“Big buck” are paid every year to web marketing folks for figuring out and delivering something that both attracts customers’ eyes and conveys enough information about the product to make them continue reading the pitch (If you haven’t yet seen Citi Bank’s “Live Richly” campaign, you should check it out). Some of them are very successful; others aren’t, but when it comes to marketing high-tech products, the situation is difficult.

Users don’t read your website when they don’t have time. So you must choose your words well. By no means am I an expert web marketer, and I won’t even charge you $500/hr, yet from the user’s and customer’s perspective I know what they want, so if you have five minutes, bear with me and read on.

If you want me as a consumer to read your website, and spend … who knows … maybe even a whole minute or even two on it, the content must be crystal clear: I must be able to understand quickly what you do, what you offer or what your product actually does. I suspect I’m contravening some form of advertising and marketing law, since there are a lot of websites which confuse me; I quickly smell the suspicious content and then leave:

Compare this:

There is some fluff here, but the second line “Ansible is a …” is clear. Let’s compare this with Docker’s pitch:

“It’s open and distributed, but what does it do”?

“What do you mean by ‘platform’?“

“You mean like a hardware?”

Yes, I do use Docker, but talking to couple of guys at work and on Meetups we all agree: it’s pretty darn confusing at first glance trying to understand what Docker actually is. We’re talking about people who use separation/virtualization and who were potential Docker adopters. Docker is just an example, there are many companies who have problems trying to formulate, what they really do. So we end up with “Uber for Laundry” instead of: “We pick laundry and wash it for you”.

It’s been a while, but I don’t recall any marketing laws that stipulate hiding the role of products. Yes, you can broaden the category of your product by naming it a certain way, but it’s risky. Let’s just pick a slogan, pitch, motto and keep it simple. Many marketing texts say that you should really assume that somebody inthe 8th grade should be able to read it and understand its meaning. But there’s also a second point: people have zero time nowadays and if your message is unclear… well, you lose.

So my template would be:

X is a Y which/for Z. It’s for V.

Replace X with your product name.

Replace Y with one of the choices:

  • If it’s something on your computer, it’s a “program” > or “application”.

  • If it needs WWW, and I need a browser for it, it’s a “service”

  • It it needs both, it’s a “solution” or “environment” (and perhaps a > service too)

  • If it needs hardware, it’s a “platform” or an “infrastructure”

Replace Z with a short sentence which must have one of the verbs:

  • Build

  • Test

  • Deploy

  • etc.

Replace V with your potential customer name.

So let’s try:

X = Docker

Y = Solution

Z = Sandboxing programs

V = Developers and sysadmins.


Docker is an environment for sandboxing programs. It’s for developers and sysadmins.

And by the way, there are people who get it very well. Here’s an example:

Have you ever read a product pitch and still didn’t get what it does? I would like to learn about it.