Should I have one consistent marketing message or multiple messages for different audiences?
I am working on putting together some marketing materials. I am trying to figure out if I should have one consistent message or if I should have different messages for different audiences. I am still an early stage start up. I am thinking of trying different messages to see what resonates with different audiences, but I also don't want people to be confused about who we are and what we are doing. I am curious what other people have found successful.
Stop! Before you worry about the who or the what, think about the why. Can you tell me in 7 words or less what the mission of your business is? What are the words that would make it possible for a new employee to make operational decisions without having an employee manual?
In developing that statement you will have to identify your primary customer and the singular reason they should want to talk to you.
As an example, I once introduced myself to a Chamber of Commerce as the guy who ran a company that "Builds websites that make rain." I said no more than that. Each time the group introductions ended there were four or five people who wanted to talk to me. Each had a story that made them candidates for my service: they wanted to have a web site they could change without having to pay for over and over in fees and frustration. 80% of the people I wound up working with:
1. Wanted their website to sell for them.
2. Wanted to be able to change words and pictures without screwing up the navigation.
The other 20% could be closed. All it took was listening to their problem and providing a solution. Find your why first and see if it resonates with prospects.
I think your problem may stem from too wide of a niche. In marketing - the best approach is to clearly and decisively define your unique niche (in marketing - narrow is better than a wide). Once you have a specific niche - you can better tailor your one message to your target audience. You will want to stay on point with your brand and message - although you can tailor the terminology and stories based on your current audience. Once you have their attention - then you want share all the other things you can do for them.
For example - a dentist may be able to take care of everyone that have teeth - but his/her niche would be "fitting teenagers with invisible braces". Or fitting pre-teens with fun looking braces. Of course the dentist would clean the entire family's teeth - but they attract the family by narrowing their marketing niche to teens or pre-teens with age-appropriate braces.
A great question and concern. While you will receive mixed answers just remember...the Principals of Marketing do not change...whether an offline or completely online business.
Your Marketing message should never compromise the 'Who we are'...nor the 'What we do'...never. These two 'Who and What' are precisely Why you will remain in business. Having one consistent marketing message for different audiences is only a matter of 'Test...Test...Test!' Yes, the A/B Split testing is crucial...throughout your entire journey...
This is exactly where the 'rubber meets the road' and having the proper traction no matter the changing conditions is the key. While keeping the integrity of your 'Who and What' absolutely you can and should market to different audiences...SAME consistent message...just slightly inflated or deflated like our rubber tires. To be brief and to the point...You must have a very good 'Wordsmith'...aka Copywriter who can effectively create, NOT design, the message YOU want to convey yet appeals to different audiences.
While a good Copywriter can appear to be expensive...with your business background I know you have defined a market for your product and services...this expense will quickly turn into your most valuable Marketing asset! Pay close attention to the analytics, the insight data that will tell you everything you need to know from your test, test, testing...and I say the following not to offend you or anyone else here, only stating the Truth...if anyone says that Copy does not matter...you are being misled.
Brett, hope you may have found this useful and if I lacked in clarity or any questions come to mind, feel free to message me here on MosaicHub.
With Sincere Gratitude,
Bradley L Chase III
PS...Are you planning on doing a 'Beta' or 'Pre-Launch' trial?...I would be humbled to be considered.
PSS...Just to be clear, as my wording already shows, I am certainly not a Copywriter.
There are an assortment of opinions expressed here, many of them quite valid. A key consideration is your start-up status and the necessity to gain sustainable commercial traction as soon as possible. Your initial marketing message (Yes - just one), must epitomise your enterprise’s values and culture from your key customers perspective. Avoid “I; we; us & our” at all costs. Don’t over complicate your early commercialisation plans of fragment your promotional efforts, if your business plan and marketing strategy are sound your marketing message and collateral can be tested against achieving their aims.
A practical (quick & inexpensive way to test and compare alternative marketing messages is to use them in face to face networking situations. Say it out loud to another human being, it must roll of your tongue and sound natural and credible (alternatively a little outrageous). Most importantly it must evoke a positive response from those you intend to target. It must either gain their endorsement - “I’d like some of that,” and/or draw a question – “How do you achieve that?”
Finally it is critical that every message option helps position your product/service/company as the supplier of choice from its recipient’s perspective.
When you have established a good/strong message, it can be augmented and skewed to suite additional market segments as your enterprise grows or establishes each new niche markets. Good luck, keep it simple, consistent and unambiguous.
As others have said here, start small.
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What is their #1 pain point/ issue/ motivator? (For example, "My ideal client is a busy, educated mom who wants things to be quick and easy so she can spend more time with her kids.)
- Come up with a couple of "themes" that will resonate with your target audience based on what they care about (For example "Convenience" is the key theme in the example above).
- Tailor all of your marketing messaging for that one ideal customer, under that one theme.
- Test it out and keep refining your message.
- Add on other "themes" as you start to learn more about your customers. For example, let's say in addition to "convenience", your customers are also looking for ideas to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Your next set of messages could be written from the "health" angle, which would appeal to people who are looking to be educated on how to lead a more balanced life.
Depending on your business, you may need to create different messages for different audiences (especially if you are selling B2B and you need to equip your sales team with messages to pivot the conversation "on the spot"), but that doesn't mean you need a full-blown set of marketing materials for each of your different customer groups.
There is nothing consistent about marketing messages. Everything change, you get to know yous customer preferences better and you have to communicate more effectively down the road to address their interests and concerns. It implies constant changes. However, it is of tremendous help getting to know and differentiate your type of customer/potentials. By creating personas you'll be addressing different messages that will entice and resonate with each of them. In an early stage, and with little experience, it is better to start with2-3 personas - just to test.
