Go to Blog

Strong in Tech But Struggling with Marketing? Project Clarity in a Digital Marketplace

Don Purdum

Don will join SEMrush on March 12 for a free webinar, “5 Questions That Will Transform Your Content Marketing Overnight." Learn more about the webinar after the jump!

Every day I run into awesome companies that create or use technologies to help their clients. They are amazing at web design, web development, search engine optimization, app development and social media, but fail to clearly market themselves as problem-solvers for businesses and individual users.

Great companies who are stellar at helping other businesses achieve their business goals through technology ought to have marketing and sales funnels so full they either have to strategically position themselves for growth in order to handle the workload or have partner companies that can alleviate the work overflow.

The problem for so many gifted and talented companies is that no matter how great they are, few of their potential customers know they even exist and this keeps companies from thriving and making a difference in the world for others.


  • Because no matter how good you are at helping others, you have tunnel syndrome and you’ve become worthless at helping yourself.
  • You’ve gotten so close to your own business that all you know to share is what you do without the clarity of understanding the real impact that you have on others.
  • Your idea of marketing may be to attend local networking and chamber events or you try to spread the news online through Twitter chats, social media posts, and your website.
  • It all sounds good - and after all you’re a technology business so you ought to be raking in the dough as prospects are knocking down your door. Right?

But it isn’t happening.


The reason is really simple for most; you’re confused about what business you’re “really” in and so are your prospects. You lack clarity and it shows in your messaging. The only thing you really know to communicate is what you do and how they can contact you if they want to buy your services.

How Do I Know You’re Confused?

Because the inconsistency of your messaging screams it; your marketing says nothing, means nothing and helps no one.

In effect, your marketing is exposing how out of touch you are with your audience and with your own business. You have one idea of what you do and your audience has no idea what you do.

You may be saying to me right now in your mind;think right now: “Don, if they are looking for app developers, of which I’m one, then they know exactly what I do!?”

Do they?

That’s an assumption on your part and one you shouldn’t be making. No matter how many other developers are out there, there is only one you. There is no one like you!

But you are stuck at talking about what you do and so is everyone else. You don’t look, sound or read any different than your competitors.

The truth is that no one cares about what you do; they care about how you help them solve their problems. As an app developer, you likely solve all kinds of problems that you are not even remotely aware of right now.

So you are stuck at telling people what you do.

Telling people what you do is boring, uninspiring and to your audience (who doesn’t really have a clue about how to apply your technology), it is deeply confusing.

Confusion is caused by a lack of clarity, and clarity is the driver of your marketing and messaging. When you work on the foundation of your business, you will gain clarity and focus and your marketing execution will become a delight to your website visitors, social media followers, email subscribers and those you meet when you go to networking events.

Let’s take this anonymous app development website as an example of how most companies market themselves: marketing-example What does this website say above the fold about why I ought to consider this business for my app development needs?

It in no way is addressing any common problems about why someone ought to have an app. All it says is “world class…” blah blah blah.

Why not say something much more meaningful? Subliminally, this just says you don’t really know who you are and that you took the lazy way out.

Now, some might think either consciously or subconsciously that if you’re too lazy to identify with me, how are you going to help me with my goals and objectives regarding an app for my business?

Perhaps you could say something more meaningful like:

“89% of consumers prefer to access online content via mobile apps vs 11% for mobile websites in 2015 on their smartphones – are you missing your audience yet? Click here to learn how you can increase your business through an engaging mobile app!”

This is just one example that would give a prospect an idea of how you identify with their need. They want more eyes on their brand, prospects in their sales funnel and more profitable customers who are able and willing to buy from them.

This certainly helps a prospect identify with an app development company more than just saying “World Class Mobile App Developers.”

If World Class App Developers is your claim to fame, I’m left with “So What?”

Who cares?

To make matters worse, below the fold they go straight into the app development process.? But wait -? I still don’t know what an app can do for me or why I really need one over a mobile website for my business or whatever I’m trying to accomplish.? All I know is some guy said somewhere I ought to think about an app and you immediately want to talk about process over why I need it.

Does that make any real sense?

Now, in everything you communicate, you drive home the point that a business’s customers would prefer to engage with your content more on an app than on a mobile responsive website. It’s friendlier, easier to use and find, and you can give them the option to receive automatic notifications when you add new content.

