When I traveled on the tube in London, I saw these warnings on the platform's edge reading "Mind the gap". Immediately, it came to me that this is the essence of failure in tech marketing and communications. People are not aware enough of the gaps they need to cross to succeed in the market.
The speed gap. Unlike in any other industry, the pace of fundamentally new technologies and trends is breakneck, resulting in two difficulties: First, the tech train is moving fast. If you want to jump on it, you must act quickly. You have to make your point swift. It is like an elevator pitch. You won't make it if you don't get your story across fast. Good stories are never complicated or lengthy. But the time it needs to craft a good story might as well be. So you need any help you can get to deliver a messaging that is compelling fast. Second, products and services rapidly become commodities that suffer from margin erosion. Your window of opportunity is short. Mind the gap.
The fairness gap. IT and tech markets are not fair. The best product or service does not automatically win the race. Have you ever heard of IBM OS/2? Technically, it was a much better PC operating system than Microsoft Windows, and IBM was even the leading PC vendor back then. However, it failed since it came too late (see above) and did not provide a new story, aka differentiation. The first vendor that tells a story gets all the merits. In the case of OS/2, it did not matter that their windows were neater or technically more solid. So the best way to position yourself is to tell a uniquely new story that is looking at a challenge from a new angle, providing a new approach and thus tilting the playground in your favor. Create a gap between you and your competitors. Mind that gap, too.
The translation gap. IT and technology remain a myth to many decision-makers in business. However, since many benefits stem from technical innovations, you need to translate technical advantages into messages widely understood by your customer's decision-makers. That is hard since you have to be both: a nerd and a storyteller. A little nerdiness helps to understand the technology behind innovation, and a great communicator will be able to transfer it to a sticky story that people understand and won't forget. And don't forget the man in the middle: If your sales reps and channel partners can't sing your song, you are lost. Making sure that your messages travel unabbreviated down the sales and distribution chain is crucial. Once again, mind the gap.
So, in essence, to shine out in competition, you need a story deeply rooted in technology and still easy to digest. It must create differentiation and uniqueness, and you need this story fast. Master these gaps, and you will succeed. Companies that fail to differentiate their products and services with an excellent story will end up in a me-too competitive situation that will not allow them to gain the revenues and margins required to grow and survive in the long run.
So always remember: Mind the gap.
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