It’s finally summer and the rising temps have us thinking about our favorite summertime novels. You know the ones, the great beach or vacation reads with a story that’s so engaging you just can’t put them down.
Well, just like any great novel, a great marketing strategy starts with a good story – or, as we like to call it, a great message. Determining what that message should be, however, isn’t always easy. How you tell your story – both internally and externally – can impact everything from sales and internal communications to your position in the marketplace.
If you feel like your marketing strategy could use a little “heat,” it might be time to rethink your message. Let’s take a look closer look at the building blocks of a successful messaging methodology.
The first building block to a successful messaging strategy starts with gathering information. It’s important to determine exactly why you want to rework, add to or change your message. This could include: M&A activity, a new product or solution offering, a new corporate strategy or an aggressive competitive market.
Once you’ve determined the why, it’s time to identify the who. Who are the key stakeholders that should be interviewed to gain perspective on how your solution/product/brand/company is seen now? This includes subject matter experts, executives and customers. Finally, take a look at the competition. What are they doing well, where are they missing the mark? How do you stack up in comparison?
Once you’ve got all the data – from internal and external interviews and a competitive audit – it’s time to really get to work. Analyzing the insights from the first step will help you create a new, strawman messaging platform: including a boilerplate, value proposition and visual (e.g. anchor graphic). Go through each interview with a fine-toothed comb: What differentiators rise to the top? Which attributes resonate with customers? Where can you strengthen your value?
Last, but certainly not least, it’s time to put all that hard work into action. Validating your strawman message platform both internally and externally will let you know if you’ve hit the mark….or if your new message strategy could still use a little fine-tuning.
Once finalized, it’s time to shout your new story from the proverbial mountain top. Your refined message platform should be the foundation for all of the other components of your marketing strategy. From sales presentations and your social/online channels to your external and internal communications programs.
Take a peek at the infographic below to find out if your messaging needs rethinking.
If you’re launching a new product or solution, preparing for a merger or acquisition or just feel like your current messaging strategy is missing the mark, it’s helpful to have an expert at your side. Tap our Market & Customer Insight practice area and team for help in crafting a unique story and message strategy that will set you apart from the competition.
Author: Andrea Davis, Vice President, Outlook Marketing Services