Having complete clarity around your business means your prospects will have complete clarity around your products or services and why they need you. It will also enable them to share you with their audience because they fully understand the tangible values you bring to the marketplace.

How Do I Gain Clarity?

Clarity is found when one does the hard work on your business instead of just working in your business.

Think about it for just one moment; how many times has a prospect contacted you to share an idea or need that they have and they want you to create something? As they try to explain what they want, you have no idea what they are really asking you to do because they are not being clear.

When you’re confused, it can take a long time to work it through with them to figure it out so that you know how to price the project and help them.

In marketing, you don’t get the leisure of time. You have a few seconds to resonate, identify with and inspire your site visitor or whoever you may be talking with before they check out and move on to the next one that confuses them. They continue on until they find the one person who pulls it all together and helps them make sense of what they need and how to go about meeting their need.

You know it’s true because you do the exact same thing when there is a lack of clarity. Doubt  and doubt creeps in as to whether someone really understands you and can help you.

You can find and project clarity once you can answer the following questions:

  1. What tangible values do my products or services provide my clients? In other words, what is the result or experience they receive for having worked with you?
  2. What specific problems do you solve for each tangible value? This must be very specific.
  3. Who do you “specifically” solve the problems for?
  4. How are your products or services “a” part of a solution?

What is the True Nature of Your Business?

Once you’ve worked through answering these questions, we can learn very quickly what business you are “really” in.

You are not in the app development, web design, social media marketing, or search engine optimization business!

That is what you do; it’s not the result that you achieve for your clients.

You have to make the shift from mass marketing that talks to everyone about everything you do to learning how to think about your business from another point of view.

When you can answer the questions above and the discover what business you’re “really” in from the prospects’ point of view, you gain clarity that resonates, connects, inspires, motivates and encourages people to do business with you.

Let’s Figure This Out Together

If you don’t know what business you’re really in, then I encourage you to join me on March 12, 2015 in an upcoming webinar that I will be on with SEMrush.

We will go into some more details about how to answer these questions and start gaining the clarity you need in order to really grow your business.

If you’re ready to make that shift, then RSVP and join me at the webinar. Along with SEMrush, I’ll show you how you can transition from just being another technology company to being a company that projects how great you truly are! Register today!

Like this post? Follow us on RSS and read more interesting posts:

Don Purdum is the Owner and Founder of Unveil the Web. He has worked as a non-profit fundraiser raising millions of dollars and he has been an entrepreneur since 2004 where he owned a web design, web development and Internet marketing firm. He is a sought after strategic marketing coach and consultant, blogger and speaker.
Share this post


2000 symbols remain
Sherman Smith
Hey Don,

When it comes to your business and the services and products you provide, clarity is very important. You customers have to be clear about what you can actually do for them.

This may be a bad example, but just today, I went to Sam's Club to replace a cell phone because the display doesn't show anymore. They advertise in large writing that the phone is $79 dollars. Although I got it for $50 and the regular price was I thought $199 dollars where it was advertised when it first came out, in actuality the phone was over $700 dollars. Can you see where the confusion is? This can really confused the customer and make them think otherwise of the phone company. Luckily I had a yr warranty and get a free replacement.

But when you're advertising, you have to be clear on what you promote as well as be tuned into WIIFM (What's in it for me). Without these two, your customers will turn their focus to other businesses who are much more clear about what they promote and how they can help you.

Great post Don! Thanks for sharing!
Don Purdum
Sherman Smith
Hi Sherman,

Clarity is the #1 driver of your business. If you're confused so is audience, employees, vendors, creditors, prospects and customers...

Some companies are very confusing around their warranties and what they will cover and not cover. It's regrettable; they ought to be very clear about it but instead many see it as a marketing tool and it makes sense when they are selling billions of dollars worth of warranties that will never be used. It's pure profit; so in this case they feel confusion is their friend because you likely won't buy it if really know what it covered.

Great point about the WIIFM...

I appreciate your comment Sherman!

