It’s Business Management 101, right? You need a marketing strategy, and that means figuring out your message. Marketing lets you understand the big picture – your audiences and competitors – so you can target the right folks with the right messages.
For example, if you’re selling pianos, you might focus your marketing efforts towards families around the message that your instruments encourage children’s growth and exploration. On the other hand, you might center your messaging to concert halls and professional musicians on the instruments’ outstanding sound qualities.
That’s pretty simplistic, but you see the point. The difficult part is developing the marketing messaging that’s at the heart of your strategy. Here are seven (just 7) steps to follow to get to a winning marketing message.
7 steps to great marketing messaging
Just follow these steps for an on-target marketing message.
Define your audience
Identify who you want to sell to and then ask those folks key questions. What are their pain points? What are their hopes? What do they fear? Which brands do they identify with? How do they see themselves within their organizations? Are there phrases to which they’re likely to respond? The answers to these questions should infuse your messaging.
2. State your company’s goals
Before you spend time honing your key marketing messages, it’s important to understand what those messages need to achieve. If your company is a startup, your primary goal may be branding, so key messages should be long-term to support the brand image you want to convey.
Or, your company may be branching into a new market segment. In that case, your key messages could communicate the company’s expertise and credibility within that market.
3. List your primary value and benefits.
Knowing yourself is the crux of a good key message. How is your business or product different? What special capabilities, expertise, or accolades set your company apart? How do you solve your audience’s problem or meet a need? How do you do what you do better/faster/smarter/cheaper than the next guy? Synthesize these benefits into one or two sentences to help your audience understand what’s in it for them.
4. Understand what competitors are promising.
It’s important to understand what your competitors are saying and what seems to be resonating with their customers. This will help you develop messages that hit the right points and counter their claims. You’ll have a wealth of data to comb through, like competitors’ websites, PPC ad copy, performance, and trending content.
5. List words associated with your brand.
When people think about Apple, the words that come to mind may include innovative, ubiquitous and effortless. What words do you want your audience to associate with your brand? Ask your team to brainstorm words and emotions relevant to your company, product and mission. Then, refine the list until you arrive at a handful of descriptive, powerful words to weave into your key messages.
6. Brainstorm possible messages.
Recruit your best creative thinkers. Using all the information you’ve gathered in steps 1 through 4 and the list of powerful words you developed in step 5, come up with alternative messages.
7. Test, test, test.
Once you’ve developed your messages, it’s time to test them. Work the messages into written materials as well as conversations internally and externally. Are the messages easy to convey? Do they sound as strong when spoken as they do on paper? What reactions do they elicit? Take the time to test and hone your messages until they’re perfect, and then roll them out across your organization.
Key message development is a time-consuming process, but it’s one that should be done before you embark on any other part of your marketing and communications efforts – including your website, content and social media strategy, media relations outreach, and more. Contact us for assistance. We’re experts in marketing messaging strategy development.
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