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January 16, 2009 / jasonpinto

My TMI Factor…


It happens to us nearly every day… Someone is telling  us a story, but they start carrying on too long. And before you know it, they tell us something that makes us cringe. Our usual reply at that moment is “Oh! Too much information”.. or, “TMI!”. To be honest, we are all guilty of it too. The stop-factor in our brain isn’t always as quick as our mouth.

Most of the time the “extra” information is fairly harmless. Maybe it’s a detail from an embarrasing story, or perhaps a family secret.

But, what about when it comes to business? In marketing, we really need to be passionate about what we are talking about. We need to be excited about the product or service that we are promoting, and the challenges that it can solve.

When it comes to “too much information”, there are two things to consider.

One, are we trying to tell our prospects every thing we can do for them all at once? Is our website crowded with text and lists… are our direct mails and emails trying to list every new feature of our product?   Well, these are great things to consider. But, that one is for another day.

The aspect I am thinking of lately is in regards to how much should we publicize, without providing too much fuel for our competition… Not too imply that people are stealing! But, we are all trying to look for inspiration.

Let’s take a software company as an example. How many screenshots of our product should we show on the website? Should we have videos that show people how easy it is to use our solution? There is absolutely an argument that say “Yes”! But at the same time, there may be someone across the table that raises the very valid point – by exposing a great deal of how your product works, are you making it easier for someone to take the good things that you do, and then find a way to incorporate them into their business offering?

Or, if we publicize every “insider” benefit that our customers receive from us, do we then help our competition add similar value-added services to their clients?

Yikes, just writing this down is starting to cause me pain! I do think it’s a very valid point to consider.

Now, I would love to have some sort of litmus test for this… for example, before I post this to the website, or before I send out this email, am I sure that this information will not hurt us in some way… ? If anyone has any ideas or thoughts on this topic, please send them over! Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.

In the meantime, I think the lesson is to consider both sides of the argument… You have to show balance!

Just like we wish that friend left out the oh-so-disgusting detail from their camping trip story, there is such a thing as too much information. We all know there are downfalls if we try telling our prospects every thing at once. The same can be true for the competitors that are watching us.

One Comment

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  1. Ed Cianci / Jan 24 2009 5:14 am

    You’re right, balance is important.

    You never want to tip your hand and divulge trade secrets. But what are those? In my opinion, that’s not PURL’s and VDP themselves, but specifically how we enable PURLs and how we execute variable data jobs, or what algorithm is employed for predicting future product usage.

    I think of a product or service website as a member of the sales team, one that works tirelessly for you 24 x 7 x 365, and costs you next to nothing. It should attempt to draw in as much traffic as possible, and while they’re there, to answer as many of their questions as possible.

    Sometimes you have to show a little skin.

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