Lead With the Pain Points

I frequently share Dave McClure's rant about pain points (link to article) when I talk with CEOs and CMOs about messaging and value propositions. He points out the importance of taking the perspective of the customer and the need to consider the customer's pain points

Too often marketing presentations and pitches focus on the product features or the team. The pitches take the perspective of the presenter, rather than the audience. Sometimes they describe a big trend -- such as social or mobile -- suggesting everyone who rides the trend will win. Even when I see a list of benefits, they often lack context about the target customer, the use case, and the pain points.

Instead I encourage people to write pitches following this outline:

  1. Who is the target customer, and what is the use case and current pain point? Think of this as a qualifying question, that the audience will be interested in hearing the rest of the presentation only if they match that target and can related to the pain point.
  2. How does the product or service address that pain point? Specifically map the product benefits and features to the pain point. Avoid throwing in some pray-and-spray features hoping to broaden the appeal. Matching product to need is more important than providing a sea of benefits. 
  3. Why is your company uniquely qualified to provide this product of service? Specify the experience, assets, or qualifications that tell the audience you will deliver. 

Give it a try. It takes some hard work. And it takes courage to aim each pitch at a specific target.