True, he lived in the mid 1600’s. Yes, he was the mathematical genius who invented the first mechanical calculator. And, he is best known for his trailblazing work in geometry and probability theory. So, what does any of this have to do with marketing in the year 2012?
Well, we are all confronted with the reality of very short attention spans (the sound bite and elevator pitch are a couple of examples of life in today’s fast-paced world.) It is critical that we learn to get to the point quickly, so that we can be sure to capture the attention of our intended audiences before they lose interest. We need to concisely and effectively articulate our value proposition – without being able to count on our prospects and customers reading a great deal or sitting through a long pitch.
And this is exactly why Pascal is relevant today. He once wrote, “I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” (This quotation is often incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain!) Pascal knew even then that it is much more difficult to write an effective message in a few words, than to ramble on. And yet, this is precisely the challenge that every marketer faces today: say what is important in as few words as possible.
Yes, it’s hard work to reduce the amount of verbiage in a product marketing piece! But it’s worth it. Wouldn’t you rather your prospects understood your key message after the first 50 words or 30 seconds? Take the time…..make it shorter.