What B2B marketers can learn from the 3 Minute Thesis.

largeIn reading page one of my friend’s thesis on the “emerging elds of micro systems technology and nano technology” I quickly learned that PhD theses are the most boring documents in the world.

That realization led me to an interesting article on a competition called the “Three Minute Thesis.” You see, in 2008, Queensland University got tired of all the long, incomprehensible PhD papers that require a herculean effort to even trudge through the table of contents. So they had students turn their 80,000-word, 9-hour-long-theses into 180 second, plain English speeches.

This little experiment quickly turned into a global competition. Today students from 350 universities across more than 18 countries worldwide participate. While the typical thesis wouldn’t have an audience beyond the team who reviews it, these awesome speeches regularly reel in tens of thousands of viewers on YouTube. So what can a B2B marketer learn from this?

Simple Language Always Wins

As B2B marketers, we sure as hell are not selling bubblegum. Our products and services are complicated. While it might not be brain surgery or rocket science, we very well could be selling brain surgery or rocket science technology.

So yes, it’s easy to understand why a whole lot of B2B marketing is full of technical jargon. But if we take the easy way out, our content comes off as lifeless and ambiguous.

What makes the speakers from the Three Minute Thesis competition successful is their ability to get rid of all that field-specific language and acronyms that are meaningless to people outside the field. Because when we drop all the buzzwords and jargon, the really exciting substantive benefits shine through.

Have Some Reader Empathy

We’re immersed in the product or service we promote, just like these students are immersed in their research. But you need to have some reader empathy. What is the reader’s level of expertise on this particular topic? We’re the experts. Not them. That doesn’t mean you have to over-explain everything. It means you should be able to make an executive decision on what is worth their time.

By the way, don’t cast the whole thing in an impersonal, passive voice. Get down with your slang self and speak to them like an actual person.

Explain Why It Matters

It’s easy for B2B marketers to succumb to the urge to want to expand on each and every product feature. But content overflowing with “key” points can quickly become pointless. As the Russian proverb goes, “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.”

Customers and prospects aren’t looking for a list of features. They want the benefit your product or service offers. And don’t think your amazing features are what should get all the attention. Yes, a lot of work went into them, but it’s the benefit that is relevant to your market. It’s simple. Just answer every consumer’s most basic question, “Why should I care?”

In short, if a PhD student who has spent the last three years slaving away at an 80,000 page thesis can find a way to get people excited about their “product” in 3/540ths of the time, I’m sure that all of us can get there as well.

 

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What B2B marketers can learn from the 3 Minute Thesis.

largeIn reading page one of my friend’s thesis on the “emerging elds of micro systems technology and nano technology” I quickly learned that PhD theses are the most boring documents in the world.

That realization led me to an interesting article on a competition called the “Three Minute Thesis.” You see, in 2008, Queensland University got tired of all the long, incomprehensible PhD papers that require a herculean effort to even trudge through the table of contents. So they had students turn their 80,000-word, 9-hour-long-theses into 180 second, plain English speeches.

This little experiment quickly turned into a global competition. Today students from 350 universities across more than 18 countries worldwide participate. While the typical thesis wouldn’t have an audience beyond the team who reviews it, these awesome speeches regularly reel in tens of thousands of viewers on YouTube. So what can a B2B marketer learn from this?

Simple Language Always Wins

As B2B marketers, we sure as hell are not selling bubblegum. Our products and services are complicated. While it might not be brain surgery or rocket science, we very well could be selling brain surgery or rocket science technology.

So yes, it’s easy to understand why a whole lot of B2B marketing is full of technical jargon. But if we take the easy way out, our content comes off as lifeless and ambiguous.

What makes the speakers from the Three Minute Thesis competition successful is their ability to get rid of all that field-specific language and acronyms that are meaningless to people outside the field. Because when we drop all the buzzwords and jargon, the really exciting substantive benefits shine through.

Have Some Reader Empathy

We’re immersed in the product or service we promote, just like these students are immersed in their research. But you need to have some reader empathy. What is the reader’s level of expertise on this particular topic? We’re the experts. Not them. That doesn’t mean you have to over-explain everything. It means you should be able to make an executive decision on what is worth their time.

By the way, don’t cast the whole thing in an impersonal, passive voice. Get down with your slang self and speak to them like an actual person.

Explain Why It Matters

It’s easy for B2B marketers to succumb to the urge to want to expand on each and every product feature. But content overflowing with “key” points can quickly become pointless. As the Russian proverb goes, “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.”

Customers and prospects aren’t looking for a list of features. They want the benefit your product or service offers. And don’t think your amazing features are what should get all the attention. Yes, a lot of work went into them, but it’s the benefit that is relevant to your market. It’s simple. Just answer every consumer’s most basic question, “Why should I care?”

In short, if a PhD student who has spent the last three years slaving away at an 80,000 page thesis can find a way to get people excited about their “product” in 3/540ths of the time, I’m sure that all of us can get there as well.

 

How can we help you make change?

There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What B2B marketers can learn from the 3 Minute Thesis.

largeIn reading page one of my friend’s thesis on the “emerging elds of micro systems technology and nano technology” I quickly learned that PhD theses are the most boring documents in the world.

That realization led me to an interesting article on a competition called the “Three Minute Thesis.” You see, in 2008, Queensland University got tired of all the long, incomprehensible PhD papers that require a herculean effort to even trudge through the table of contents. So they had students turn their 80,000-word, 9-hour-long-theses into 180 second, plain English speeches.

This little experiment quickly turned into a global competition. Today students from 350 universities across more than 18 countries worldwide participate. While the typical thesis wouldn’t have an audience beyond the team who reviews it, these awesome speeches regularly reel in tens of thousands of viewers on YouTube. So what can a B2B marketer learn from this?

Simple Language Always Wins

As B2B marketers, we sure as hell are not selling bubblegum. Our products and services are complicated. While it might not be brain surgery or rocket science, we very well could be selling brain surgery or rocket science technology.

So yes, it’s easy to understand why a whole lot of B2B marketing is full of technical jargon. But if we take the easy way out, our content comes off as lifeless and ambiguous.

What makes the speakers from the Three Minute Thesis competition successful is their ability to get rid of all that field-specific language and acronyms that are meaningless to people outside the field. Because when we drop all the buzzwords and jargon, the really exciting substantive benefits shine through.

Have Some Reader Empathy

We’re immersed in the product or service we promote, just like these students are immersed in their research. But you need to have some reader empathy. What is the reader’s level of expertise on this particular topic? We’re the experts. Not them. That doesn’t mean you have to over-explain everything. It means you should be able to make an executive decision on what is worth their time.

By the way, don’t cast the whole thing in an impersonal, passive voice. Get down with your slang self and speak to them like an actual person.

Explain Why It Matters

It’s easy for B2B marketers to succumb to the urge to want to expand on each and every product feature. But content overflowing with “key” points can quickly become pointless. As the Russian proverb goes, “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.”

Customers and prospects aren’t looking for a list of features. They want the benefit your product or service offers. And don’t think your amazing features are what should get all the attention. Yes, a lot of work went into them, but it’s the benefit that is relevant to your market. It’s simple. Just answer every consumer’s most basic question, “Why should I care?”

In short, if a PhD student who has spent the last three years slaving away at an 80,000 page thesis can find a way to get people excited about their “product” in 3/540ths of the time, I’m sure that all of us can get there as well.

 

How can we help you make change?

There are no comments yet. Be the first and leave a response!

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