed in five. On top of that, it’s not uncommon to run across bloated pieces that somehow manage to contradict themselves!
  2. Budgets. Money is always tight, and there may not be funds available to create a complete collection of well-designed, focused pieces. In response, many companies have tried forcing a single document to cover all the bases. For example, I frequently come across technically oriented whitepapers that must somehow incorporate high-level customer success stories aimed at executives.
  3. No marketing roadmap. I discussed this common problem in an earlier post. In short, not having an overall plan inevitably leads to reactive, poorly conceived content. And badly planned materials tend to be oversized.
  4. Tight schedules. In today’s world of overstretched marketing teams trying to produce content to help drive sales, it can be alluring to merge two or more disparate pieces in order to hit aggressive deadlines.
  5. Lack of a methodology. Each piece of technical marketing collateral should be the end result of a logical, well-defined set of procedures. Failing to follow a consistent approach almost always results in content that’s double or even triple the size of what was specified. In fact, I’ve even seen White papers that were originally sized at six pages balloon to nearly 30 pages!

Regardless of the specific cause, the end result is inflated, poorly conceived material that wastes time and money. What’s worse is that these investments fail to pay off and win you new business.

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