When you create and execute a sales-centric marketing plan, it’s important to build that plan on a strong foundation. I’ve seen a number of plans fail because they don’t communicate a clear message. Or more common still, that message changes from campaign to campaign or worse from month to month.
Most technology marketing messages tend to be very complicated and long so that nobody understands what you are trying to say. In addition to the length, it tends to be full of jargon and acronyms that are only meaningful to those that work for the company (which is hardly the target audience).
I think it was Mark Twain that said, “I would have written a shorter letter but I didn’t have the time.” He obviously understood that making something simple can be very difficult. While there are always hundreds of things to do (especially at a start-up), technology companies need to spend the time (and resources) to make their messages simpler and easily understood by the target audience.
Even the simplest message will not be remembered if the audience can’t understand how your solution is different from the competition. It’s as confusing as a complicated message because in the end your message needs to not only be understood but must also set you apart from other solutions in your marketplace.
When you develop your message, you need to ask whom you are competing with and what makes you different from them. However, when you answer these questions you need to still be clear, concise and ensure the differences you are communicating are also meaningful to that audience. Very few people are going to switch to your solution if you are only 2x better. In many cases, they may not even switch if you’re 10x better.
Instead, you need to explain how you solve their problem better than your competition, which may be by being faster or more powerful, but it could also be by making life easier or more efficient for that organization.
If your message is both complex and undifferentiated (likely the case) then you are compounding the problem. But even worse, companies tend to change the messaging so frequently that it makes the message inconsistent rather than better. This is hardly a solid foundation on which to build your marketing plan.
It’s been said that you need to communicate the same message at least 7 different times for someone to remember it. If you’re changing your message every few weeks or months then how will your prospects remember what you were trying to say if they hear something different every second time.
For your marketing to be successful, it’s crucial that you not only spend the time to simplify and differentiate the message but then use it consistently for the duration of the campaign and across all media. This will without a doubt improve the effectiveness and increase the awareness and number of sales-ready leads.
Your goal from a messaging perspective is to own a space in the mind of your target audience. This space must be clearly defined so they can put you in the right bucket. And then, you must clearly differentiate your message from the competition in that bucket or a similar one. Together, a simple, consistent and differentiated message is the key to a strong foundation for your marketing initiatives.