Context is Everything

Its the context stupid. A play on James Carville’s famous advice to Presidential candidate Bill Clinton in 1992. When marketing something complex like big data, economic policies, semantic computing, trade policy, etc.; best to keep it stupid simple. Customers don’t much care how a solution is delivered so long as the get the result they are looking for. How the solution is delivered matters, but principally in how it makes the customer feel about how they have achieved the desired result. Nobody likes feeling like they overpaid, killed kittens, or bulldozed a rainforest, but ultimately customers just want the result. Carville’s message to Clinton and ultimately to the American Electorate, is that the Clinton Administration will ‘fix’ the economy (implying the Bush Administration broke it), which will ‘create’ jobs, ‘raise’ wages, and ‘grow’ the economy. Clinton’s ‘customers’ (the electorate), did not really care how a Clinton admin would achieve these broad promises, they only needed to ‘feel’ that he could. You could fill a room with nobel prize PhD economists and political scientist and none of them could provide you a clear answer as to whether or not any of Clinton admin’s policies lead to the economic boom that coincided with his presidency, but none can argue that he can claim delivery of the promised result.

Complex business solution selling is not a whole lot different. Sure there are entire teams on the customer side and in many cases outside consultants assigned to understanding and influencing exactly how a solution is delivered in order to achieve contracted results, but in the end decision makers care little of the how, they are focused on the why. The Why is the context of buying and selling.

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