Monday, July 7, 2008

Monday Morning Marketeer, Telling Your Technology Story--You Don't Have to Be a Techno Geek

Episode 48 Telling Your Technology Story: You Don’t Have to be a techno Geek!

One of the things that I learned from doing the Techno Granny show is that people love to hear about technology. It’s not only a favorite topic but no one wants to be left out. Also there are still a lot of people who don’t understand all of the fancy techno geek words. So take a lesson from the Monday Morning Marketeer, also known as Techno Granny in pseudo technology circles: tell your story so your grandmother can understand.

Write your story in simple terms, don’t be embarrassed for it to read like a children’s book. Big words and technology savvy stuff may impress the technologically savvy, but are they your target?

If you consistently tell good stories, and give information that is easily understandable, you will garner a much larger audience and your customers will not find it a chore to listen to you.
A comment was made that they like listening to my Techno Granny show because I act real dumb when I am interviewing my guest who is either people who use the technology and are conversant with it or are experts? I am not trying to impress listeners with my knowledge but to get knowledge out of the experts that will help my listeners.

The same information applies to all kinds of story telling: So what makes a good story?

First of all: Is it a good story?
Second: Is it appropriate to your audience?
Third: Will it hold your audiences attention?
Fourth: Is it easy to understand?
Fifth: Is it fun, even geekdom can be funny?

There is always more than one way to tell your story. Remember: Making mistakes comes with the territory. Capture their attention and make them want to listen.

What kinds of technology stories do you have to tell?

Information about your programs and services: I like to start off any story with a humorous or at least semi humorous dilemma. For instance I tell my cell phone story when I am educating audiences about Web 2.0 and how the paradigm shift from mass media, interruptive marketing is not that great.

Educate groups and committees: whether it is working groups, non profits, employees, business associates or customers—make it interesting, try a bold headline that makes them want to read more. This is extreme but when I wanted people to listen to my Techno Granny Show on Blogging and I knew a lot of my listeners did not quite understand, I wanted them to know it was okay that they didn’t understand so they would listen in? So I titled the episode, Blogging—is that a Country Dance? When I did an episode on Blue Tooth Technology—the title was Blue Tooth: Do I need a dentist or a college degree? Be creative!

Notifications: –Let me know the difference in how this sounds? “Using Web 2.0 to Promote Your Business or “Using Web 2.0 to Get People to Love Your Biz?”

Communication challenges:

Is good communication a priority? Well, with all of the e-mail out there and blogs and the fact that in the information age communication is super pervasive, the answer is that it is a SUPER PRIORITY. Now that communication is so pervasive, people will just not accept poor communication, which includes misspelling if it’s written and poor grammar
Also using too much information is not a good thing. (don’t require scrolling because your customers won’t read it)

Appropriate level of technical details: Don’t use jargon; keep technical info to a minimum; provide a link to more information since people who want technical info will seek it out.

Communication Solutions:

Be simple and direct. Shorter stories are usually easier to write.
Make sure the story and it’s language are appropriate to your audience
How important is IT to the story? Establish what is need to know versus nice to know. How much technology needs to be in the story? Just because you’re an IT professional doesn’t mean you need to load your story up with technology details. You don’t need to impress people even if you are not an IT person with your knowledge of technology. Sometimes less is more and simple is better.
Accentuate the positive. Don’t need to say email will be down because you are replacing an antiquated, out of warranty server. Tell them “we are installing a new, improved state of the art e-mail server for your convenience. Make your message benefit based-- tell them the benefit they will recognize as a result of the service. You will get more consideration and understanding if they see a meaningful improvement following an inconvenience.
Keep a positive focus; do not be overly apologetic.
Use multiple channels for sharing information. One story is often not enough; may need to tell it multiple times or different stories to different audiences. Share your story in different formats, e mail, newsletter, post card, fax, (often ignored with the advent of e-mail—don’t!)
Good communication is everyone’s responsibility.

Framework of your communication for technology challenges which are going to happen because it’s a good day when technology works.
If it’s a technology challenge:

We know there is a problem.
We have a solution.
Here’s when we will fix it.
Here’s what you need to do
Here’s where to go for more information

Here are your resources to help you:
1. Colleagues: at home and other institutions
2. Your customers
Try communications on a few of them to see how it works before you send it.

Proactive suggestions for technology stories:

Take opportunities to make your customers look good for instance when one of your customers starts a newsletter, sets up Face Book or My Space or starts their own Social Networking Group. How about telling their stories briefly as an addendum to your story?

How about starting a Student Advisory Board—get some students to sign on with you as advisors and meet with them monthly during the semester. Students are always looking to update their resumes and being on an advisory board makes him look good. Ask t hem what are the IT issues they think are important and want to talk about this year? Don’t want just the folks who are IT knowledgeable to give you input.

This blog post can be reproduced in its entirety with the following information: © Joanne Quinn-Smith, Monday Morning Marketeer 412-628-5048 Listen at:

No comments: