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Friday
Sep022011

The Art of Messaging

Marketing communications is about affecting the behavior of a specific audience through communication. How you affect the behavior, what behavior you’re trying to change, what audience you’re targeting, what you’re communicating, and how you’re achieving the communication are all elements of your integrated marketing communications program. It’s driven by your message.

You want a message that your customers will remember – one that hits them so hard, they ponder over it for long after you’ve left, wondering how they possibly could have lived without your product. You want a value message. 

There is an art to developing a value message that resonates with your customers. B2B marketing communications has long been driven by features and benefits, and translating your bulleted lists of product specifications into something that has meaning to a customer is difficult. So how do you develop a value message?

 

Step one: Know what’s going on in the industry. It sounds simple, but the first step in the development of a value message should be to understand your market. This includes:

  • General business data and statistics
  • Macroeconomic drivers
  • Production drivers
  • Trends
  • Compelling industry facts

 

Step two: Know what makes your customers bang their heads against the wall in frustration. It’s critical to understand what pains your customers face every day. Very likely, your customer base will be made up of individuals in many levels of the organization, each with different interests, issues, and levels of decision-making power. You should understand the issues affecting each customer segment, and how important each customer is to the decision to buy your product. Identify:

 

Key players

  • The issues each key player faces
    • The reason these issues exist
    • The impact these issues have on his business

 

Step three: Adopt a problem-solving mindset. Once you understand the environment and your customers, you can begin to craft your messaging. The messages that will resonate best with your customers are the ones that demonstrate your ability to solve their problems. While I’m sure your product features and benefits are very interesting, will your customer be able to read through a bulleted list of benefits and immediately translate that list into a value for them? Most likely not – you need to introduce their painful issues, show the devastating potential of these issues, and then solve their issue before it ever becomes a problem. This is your value message, and the most successful sales and marketing tools will reflect this value message.

 

Step four: Use your marketing tools to convey your ability to solve their problems. Ditch the features and bullets, or at least move them to the end of the marketing tool. Everyone has them. Tell a story about how you’ve solved another customer’s pain, and the quantifiable value that translated into. This is called proof, and you’re customers will be very interested in it.

 

In the end, you have creating a message that connects your customers’ pains with your proven solution. You have a work of art.

 

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