MKTX | So you’ve got a good marketing message? So what?
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So you’ve got a good marketing message? So what?

Too often marketers get caught up in enumerating the features of their product or service without giving due attention to the resulting benefits. There’s a Japanese problem-solving method that goes by different names but revolves around asking the question “Why?” at least five times as one gets to the real root of a problem. This technique requires the examiner to dig deeper into what factor or factors are really responsible for a situation that can be corrected or improved.

A similar process can be applied to marketing in order to establish a link between the features of a product or service and the core benefits that it delivers. That would be to ask the question “So what?” multiple times until the attributes of the offering could be related to a fundamental quality that the buyer wants to obtain or achieve. A company’s marketing messages become that much more compelling to customers if they are tailored to the customer rather than simply descriptive of the product or service. When you’re crafting a message, ask yourself what you want your customer to take away from reading or viewing your communications.

More Questions to Ask
A company’s messaging needs to contribute to establishing a compelling position in the mind of its customers. How do you know if your messaging is on target? There are three key tests that should be applied to a positioning exercise:

  1. Do customers care? The positioning you take, and the messaging that supports it, need to be in line with what your customers want.
  2. Is it unique? “Me too” is not a winning strategy in a competitive marketplace. You should define the playing field so you can be a leader, with barriers to competition that you can sustain.
  3. The positioning needs to be authentic to you. If you can’t walk the walk, don’t talk the talk. Don’t base your positioning and messaging on being something that you’re not. It’s far easier to live up to a compelling description of what you are.

All this brings me around to a point that I made in my last blog article. You’ve got to know your audience and what they want to accomplish. Marketers need to spend time with their customers and prospects to really get to know them. Not just what they buy, but why. And look below the surface. Entrepreneurs are sometimes frustrated when an “obviously good” business plan fails in the market. A failed plan might have been salvaged if the right questions were asked and the appropriate adjustments were made.

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Bob Patterson
bobp@mktx.com

Leader of MKTX since its founding in 1998, Bob Patterson has over 30 years of experience in high-tech marketing. Bob received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Wharton School. He began his career at Intel Corporation where, during his 11 year tenure, he was part of the team of people instrumental in laying the foundations for Intel's success in the microprocessor market. Bob left Intel in 1987 and co-founded RadiSys Corporation, an Intel spin-off dedicated to exploiting the "Wintel" hardware/software standardization phenomenon in markets outside of desktop computing. As RadiSys' first VP of marketing and sales, Bob developed and executed the company's initial marketing plans and set up RadiSys' early sales channels. When Bob needs a break from cranking out strategies and content for our clients, he takes to the skies of the Northwest in his Cessna or his RV-12.