~ Don
Hi Don,

That experience, or value note is where it's at! This point - and post - is pure gold because we gain clarity by seeing benefits, the good stuff, the experiences, that our audience wants from our product. In my case, people want freedom. That is, they want to retire to a life of island hopping through smart blogging, and they want to free themselves from a 9-5 job, or from being stuck in 1 spot. I let that freedom benefit, or experience, bleed through all of my work and naturally, I will get clearer and clearer as I dwell on that chief benefit. That's the secret; feel that immense benefit, that experience, that you are offering, and that people, your market, really want, and you'll get clearer and clearer with your message by the day. It's really that easy, simple and direct.

Congrats Don on another fab post here!

Tweeting from Bali.

Don Purdum
Ryan Biddulph
Hi Ryan,

I LOVE that you are very clear around your business. "Freedom" is a powerful statement all unto itself and when put into your context is a strong motivator.

I wish I had more to add, but it might turn into a book and I'm writing enough of those these days, lol...

Hope you're having a great time in Bali!

~ Don
Great points here Don. A lot of companies think in terms of the functionality they provide, instead of focusing on the end result, which is what the customer really wants. I know at NinjaOutreach we help businesses connect with bloggers, but really it is about saving them time and adding value through increased sales via their promotion efforts. It can be tricky with the copywritting!
Don Purdum
Dave Schneider
Hi Dave,

Thank you so much for sharing! Function over result... that's a great perspective!!!

I can appreciate that it can be tricky! I know you have a really interesting business and I enjoy reading your site!

I hope you have an incredible week ahead!

~ Don
Andrew M.  Warner
Hey Don,

Great post here on SEM again, my friend.

Lack of clarity is something that can really hurt businesses. As a blogger, I'm starting to see how much it can actually hurt you.

With regards to the example you gave with that company, it's true. World Class .... doesn't say anything about how they can actually help or why an app is important. In fact, I found that site you're referring to and they sort of just go on a pitch about them. When it should be about the reader/consumer. They state no benefits on that page at all.

Anyhow, great post that's really hitting home for me today. This is two posts in a row I read about clarity and defining what my business/blog is about ... so I'll take that as a sign to sort things out.

- Andrew
Don Purdum
Andrew M. Warner
Hi Andrew,

That is the classic issue the majority of businesses face... their websites say so little but yet the business expects so much.

Keep searching Andrew, that clarity is right there in front of you. If I can help in any way please let me know.

Have a great finish to your week!

~ Don
Carol Amato
Hello, Don,

What an excellent article, and I couldn’t agree more! :-) Excellent topic of discussion, thanks for sharing your ideas.

Clarity - something that for me, was illusive for far too long. I’m thankful for a good coach who helped me understand what business I wanted to be in and how to construct the framework to make it happen.

There is definitely a fine balance in having clarity and central theme to our business and sounding like a broken record.

Trial and error, time and experience will help finesse our communication during flight and prevent us from sounding like that dreaded broken record. Keeping things fresh, relevant and yet staying true to our mission.

Awesome read, Don - you really got me thinking here. Thanks!

Don Purdum
Carol Amato
Hi Carol,

I appreciate your point about finding balance. There is definitely many ways to say the same thing so that ones content remains fresh and relevant.

Thanks for your kind words and I'm glad I could get you thinking!

~ Don
What a totally awesome and extremely educational post (as usual ) Don!

First of all, I absolutely love how you articulated, that the typical business owner simply has no earthly idea what real problem solutions they provide for their target audience!

And consequently, neither does their intended audience! So sadly, they both miss out!

How many times has this all too common situation (on or offline) occurred over and over again!

Thank goodness there are highly skilled professional "problem solvers" around, such as yourself, that can show them (and the rest of us) the error of our ways!

While reading your common sense, battlefield tested marketing approach to helping businesses undue their tunnel vision approach to marketing and advertising themselves.

It becomes painfully obvious "how" not so common the powerful solutions you are providing in the marketplace, really are!

Thanks as usual, Don! You've expanded me just a little bit more!
Don Purdum
Mark Newsome
Hi Mark,

That's a great point that both miss out! As business owners we often thing it's those who don't buy us that miss out but as you said it's just as true that our prospects miss out on us.

I really appreciate your kind words and thank you for encouraging me!

Have a great second half to your week Mark!

~ Don
Tor Refsland
Congratulations with another well-written post on SEMRush.

This is a great post.

