This post was originally published by Gil Allouche on the Metadata.io blog.
As a Marketer, you need to convince your prospect to behave in a certain way! You use a range of techniques to inform a person’s perception of a product or service. These techniques prompt people to buy items, subscribe to a solution, or offer valuable information. In other words, a successful marketing plan controls perceptions and alter behavior. So, what does that have to do with strategic messaging?
As the name might suggest, strategic messaging is all about strategy. At a basic level, it works by connecting your internal communication efforts with your business master plan. Strategic messaging gives you the communication techniques you need to change customer behavior and perception.
This strategy forms the basis for all value-based interactions with prospects, customers, employees, investors, stakeholders, and partners. However, not everyone does it effectively.
Let’s examine the concept a little further.
It All Starts with a Question
One way to think of strategic messaging, is as a way to convey your internal business vision to the people outside of your company. Before you can establish your messaging strategy, you need to ask yourself “Why” your business exists. The more you understand your ethos, the better you’ll convey that to outsiders. As a company, ask yourself:
· Why do we exist as a company?
· How are we offering that solution? What makes us unique?
· What are the basic services and products that we provide?
Ultimately, the driving force behind why your business exists shouldn’t be just “grow your topline”. While that explanation might work for you, it’s not going to push your customers into action. They’re not interested in paying your invoices. They’re interested in themselves.
Taking the “Why” to Strategic Messaging
Only once you understand your business, and why you’re doing what you do, can you invest some time into strategic messaging. After all, the purpose of strategic messaging is to communicate the “M. O” of your company ethos.
This idea of “Why” should help to inform the vision of your company. It covers everything from your corporate slogan, to your vision statements, taglines, and even the descriptions surrounding your company.
So, what makes the “Why” so important? Drawing attention to why your company exists tells your customers a story. Although we like to think of ourselves as rational beings – emotion drives us to make purchasing decisions. Addressing the “why” embraces that emotional element, promoting a consumer/brand connection. The “why” uses empathy to connect with existing pain points, promises pleasure in a solution, and alludes to the passion, dedication, and human element that exists behind a logo.
The “Golden Circle” ideas of Why, How, And What, should all come together to inform your strategic marketing efforts. While the “Why” can work to show people the vision you have for your organization, the “How”, comes through your value proposition, how you claim to fix certain problems, and what you do to position yourself in the eyes of target customers. Finally, the concept of “What” you do comes through service and product descriptions, the features in your business, and the case studies you publish.
Where it Can All Go Wrong
Strategic messaging is all about providing a wealth of information to prospects, customers, and even staff members. It helps them better understand your business. While the idea might be simple enough to understand, that doesn’t mean that it’s implementation is always successful. Plenty of people jump into strategic messaging and utterly fail. So, what are the golden rules of strategic messaging?
1. Be Consistent: When it comes to conveying the vision behind your business you can’t afford to be confusing. Decide on a single message that best describes your company and stick with it. That consistency will make your message more memorable, and reduce the chances that you’ll have a crowd of bewildered customers.
2. Keep it Short and Sweet: We all like to use flowery words from time to time. But marketing wasn’t meant for poets. Leave the fancy words to the sonnets and stick to everyday language that’s easier to understand. The chances are your customers don’t have the time, or concentration to soak up every detail of a complex sales message.If you’re trying to convey too much information, or you’re relying on subtle nuances to make your point, your audience will miss your message. Try to summarize whatever you have to say into a clear, simple, and concise thought.
3. Don’t Live in a Bubble: Just because you understand the typical jargon of your industry, doesn’t mean that it’s clear to your audience. Many businesses live inside of bubbles, where employees use the same terms on a regular basis. We assume everyone knows what we’re talking about when we use specific words and phrases. Instead, be aware of the unconventional words that are common in your industry. Take the time to define what those words mean for outsiders.
A lot of startups struggle because they base their entire message around their internal company experience. While words like “analytics”, “big data” and “cloud computing” might be second nature to you, your audiences may not have a clue.
Avaya gives a humorous take on this:
4.Stay Away from Superlatives: Finally, don’t turn your customers off by basing your message around superlative buzzwords like “World-class” and “State of the Art”. The best way to convey the value of your business is to show your prospects what you can do – rather than relying on the words you choose to “tell” them. Prospects want the opportunity to decide whether you’re “the best around” for themselves.
From Vision to Perception
Underneath it all, the concept that powers strategic messaging is this: You own the vision behind your business, but it’s your customers that hold the perceptions. Strategic messaging is about making sure that your vision, and your customer’s perceptions reflect each other.
Creating an effective message is like writing a story for your business. Rather than focusing entirely on “what” you do, draw attention to the “why” and “how.” Provide all the foundations you need for a deeper, emotional, and more engaging connection with your audience.
The more your customers connect with emotionally, the more poised they are to become long-standing, loyal clients. That’s why every aspect of your communication, from the details on your “About” page, to the paragraphs in your press releases, and even your content strategy blogs and articles should align with a framework for strategic messaging.