Why the unique selling proposition (USP) of every technical product sounds the same

Almost every time I read about a new B2B startup or product, I get a sense of déjà vu.

Alas, it's not a glitch in the Matrix. It's because pretty much every product pitch sounds exactly the same.  Watered down, generic, and 100% free of taste.

Your product's USP, indistinguishable from everyone else's gruel

A grinder is at work at almost every B2B software company.  A soul-crushing process that pulverizes the unique, complex, and interesting, into gruel-like messaging that the industry's lowest common denominator (and by LCD, I mean the Public Relations people) find acceptable and almost understandable (see footnote).

Observe as the Unique Selling Proposition of the fictional product "DysfunctoCrank" is ground into pasty mush. Anyone remember that game "Telephone"???

What Development Says to Product Management:

DysfunctoCrank's architecture uses an MPP-architecture, patent-pending modified vulcan compression techniques, Eventual Iron(TM) technology, predictive klingon data cloning,  dynamic resource kirk-ification, blah, blah, and blah.  We tested DysfunctoCrank on clusters to 64 CPUs, and it did pretty well.  We haven't tested on anything bigger.

Remember, DysfunctoCrank uses proprietary clustering. We're going to have to rearchitect the entire thing from the ground up if you want to support cloud deployments, and that will take the entire Engineering team at least a year or two.

What Product Management Says to Product Marketing:

For 80% of the use cases, DysfunctoCrank is about 35% faster than anything else out there and can handle double the workload of anything else.  It can scale out and scale up near-linearly, across any number of CPUs or machines, and has best-in-class features for high availability.

DysfunctoCrank can currently be deployed on-premise, but in our next release we are aiming for cloud deployments (although we still have significant technical challenges to overcome).

What Product Marketing Says to Corporate Marketing:

DysfunctoCrank delivers cloud-based reliability, performance, and scalability that no other Crank system today can match. It is the industry's most efficient, cost-effective way to achieve your business goals.

  • All the benefits of the Cloud: Pay only for what you need - start small, add cloud capacity only as needed.
  • Infinite linearly scalable, supercharged predictable performance, and no wasted capacity
  • Self-healing, managed reliability

What Corporate Marketing Says to the Press and to the Analysts:

DysfunctoCloud (notice the product name change from DysfunctoCrank) is a cloud-based solution platform designed to increase your revenue, lower your TCO, and synergize with your efforts to engage users in a virtualized, Social Media Web 2.0, cloud-based world.  Plus it's in the cloud. DysfunctoCloud is CLOUD-TASTIC!!!!

What the Press Says to the World:

DysfunctoCloud is just like the cloud-based offerings from vendor X, vendor Y, and vendor Z.

What the Analysts Say to the World:

In our TragicQuadrangle, we're moving DysfunctoCloud a smidge to the right on the "vision" axis, because their cloud stuff sounds kinda seksi. But we're moving them down on the "ability to execute" axis because they sound unfocused, at least until they buy more consulting services.

Sue Raisty

Product management geek, born-again engineer, adoptive mother of boys, coach & mentor, mountain trail runner, tinkerer, no-bull communicator, wannabe writer, room mother & compulsive researcher.

Silicon Valley, California http://blog.sueraisty.com