Your questions below are definitely food for thought.

“1. What tangible values do my products or services provide my clients? In other words, what is the result or experience they receive for having worked with you?

2. What specific problems do you solve for each tangible value? This must be very specific.

3. Who do you “specifically” solve the problems for?

4. How are your products or services “a” part of a solution?”

I do firmly believe that even thought that most business owners think they have those questions nailed, I am certain that it can be optimized even more.

I will of course participate on your webinar.

I`m registering now.

Thanks again for a great post, Don.

Don Purdum
Tor Refsland
Hi Tor,

I appreciate your comment, thank you for sharing the benefit out received in the post.

I'm glad you joined the seminar and I love the support!

~ Don
Neamat Tawadrous
Hi Don,

Wonderful post indeed!! Your message is very clear!!

As business owners we should be problem solvers and our role should be to pin point the pain of our target market and let them know that we have their solution. That's the reason that will attract them our way.

I love how you put it though: "Having complete clarity around your business means your prospects will have complete clarity around your products or services and why they need you."

Thanks Don for sharing this useful and eye opener post!!

Congratulations on the Launch of your new book!! All the best!!

Have a great rest of the week.

Be Blessed,

Don Purdum
Neamat Tawadrous
Hi Neamat,

Thank you for your comment and encouragement!!!

Clarity is the single best thing that any business can work on to begin getting results immediately.

It opens the doors of possibility on any tool or platform when people understand us, what we do and why they should buy from us.

I appreciate your congratulations and look forward to a few dynamic weeks!!!

I look forward to chatting soon!

~ Don
Hey Don,

Great to see you sharing your expertise over here at SEMRush again. I'm sure they are really happy to have you and I know those who join your webinar are going to learn a LOT.

You are the pro at this, you are my go to guy for understanding our business and marketing. I know that oftentimes people don't realize that this can't be about them. I mean why are they doing business in the first place right! To help their clients solve whatever problems they have or whatever issue they may need addressing. If you can help your prospects and/or customers do that then you have definitely got a winning combination.

You just help those in need understand exactly how to do that and get their message across clearly. So when someone lands on their site they KNOW how you can help them and then you do. When that all happens then that's the winning combination.

Another great share Don and thanks for pointing this out in a very clear way. I think people are finally starting to "get it".

Have a great week and great seeing you here again.

Don Purdum
Hi Adrienne,

You are a ROCKSTAR!!!! I think you are a great example of understanding my own personal clarity. You fully get my business and what I do. I said in my blog article today on my site that technology is not the problem, it's just what blame the problem for.

Instead the real problem is us as business owners and entrepreneurs who don't have clarity and focus and our messaging is all over the board.

And we wonder why people aren't contacting us or buying us online.

I so appreciate you and your comment as always Adrienne. You really encouraged me today!

~ Don
Sylviane Nuccio
Hi Don,

Well, you've said it again, and rightly so.

I think that most business owners assume too much, and they shouldn't, as you said. People may kind of know what you do, what's your business is about, but that certainly doesn't mean that they know HOW you can help them personally.

I totally get that now!

This is something I'm really starting to work on seriously. Finding ways to let people know HOW I can help them specifically, and that's starting to show, to some degree I guess, on my posts. But there's still room for improvement. Paris wasn't built in one day as they say.

In any case, whatever business keeps focusing on themselves can't really ever be successful. We need to learn how to focus on the potential and current customer.

Great post, and nice to see you here again, Don.
Don Purdum
Sylviane Nuccio
Hi Sylviane,

You bring up an excellent, excellent point! You are really on to something with you reference businesses owners may be assuming too much.

In virtually every consultation I have to spend time helping my new friend unwind their assumptions. The truth is they are really not assumptions, they hopes that they have talked themselves into believing.

Thank you so much for your support and friendship Sylviane. I'm looking forward to contributing to your blog early next week!

~ Don
Leslie L Denning
Hi Don. What a wonderful post. I read every word. You are so right about the need for
business owners to define what they do and figure out how to communicate that to other people.
It can be a struggle for online marketers, as we don't have that building with a sign out front. But really, it's not often we walk past a business without knowing what's inside. We don't see 'Sally's Store'. We see 'Sally's Flowers and Gifts'. We see window displays, hours of operation on the door, maybe some information about a sale, etc.

