At the New Marketing Summit I attended two weeks ago, David Meerman Scott, author of the 2007 business book, “The New Rules of Marketing and PR,” questioned the validity of companies using keywords in their mission statements when and if their customers used other words.
For instance, look at the computer hard drive storage industry and focus on Seagate, Western Digital, and Iomega. I visited their corporate websites and immediately clicked to their listing of press releases.
Look at these “About” statements found at the bottom of every press release.
Seagate is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of hard disk drives and storage solutions, providing products for a wide-range of applications, including Enterprise, Desktop, Mobile Computing, Consumer Electronics and Branded Solutions. Seagate’s business model leverages technology leadership and world-class manufacturing to deliver industry-leading innovation and quality to its global customers, with the goal of being the time-to-market leader in all markets in which it participates. The company is committed to providing award-winning products, customer support and reliability to meet the world’s growing demand for information storage. Seagate can be found around the globe and at http://www.seagate.com.
WD, one of the storage industry’s pioneers and long-time leaders, provides products and services for people and organizations that collect, manage and use digital information. The company produces reliable, high-performance hard drives that keep users’ data accessible and secure from loss. WD applies its storage expertise to consumer products for external, portable and shared storage applications.
WD was founded in 1970. The company’s storage products are marketed to leading systems manufacturers, selected resellers and retailers under the Western Digital and WD brand names. Visit the Investor section of the company’s Web site (www.westerndigital.com) to access a variety of financial and investor information.
Iomega Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of EMC Corporation headquartered in San Diego, is a worldwide leader in innovative storage and network security solutions for small businesses, home offices, consumers and others. The Company has sold more than 400 million digital storage drives and disks since its inception in 1980. Today, Iomega’s product portfolio includes industry leading network attached storage products, external hard drives, and our award-winning removable storage technology, the REV® Backup Drive. To learn about all of Iomega’s digital storage products and managed services solutions, please go to the Web at www.iomega.com.
I leave it to you to disect these mission statements but common threads are evident:
- Seagate considers itself “the leader” whereas the other two firms describe their industry leadership as one of many, using terms like “one of the pioneers” and “a worldwide leader.”
- Seagate and Iomega describe their products as “award-winning” when Western Digital does not.
- Seagate doesn’t mention its year of founding.
- Iomega mentions how many drives it’s sold.
- Seagate describes itself as “a worldwide leader” with “technology leadership” with “industry-leading” quality to be the “time-to-market leader.” The other two companies use “lead” derivatives twice.
Perhaps I’m being picky but it’s their language, not mine.
What do their users think?
When you think of Western Digital, Iomega, and Seagate computer hard drives, what words come to mind?
Would it surprise you the half-dozen answers ranged from sweet, smooth, solid, and sturdy to catastrophic, cheap, obsolete, and well-marketed?
Where are these adjectives in the mission statements, other that Seagate’s inclusion of “marketing?”
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t suggest that these words be used verbatim in corporate descriptions but there is clearly a disconnect between the language, whether written in-house or by external PR firms and today’s users. By listening to what people say – or asking questions like I did – companies can be more authentic to their customers.