When updating your messaging, it may be tempting to immediately dive into brainstorming new taglines and positioning statements. While these are important aspects to any marketing plan, it is imperative that you back any messaging with extensive research. There are three elements that should be integrated when creating or updating your company’s messaging.
Element 1: Competitive Research
While many marketers understand the importance of conducting research before implementing new messaging, many tend to overlook competitive research. It is imperative to understand how your competitors are positioning themselves and any key differentiators they are using. Without knowing this information, it is extremely difficult to set your company apart from the rest of those in the industry.
An easy way to do this is by constructing a matrix of your company’s current messaging and your competitor’s main points. This allows you to compare your messaging side-by-side with your competitor’s messaging. Are you saying anything different than them? If not, a goal for your messaging update would be to develop key differentiators that set you apart from other companies.
While competitive research is important during the initial phase of message development, it is also equally as important to conduct this research regularly, since conditions change frequently in the business environment – companies update their messaging, new competitors enter the field and other changes occur.
Element 2: External Interviews
It is also important for your messaging to connect with your target audience. After all, if it does not connect with them, they are not likely to pay attention to what you have to say. Therefore, an essential element of developing a message map is speaking with your target audience.
Sometimes it is easy to make inferences or assumptions either based on personal opinions or research you have done in the past. It is important, however, to back up your recommendations by having a complete understanding the mindset and preferences of your target audience.
When developing messaging for clients, we focus on a target audience research approach that includes interviewing prospects, lost deals and current customers. We like to focus most on prospects and lost deals, because while customers may provide valuable feedback, they can also be biased.
Element 3: Internal Interviews
Your internal team can be invaluable for vetting proposed messaging updates. This is especially true for employees who are working in the field and interacting with prospects regularly, as they will know first-hand what prospects are looking for and whether your messaging will make an impact.
After you have implemented a messaging change, continually seek feedback from these internal resources. They will be able to tell you what is and is not working in the field. Because they have their fingers on the pulse of the industry, you can depend on their expertise to let you know when updated messaging is needed.
Message development projects can take a great deal of time and effort to complete. Therefore, it is important to develop the most effective messaging you can. Integrating all three of these elements into your message development process helps to ensure that your messaging will resonate with your audience, attract their attention and drive them to take action.