The Turn of the Phrase

Lately, I have been working with Product Marketing.  It is a fascinating department within a company.  I drew a picture of where they sit in the organization.

Product Marketing has the role of translating specific product features into more outbound messages.  They create messaging “marchitectures” (It’s a play on words, get it?) and frameworks where all of the features support a grander vision of the company story.  Great product marketing creates a narrative that puts the sales and marketing departments in a place to beat the competition.

It’s incredibly specialized and difficult work, when done properly.  A great story doesn’t come from thin air.  The “turn of the phrase” is a key skill that makes all the difference in the world.  It’s almost like writing lyrics for a song.  Coming up with that perfect phrase, the perfect rhyme, the perfect idea will make the difference between a hit and a dud.

Recently, I have been watching Mad Men.  Don Draper is the classic genius at product marketing and advertising.  He wants to control the conversation through messaging and storytelling.  When a company can control the conversation, they will win.  In fact, it’s not just a company that does this.  Politicians whole careers are based on their ability to control the conversation.

The turn of the phrase is so important.  I make the same wish every year over some issue, but I will make it one more time.  I wish our education system had REQUIRED classes on things that really matter.  Like:

  1. Public Speaking and making compelling presentations
  2. Managing a bank account
  3. Creative problem solving
  4. Business writing (like emails and memos)
  5. Business Storytelling
  6. Mentoring / Managing
  7. Microsoft Office (PowerPoint, Excel, Word, Access)

I’ll make the wish again next year.  When you hear a good way of putting something, think about the elegance of it and how you can use it.  A good phrase is worth a thousand bullet points.

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