The foundation of great marketing is built with great messaging.
The magic behind great messaging is that it resonates with your target market and creates brand recognition. To be effective, an organization’s messaging needs to be strong and consistent across all areas of the organization and implemented throughout the spectrum of marketing and sales support materials.
Messaging mishaps are quite common and create turbulence in the delivery of your organization’s offerings. Over time, it is easy for messaging to develop inconsistencies. Through frequent material customization and shifting corporate initiatives, many organizations lose sight of their original positioning. This, while quite common, can be preventative to building and maintaining a solid corporate image.
Don’t let your corporate identity get diluted. Make sure you are making the most out of all of your marketing activities. Revamp your messaging to maximize your marketing efforts.
So it’s time to take the plunge. You goal is to develop updated messaging that will separate you from your competition and resonate with your target market. Where do you begin? How do you create a strong message that will last? All good messaging starts with a powerful message map. Below are five steps to guide you in creating one.
1. Look. Evaluate existing messaging across the organization (company, products, services, etc.) and across all marketing materials (website, power points, sell sheets, whitepapers, press releases, etc.). Dig deep. Understand where your current messaging came from and the path it has taken to end up where it is today. Identify key messaging elements and strong points. Highlight key phrases. Look for inconsistencies. Gain a clear understanding of your current messaging and identify the areas that need improvement.
2. Listen. Talk to customers, prospects, lost deals, partners, analysts, etc. Get out of your own head and into that of your target audience(s).
Conduct phone interviews or one-to-one meetings. Ask detailed questions and really listen to what they have to say. There is no more qualified person to tell you what they are looking for, than the target market themselves. If you won a deal, find out why. What was the one thing that set you apart? Likewise, if you lost a deal, find out what you/your product could have done better. Understand why the prospect chose your competition and know what their key criteria were in the decision making process. Ultimately, learn what works and what doesn’t. Reach out to allies. Contact partners and industry analysts. Leverage any inside information to find out industry trends and stats. Bottom line, listen carefully to what the market is saying, and let them tell you what they want to hear.
3. Learn. Research competitors, other industry players, strategic partners and your market space. What are they saying? How do they describe themselves, and how does it compare to you? Where are services similar or different? Identify their key benefit statements. Do your homework.
Lean on industry publications and websites. Tap your resources and attend webinars, download whitepapers, read blogs and scrub any relevant marketing materials within your space. Read comments, listen to questions and take it all in. Identify commonalities and areas that are more unique. Gain a 360 degree perspective of what others are doing around you.
4. List. Identify key corporate differentiators. What sets you apart and makes you unique? What do you have that your competition doesn’t? Pinpoint those elements that make you the better choice. List out your strengths and areas of innovation. Identify key achievements, patents and awards. Make note of areas of expertise, leadership and industry experience. Uncover all of the key differentiators that will help you stand out among your competition.
5. Leverage. Identify current and previously established market strengths and ways to leverage these strengths moving forward. A new message does not mean a new start. It is a chance for you to build on what you have and strengthen your brand along the way. Don’t immediately discount all of your previous marketing efforts. Before revamping your message, it is important that you identify elements from your current positioning that should remain constant. It is important that you keep a familiar front within the market place. Identify your strongest and most recognizable elements and brainstorm ways to leverage them moving forward. Consider this exercise as a “survival of the fittest” for your corporate messaging.
Building a Foundation That Lasts
Make sure your marketing has lasting effects. Your messaging is the foundation to all of your marketing activities and is key to increasing your overall marketing success. Ensure it is strong enough to support your organization’s market presence and resonate with your target.
Leave no stone unturned. Devote the time and resources necessary to create a message with lasting power. Follow the messaging milestones to ensure that you stay on track.
Need messaging guidance? Contact Launch Marketing for all of your messaging needs.
Graphic Source: http://www.burmalibrary.org/show.php?cat=757