A few years ago there was an Internet article about an accountant who won the Betty Crocker bake off.

The story had her picture and went into almost loving detail about her business experience and how she had become such an expert baker. But the story had one fairly important omission about the baker.

“Notice anything missing?” I asked a colleague.

“No, what?”

“What’s her name?”

It’s easy to lose sight of what’s important. Sometimes, we get dazzled with our own brilliance. Sometimes, we are so busy focusing on some details, we forget what people think is important. I think something similar happened with SAP’s announcement yesterday of its new BusinessByDesign product.

Unfortunately, having been unable to attend the product roll out, I was forced to rely on the press release and after reading more than 1,500 words (not counting boilerplate) my question was “what does it do? I forgot my marketing-to-English dictionary.”

After one spokesman explained very well and very succinctly that the Internet-based application brings together features such as supply chain, CRM, financials, and manufacturing, I noted, “Yeah, but none of those words are in your press release.”

The company was so busy explaining how this revolutionary product will serve mid-market companies with a true outsourced application it forgot to explain what the product does.

There were hints. It quotes a company that “provides outsourced contract packaging, manufacturing and distribution services to the world's best-known pharmaceutical companies.” But instead of coming out and saying BusinessByDesign can takes care of those needs “and more, yes, it slices and dices, ladies and gentleman,” SAP slid into the neighborhood with “a single, on-demand business solution that can streamline operations.”


The important thing in communication is not to state how we understand things. People delivering messages need to try to understand the recipient’s way of absorbing information. Otherwise, the process becomes, “We were clear in what we said. What’s wrong with them?”


The Certs people would not have gotten far with “Certs integrates all of your mouth’s mint needs into one, affordable, easily available tablet.”

It’s a breath mint and a candy mint.

Just say it.

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