Clarify Your Marketing Messages With One Simple Step
Okay. To be fair, not all of your messages lack clarity and consistency. I’m sure some are very succinct and understandable. However, there are common traps that companies and marketing pros fall into as they try to reach and engage audiences.
It’s important it is to be clearly understood in a busy and crowded world. So allow me to suggest three things to certainly avoid as you launch products, deliver sales messages or simply promote your company. Then I will close with the one thing you can do to enhance every communication effort you deliver.
Three common tendencies that muddy your message
As you gather to discuss your program and the messages surrounding your program, be on the lookout for the following tendencies that create muddy communication.
“We need to tell them …”
As soon as you find yourself talking about what you need to tell your audience (instead of what they need to hear), you are in a world of features – not benefits. If you are focusing on the new bells and whistles, you’re looking past the real reason a customer might be buying the product. As a wise friend once said, “Hey, we are selling holes, not drills. They only care about what the product does for them.”
As you gather to review what your message goals might be, consider telling customers what your product will help them do better instead of what new feature you have added.
“Introducing the ESW 2000”
What is it about an acronym that seems to draw the creative interest of so many? It is unlikely that anyone would quickly understand that ESW really means (Extra Special Widget) or that they would apply this understanding to a likely purchase. Face it, the acronym is used because you like to be creative and you and your team came up with it. By any chance, did you catch what was wrong with the last sentence? Too much you and not enough them.
Create your product or service names around customer needs and benefits. Make them easy to understand. One of the examples that I really like is the frequent flyer program from Southwest Airlines called Rapid Rewards. That makes it fairly clear to me what kind of program it is and why I should care.
“Everyone knows what we stand for”
How well do you truly understand your brand? What about your team members? Try this exercise. Individually, ask your top leaders to talk about your brand in one sentence. Take note of the similarities as well as the differences.
What I have found is that most companies can talk about their brand. However, there is rarely universal consistency. Thus, when stories are told, the brand message slowly erodes and fragments. Take time to determine what you stand for. Do a brand audit. Get everyone on the same page. Then, tell the stories that will help others understand what you stand for. That is a foundation upon which you can build.
The one step that will clarify your message
Here’s the one thing you can do before you launch a new product, write a customer letter, revise your literature or plan that sales meeting. All you have to do is write an answer to a very simple, yet humbling question. Take time to write a short answer to this question:
“Why will our audience care?”
If you write an answer to this, it will force you to think like your audience, empathize with their needs and understand where they might be coming from. The more empathy and understanding you have, the more likely you will be to avoid the traps noted above.
Stay out of the mud. Be clear and be impactful.