Monday, March 16, 2009

Discovering your key messages

What's the best way to figure out your key messages?

Many executives think long and hard about this. And, more often than not, they think about it in the wrong way. It's very tempting to say, "We offer Service X, therefore, our primary key message is that our company is a leading provider of Service X."

Maybe it is. But what about what the customer wants or needs from you? Your customer likely wants to hear about how you can HELP them achieve a certain goal. Sure, it may be implied within the message of being a leading provider of X. But why imply? Say it outright!

Put another way, your audience doesn't want to hear what YOU think is important; they want to hear about what THEY think is important.

Here's an example. I worked with a furniture remanufacturer on their corporate messaging. When I asked the president and the VP of sales why their customers buy from them, they both said, "price."

So we went to work talking about who their audiences are, what their concerns are and how the company addressed those concerns.

Know what? Price wasn't the primary reason customers were buying. It was environmental -- a "green" thing.

The first step in marketing communications always has to be about discovering the right messages. If time isn't taken to appropriately explore what your target audiences want to hear, they won't listen when you start talking.

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