• Ed Halsey

Enough with the meaningless hyperbole...

The opening splash message on your website may well be the most important and most overlooked element of your sales strategy and vendors are wasting a golden opportunity. It's the thing that enables customers to immediately qualify themselves and understand what you do and how it benefits them.

I constantly bang on about the importance of "being understood" by customers and that opening gambit is your chance to very quickly have customers understand what you do and how it is of value to them.

However, upon viewing two dozen insurance technology vendor websites in recent weeks, I was met with a sea of marketing gibberish, bold claims that were meaningless to the customer and told me, playing the role of customer, very little about what you could do for me.

So here's some of those that jumped out of me as being a missed opportunity...

"We're the market leaders in X"

Says who? Unless you've been voted as such by a highly credible source such as Gartner or Forrester, you've essentially just decided internally that you're better than everybody else.

On what basis are you the leader? Product quality? Number of customers? Turnover? It's a meaningless phrase that tells the customer nothing of value about your product and/or offering.

It's the marketing equivalent of calling yourself an "influencer" - and nobody wants to be "that guy"...

"We are the X of tomorrow"

Well, that's handy, I didn't want to buy a bit of technology that worked brilliantly for yesterday. This is another meaningless phrase of high promise...but how do you know what tomorrow holds? Did you predict the pandemic? Did you buy Bitcoin before everybody else? What are the lottery numbers this weekend?

Unless you have a crystal ball, you have absolutely no foundation from which to say how your solution will fit in the landscape of tomorrow. You can only comment on its current position.

"Our X is seamless"

My gardener also told me my artificial grass would be, yet every time I look outside, the seam jumps out and visually punches me in the face. That being said, it's noticeably more seamless from some angles than others.

The point being is that it's a wildly subjective statement, but also...not really something to lead with. A seamless integration is, for example, nice to have, but everybody's interpretation of seamless is different. Moreover, it's one of the first things a buyer is likely to compromise on in favour of far more important product features.

Finally, much like the first on this list...who said it's seamless? In whose professional opinion? Because of course you wouldn't just be saying that about your own product, right? RIGHT?

"We're redefining/pioneering X"

Nope, you're about 99.9% the same as your peers in every way.

Worse still, the one I saw was claiming to be pioneering because their charging mechanism was consumptive...like every single one of their core competitors.

Honestly, the last true disruptor (a wildly overused phrase in insurance) was aggregators. Before that? The internet. You're ever so fractional deviance from your peers is not remotely pioneering and it's redefining diddly.

This is one of the most frustrating errors I see vendors making, with them constantly thinking their offering is different (and implicitly better) than peers they've never really seen, experienced or researched.

"Our platform is reliable"

I mean, reliability is literally a minimal expectation that I have of your platform, not a primary selling point. Granted, some vendors in recent memory have failed to live up to that expectation, but this shouldn't be the thing you lead with.

I mean, is reliability honestly the most interesting, high value, product-defining thing you have to share about your product? If it is, I might be inclined to think your product isn't all that good.

"Innovative features and functions that differentiate you from your peers and deliver a unique return on investment? Nope, we don't have any of that nonsense. But the code base is SUPER reliable"

If I'm buying a medical tool for heart surgery, sure, reliability is of the utmost importance. But I can't help but think it should be the "and of course" moment, rather than the initial hook.

"We're a flexible solution..."

Well, unfortunately, I'm not about to head of and do some yoga with my technology stack and I bet it's not nearly as flexible as me building something in low-code to my own requirements.

Equally, how flexible do I really need it to be? I need it to do, what I need it to do. If it does that, I don't care if it's the most inflexible platform ever seen. And often, flexibility comes at a cost and with a degree of greater unreliability. Flexible means unstructured

"Our solution drives innovation..."

Let's be mega clear, at best your platform is the car, not the driver.

And autonomous vehicles aren't in circulation yet.

Unless your solution is waking up in the middle of the night, frantically looking for a notepad to scribble down an incredible idea it's had; it's not driving anything. At best, it's "not getting in the way" or is providing a stable base from which to innovate.

But that's not what you said. You made a grandiose and ridiculous comment that it was DRIVING innovation.

I'd love to see the notes from the ideation sessions it's running.

"Our solution is scalable"

A bit like reliability...this is kind of just an expectation.

Shouldn't every system be able to scale? You're essentially saying that you wrote good code and followed best practice around building technology. Lovely and reassuring as that is to hear...it's not really a value add, is it?

"Rapidly launch new products"

"Hey, Rapid. Let me introduce you to insurance, you clearly haven't met."

I'm being flippant here (for a change), but a lot of vendors obsess about their speed to market, when in reality, speed is often one of the least important factors - certainly when launching new products. In reality, the vendor will almost always be able to move quicker than the customer and their insurer. I do believe it's important that you can amend and reshape products quickly once up and running, but initial deployment, it's usually less important.

Equally, "rapid" is subjective. There are some vendors for whom rapid would mean a matter of days, whereas for others they mean 3-6 months. Never be afraid to put an actual number of what you mean. Remember, the goal is to be understood, not bamboozle.


So the core problem here is that most vendors do not understand their own value proposition. If you Google value proposition, it states that;

"A value proposition is a statement that answers the 'why' someone should do business with you. It should convince a potential customer why your service or product will be of more value to them than similar offerings from your competition"

You might argue that many of the above are attempting to do just that, but in most cases, they're hyperbolic and fail to truly pin down how the customer will benefit.

We blogged on how to write a great value proposition HERE

Do you really understand the value you deliver to your customers?

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