In B2B technology marketing, your message strategy is the foundation for everything you do. It needs to be strong or your marketing efforts will fall apart. Your message strategy consists of a positioning statement and three to four support points. The positioning statement addresses the target market’s most pressing problem by stating a benefit; i.e. why the target market should care about your B2B product, solution, service, company or technology.
Once you’ve developed a positioning statement, you need to bolster it with three to four supporting claims. Support points reinforce the importance and uniqueness of the positioning statement. They provide a reason to believe the positioning statement. Most importantly, support points must support, not compete with the positioning statement.
A message strategy can be extremely detailed and is like a recipe for all marketing communication. Follow the recipe and you get a good dish…. Ah story!
Your message strategy makes it easier to deliver the same message in all your marketing communications. Consistent execution of the same message is a critical factor in successful marketing. Messages that Matter uses a formal, systematic business process that helps you develop a unique message strategy; one that communicates concrete benefits and sets you apart from the competition.
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The positioning statement
Your positioning statement becomes the central idea or theme for all your marketing activities. A positioning statement is a short, declarative sentence that states just one benefit, and addresses your target market’s No. 1 problem. It can be a conceptual statement and not necessarily copy. A good positioning statement easily adapts to all marketing communications such as product descriptions, web sites, sales presentations, brochures, advertisements, public relations and presentations to investors and industry analysts.
Your positioning statement needs to be unique, believable and important or your target market will ignore your marketing efforts. In other words, they won’t get your message. Here are examples of good positioning statements:
- “Microsoft Windows 3.0 transforms the way you use a PC”
- “Peoplesoft Financial Management Solutions make every employee financially accountable.”
- “Microsoft Business Solutions – Navision® Financial Management frees you to focus on your business.”
In summary, a positioning statement is:
- Short – fewer than 12 words (not counting product name)
- Simple, non-jargon language
- Adaptable to various media
- A compelling statement of one big benefit
- A conceptual statement…not necessarily copy
- Supported by three or four additional benefit claims
- Satisfies four evaluation criteria (unique, believable, important and usable)
Use support points to unfold your story in more detail. They help explain your positioning statement and answer questions like, “how do you deliver the benefit promised in the positioning statement?”
Supporting points provide a structure for product demonstrations. While the positioning statement articulates a high-level, abstract benefit, the claims made in the supporting statements should be readily demonstrable; that is, in just a few steps, you should be able to show how the product delivers concrete benefits.
Under each supporting statements, you can drill down into as much detail as needed to provide a platform for marketing communications. Use of an outline format will make it easy for writers and other communicators to take full advantage of your message strategy.
Repeating your message strategy over and over is the most important factor in successful marketing. Remember you’ll get tired of your message strategy long before your target audience may even listen to it or notice it. Repetition is how you own a position, and your message strategy should remain unchanged for at least 18 months, and ideally longer, much longer.
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Contact Lawson Abinanti, and learn the critical role your message strategy plays in effective marketing. It’s like a recipe for how you communicate. Follow it and you create great marketing materials. Lawson can be reached at (425) 688-0104 or firstname.lastname@example.org; check out his latest blog post.