Is Your Marketing Too Humble?

By October 28, 2014 No Comments

Humble has no place in marketing.

In the October issue of Chief Content Officer, a series of articles profiled companies that have started to place more emphasis on storytelling as part of their marketing. In “No More Boring Brands”, Caterpillar’s global marketing services department manager, Renee Richardson, explains how her company took a risk developing new marketing messaging and stories that were outside the company’s comfort zone.

The usually conservative brand developed a new Built for IT™ tagline, and used the tagline as the foundation to reinvigorate the entire brand. The team produced a series of videos ranging from quirky games of industrial-sized Jenga™ to a mini excavator maneuvering through a shop filled with expensive china, accompanied by bullfighting music.

I got out my highlighter (OK, I’m old school) as soon as I read this quote:

“We’re a humble organization, but as marketers you can’t be humble,” stated Richardson.

Bravo, Ms. Richardson. Countless times, I’ve heard clients worry that they can’t use an assertive, bold ad headline or tagline. They worry the gutsy statement will make them appear egotistical.

If you don’t let your marketing department be proud and showy, then you might as well fire them. Successful brand marketing is bold and a bit “in your face.” However, it’s not rude and certainly not tasteless, unless you are marketing porn or goods to teenagers.

One year ago, Mach7 Technologies came to our agency looking to rejuvenate their brand and to tell a refreshing story to hospitals and imaging centers in the U.S. We created a tagline of “Unlock. Unleash. UnPAC.” to explain how the company offered a different alternative to picture archiving and communication systems (PACS). It was more than a bit “in the face” of PACS imaging management vendors that have dominated the industry for 30+ years.

It was a bold, risky move, but one that clearly differentiated Mach7 from its competitors. The tagline communicated Mach7 offered an easier, more economical way of handling enterprise image management to health systems that felt held hostage to PACS vendor contracts.

The gutsy move paid off. One year later, Mach7 has superb brand recognition, wins deals away from staunch competitors, and gets regularly interviewed by the trade press.

In marketing, gutsy equals great.

Chris Slocumb

Author Chris Slocumb

Chris is the founder and president of Clarity Quest Marketing, where she leads a talented group of marketers and designers helping healthcare and technology companies achieve marketing and business goals. To learn more about Chris' experiences and qualifications, visit our leadership team page.

More posts by Chris Slocumb