If we think of our customers coming to our business, even though it's online, we might be more clear in our communication. Thanks for getting my brain turning.

All the best,
Don Purdum
Leslie L Denning
Hi Leslie,

I'm so glad I could your brain turning!!! That makes it worth it for me to write when fellow business owners and entrepreneurs start thinking more deeply about their business.

Clarity is the key to make our marketing work online... clarity is the word picture that allows us to communicate in such a way that our readers and prospects feel like they are looking into the window of a business to see who we are and what's going on; and more importantly why they should stop in the shop and buy.

Great comment Leslie as you may have given me a few ideas?

Have a great second half of your week.

~ Don
Hi Don,

This is just as great a post as you are! :)

"Clarity" is a very deep word and it can really change you as a person, or change the way you think or work. I totally agree with you because I've been in the phases that you've described in the post.

It's sort of a "identity crises" that you go through when you don't really understand yourself or your business. I'm presently making a shift in my purpose and business and I can identify with some of the points you make.

It's so important how you put across yourself to people. Making people clear and more aware about their needs, your products, and the relationships between them really helps.

You're right that people look for solutions. You should be able to guide them through a process to show them how you can help them.

But first, you've to understand yourself and your business. You should be able to answer all questions like what, why, how, when, etc.

This post is a great food for thought and inspiring one to work on my clarity and be more progressive.

Thanks for this post, Don, and good to read your second one here :)
Don Purdum
Harleena Singh
Hi Harleena,

You are very kind, thank you for such kind words of encouragement!

I'm so glad you the shared a bit of your story. Clarity is so hard to find until you know the right questions to ask. I couldn't agree more that it's an "identity crisis" when you are in a state of confusion.

Many business owners are unintentionally causing chaos not just in their businesses but also for their prospects.

If you have clarity, so will your customers as they have more and more reasons to buy from you.

I so appreciate your comment and stopping by to share your experience. That's really exciting!!!

Have a great second half of your week.

~ Don
Kevin Carlton
Hi Don

Of course, it's not just tech companies that have this habit of stating what they do rather than selling the benefits. But I can see exactly why it happens more in this kind of industry.

And these days, it's not just a case of highlighting the benefits rather than the features – your USP is also becoming more important than ever.

In the old days, when direct mail was your main way of reaching your audience, if people decided they wanted the kind of product you were offering it was much harder to seek out rival products elsewhere.

But now your competitors are just one click away. And it's so much easier to compare the market.

So it's absolutely vital you're clear about what makes your product stand out from the others. Because, if you don't, customers will buy from the company that does.
Don Purdum
Kevin Carlton
Hi Kevin,

Yes! Absolutely, if you don't get clear your customer's will buy from those who are. It's so easy to be disorganized in our minds and all over the board. If we are confused so are our prospects.

Let's give them a reason to buy us instead of a reason to buy the other company.

Thank you for commenting Kevin!!!

~ Don
Erik Emanuelli
Hi Don,
it's all about getting to know your audience,
and presenting them solutions to their problems.

Producing content that solve their needs, will increase trust and sense of reciprocity.

Congratulations for the great post and for your new product!
Don Purdum
Erik Emanuelli
Hi Erik,

Great to see you here! I couldn't agree more and your spot on. If we can help business owners create the clarity they need then we can help them achieve the results they are looking for.

Thanks for the kind words Erik! I hope you have a great second half of your week.

~ Don
Ashley Faulkes
You clearly make your statement with your messaging Don, hat off to you. It is very motivating to read your post. Of course taking that to the next level is always a bit harder, but I have signed up for the webinar, and will actually be in the states at the time, for a change :> So I am looking forward to seeing what more you can add to this conversation! great stuff
Don Purdum
Ashley Faulkes
Hi Ashley,

Thank you very much for your kind words! That means a lot to me.

It is hard to make the leap and find the clarity that will help us become more successful as we eliminate confusion for our prospects and customers as we become more clear about our own businesses.

I wrote my eBook to go deeper into this very discussion. It's titled "The Shift - The Fast Paced Transition from Mass Marketing to Context Marketing: Learn how to resonate with and inspire those who are ready to buy from you"

If you're going to be in Philly let me know. Perhaps I could connect with you and Brandon?

