The foundation of great marketing is built on the building blocks of great messaging. When done correctly, messaging resonates with your target market, creates brand recognition and drives action. Effective messaging is communicated consistently across all areas of the organization and integrated into all marketing channels.
Messaging missteps are common and can create confusion for your audience. That’s usually because, over time, it is easy for messaging to develop inconsistencies. Through frequent marketing collateral additions and updates, departments outside marketing creating their own materials and shifting corporate initiatives, many organizations lose sight of their original positioning. This, while common, can significantly damage a brand.
To get the most out of all your marketing activities, it is essential to ensure your corporate messaging doesn’t become diluted over time. Regular audits can prevent that. When performing a messaging audit, follow these steps to safeguard the power of your brand and maximize your marketing results.
1. Look. Evaluate existing messaging across all areas (e.g., corporate materials, products, services) and across all channels (e.g., websites, presentations, sell sheets, white papers, press releases, content assets). Be thorough. Identify key messaging elements and pillars. Highlight key phrases. Look closely for inconsistencies. Gain a clear understanding of your current messaging and identify the areas that need improvement.
2. Listen. Reach out to customers, prospects, lost deals, partners, analysts and gather insights. Step out of your head and into your target audiences’. Conduct phone interviews or one-on-one meetings. Ask detailed questions and listen closely to what they have to say.
- If you won a deal, find out why. What was the one factor that set you apart? If you lost a deal, ask how you or your product could have performed better. Understand why the prospect chose your competition and know what the key criteria were in the decision- making process.
- Ultimately, learn what works and what doesn’t. Contact partners and industry analysts. Leverage any inside information to uncover market trends. Listen carefully to what the market is saying to learn what it wants to hear.
3. Learn. Research competitors, other industry players and strategic partners. What are they saying? How do they describe themselves and how does it compare to your message? Where are services similar or different? Identify their key benefit statements.
Do your homework. Lean on industry publications and websites. Tap your resources and attend webinars, download white papers, read blogs and scrub any relevant marketing materials within your space. Read comments, listen to questions and take it all in. Identify commonalities and areas that are more unique. Gain a 360-degree perspective of what others are doing around you.
4. List. Identify your key differentiators. What sets you apart and makes you unique? What do you have that your competition doesn’t? Determine those elements that make you the best choice. List your strengths and areas of innovation. Identify key achievements, patents and awards. Make note of areas of expertise, leadership and industry experience. Uncover all the key differentiators that will help you stand out among your competition.
5. Leverage. Pinpoint current and previously established market strengths and determine ways to leverage your strengths. A new message does not mean a new start. It is a chance for you to build on what you have and strengthen your brand along the way.
Don’t immediately abandon all your existing marketing. Before revamping your message, it is important to identify what’s working to keep some consistency. Identify your strongest and most recognizable messages and continue to leverage them. Consider this a “survival of the fittest” exercise for your corporate messaging.
Building a Messaging Foundation That Lasts
Ultimately, you want your marketing to have long-term effects. Devote the time and resources necessary to create a message with lasting power. Your messaging is the foundation of all your marketing activities and is key to increasing your overall marketing success. Ensure it is strong enough to support your organization’s market presence and resonates with your target. Follow the five L’s to stay on track. Are you ready to develop your messaging strategy with guidance from experts but without the cost of outsourcing? Register for our Craft Brand Messaging and Positioning for Better Business Outcomes course. This Marketing Pro Series course shows you, step-by-step, how to lay the foundation for a brand that’s cohesive, resonant and enduring, driving action from your targets and better business outcomes.