Thanks again Ashley. I hope you have a great second half of the week.

~ Don
Muba Mi
Hi Don

An eye opening post especially for those who focus more at manufacturing and take the marketing for granted.

It is natural that some people are good in creating a thing and some in promoting it but a business organization can't succeed without a good mix of both.

I also observed many companies create a wonderful product and they assume wrongly it will sell by itself. They simply believe in main benefit of the product but fail to understand people never make a buying decision on key benefit. People want details of the product what subsidiary benefits a product offers and why it is better than the competitor's.

You wonderfully covered the topic on the back of your decade long experience in both online and offline marketing and very clearly gave the spot-on reason why great manufacturers are mostly struggling marketer because they can't keep balance in both the main components of their business.

Thanks a lot for sharing this very useful post and I am sure your webinar will also be a big success.

I am sharing this post at social media with my friends and followers as you know this is one of my favorite topics.
Don Purdum
Muba Mi
Hi Mi,

You nailed it my friend! So many are good at one thing or another but not both. As I explain in my eBook, most people struggle at marketing online with their websites, blogs and social media because they have 300 years of mass marketing influence.

The internet is blowing that all up and the need for clarity and focus is more important than ever!!!!

Because of the nature of the tool and the specificity with which people search for solutions on both search engines and social media; it's critical that we eliminate any hint of confusion in our prospects minds.

Thank you so much for sharing Mi! I appreciate your perspective.

~ Don
Dennis Seymour
Hey Don, I'm actually still guilty of this. I still make the mistake of doing this for a lot of my sites. Actually, it took me a while to come up with a better way to approach this on my main site and I hope to apply it within the week :)

As always, you rock, you bring clarity to people and business owners. Congratulations on getting the opportunity to post here on one of my fav blogs on the internet and CONGRATULATIONS on your soon to be released book!
Don Purdum
Dennis Seymour
Hi Dennis,

It's great to see you here. I'm looking forward to learning the changes you will make to your websites. Please keep me in the loop.

I do hope you gain the clarity you need to not just attract people to your website but also resonate and identify with them in such a powerful way that they have to do business with you when they get to your website!

If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know. You offer a lot of great information and education around SEO and your content is so much better than most on the subject.
Steven J Wilson
Excellent examples of how to connect with our audience.

Understanding their needs and presenting that we have the solution in a quick, way to digest way can be a challenge.

This is helpful and thanks for the clarity Don!
Don Purdum
Steven J Wilson
Hi Steven,

Thank you Sir! It can be a challenge to discover your audiences "real" needs and that's why most people don't do it; to their own detriment.

I appreciate your kind words Steven and hope you have a great second half of the week.

~ Don
Sue Anne Dunlevie
Enjoyed this post, Don. Solving problems for your audience is the key. You brought such clarity to the concept of marketing.

Thanks for the great read!
Don Purdum
Sue Anne Dunlevie
Hi Sue,

Thank you for your kind words and commenting. Clarity is the key to success in anything. If you don't have clarity around your business and message one risks causing confusion and giving people a reason not to buy.

It's good to see you here!

~ Don
Sue Anne Dunlevie
Don Purdum
Very true, Don. "The buying signals get confused when there is no good reason to buy". I like that - I'm going to "steal" it from you (with your permission, of course!)

Don Purdum
Sue Anne Dunlevie
Of course, feel free. Just give me credit everywhere... lol, jk.
Sue Anne Dunlevie
Don Purdum
Will do!

Sarah Burke
Great post Don! Sometimes it's about getting some perspective. It's so easy when you're an "expert" to forget that others don't have any clue what that means, what your industry is, or why they'd hire you - even if they need some exactly like you do!

I'll do my best to attend the webinar, it sounds great!
Don Purdum
Sarah Burke
Thank you Sarah! Perspective is a really big deal, especially when we consider that our own views can be clouded by hopes, dreams, or maybe even denial.

I appreciate your comment and I hope to see you on the webinar. Have a great week!

~ Don
Don Purdum
Thank you SEMrush for giving me the opportunity to contribute to your blog. I'm looking forward to our webinar in a few weeks to extend the conversation!!!!

~ Don Purdum