Nothing bothers more than receiving general templated message from a business and pretend they just got us. As a new business, starting to attract audiences is a hard task, initially. But if you do it right, little by little but and to the appropriate segment that would ease the task later on. Make this experience and enjoyable one. Try with a couple of messages to see which ones produces more nice results. Different strategies, ideas, products, objectives and clients will result in different messages. Start working with a clear and concise one with, let's say, 1 purpose in mind.
Success to you.
Hi Brett you have asked a great question and you obviously are not looking for the easy way out. I am going to repeat an answer I gave in this forum before as I feel it applies to you:
Intent, Audience, Venue and Content: while content is thought to be King I feel it is derived (perhaps the word is informed) by intent, audience and venue. First, what precisely is it that you intend to do. What do you want to accomplish with your marketing campaign. Be specific. Who are you trying to reach? The more you know about the audience the better. If you have more than one audience you have have more than one campaign. Venue- think of this as the area, the arena, the place that your audience goes to get the information that matter to them. Yes indeed, particular groups of people are inclined to have preferences for this. Finally it it is time to write the content. The content is designed to fulfill your intention. It is written in a way that appeals to your audience and in such a manner that it can easily be delivered in a place where that audience goes for their information.
I hope this helps.
In my opinion, you should have one really strong message that can be adapted to your different audiences. An example of this would be Coke. Its core message- cool and refreshing beverage- gets changed based on who its target audience is- people who attend athletic events, different demographics, their wholesale business, international, etc.
The short answer- you should really understand who your brand is and what it is that you do.
The truth is, for some businesses they may have multiple "audiences" within what they do.
For example, a couple of years ago I was doing some freelance marketing materials for a clothing store. They wanted to consider manufacturing their own dresses but wanted to reach out to the independent creative community for designs.
We put together a design competition and had our customers vote on which designs were going to be put into production.
In theory, we had 2 different audiences and so our message variated slightly between the two different audiences. One, was our customers and getting them excited about being able to vote on what pieces were going to be put into production. The other, was getting the independent fashion designers attention and saying "Hey! You have the ability to earn some money by sending us your designs". WHERE we marketed these messages was also different. For our customers it was in their usual places- email, social platforms they used, etc. For the designers we had to dig a little deeper and find out where they were in order to make this a successful event.
I have done similar things with a used clothing store. They focused on designer pieces. So they have 1) their customers who are looking for gently used designer pieces at a great discount. and 2) the women who are more affluent, buy these pieces and are looking to discard them or earn some cash. Different audiences. Different places to market to. However, the overall "brand message and feel" was the same. This is where really knowing WHO your brand is is very important.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you need any further assistance.
Have a Great Day!
You can—and should, I think—have one consistent message that's TAILORED for your different audiences. My over-arching message, for example, is that the services I provide mean our virtual team can be your outsource communication team, or assist your in-house team on projects when you need extra help. And we understand your business because we have experience in it. (That's the message for communication managers/directors within companies.) But another part of my target audience is advertising/PR firms. For them, the message is tailored this way: we can help when your team's overloaded or you're looking for a new outsource partner to subcontract projects to. And my third target audience is non-profit organizations. For them, the message is we can be your outsource communication team, or help on a project basis when you need extra help. And we understand that every dollar of your investment counts. We've worked in the non-profit field, and we understand its challenges. You have to craft different messages for different audiences. Suspects require a different copy approach than Prospects (those who've expressed an interest in your services); and Client/Customer messaging has to be different from both of the previous two audiences. Hope all of this helps!
Firstly, I would like to congratulate for your startup.
Now, as you mentioned about different messages for different audience, that it might confuse your audience is not appropriate. Infact, this is really and appreciate approach to work online. All you need to take care is about the messages, titles and descriptions to be unique and represent your business.That should not misguide users about your services.
Next is use hashtags related to your business services while sharing content on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, G+ and Pinterest etc.
If you are a start up, you should be focused on one niche and target market, not several. Focus on one to develop your idea, prove your product or service and generate revenue and cash flow. Then add another niche and when you begin to dominate in that one, add another. As a start up, you cannot be everything for every one. Stay small, stay local and grow at a measured pace.
But in any case, the real answer to your question is you need to have a consistent marketing message that resonates with your target market and ideal customer. If you are not a marketer who understands small business, I suggest you get someone to help you write the copy and put it all together for you.
Also, make sure you have a LinkedIn profile and work toward getting at least 500 connections as fast as possible. That adds credibility.
Brett, my suggestion is to always be consistent with your BRAND MESSAGE/promise...then you can SPECIFY your message around the product or service that you are marketing. Also, each audience sector may have different pain points - so consider the different language you would need to use to appeal to their issues. But, your brand promise should remain consistent throughout all marketing. Hope that helps!
Some simple words of advice for you. (And, Jerry Fletcher touched on this from a slightly different point of view in his excellent response.)
Here it is. Your marketing message is less about you and what you can do and more about what problems you solve for your customers and where they get value from doing business from you.
Here's a quick example. I'd guess that better than 90% of the experts in this forum say something like this in their profile "20 plus years experience in ..." That's crap. How about starting like this "For over twenty years people/customers/clients have relied on us for ..." Which is more powerful?
As Simon Sinek says "Start with why" and then get into the details.
You cannot be everything to everyone. Your business needs a clear focus (per all the above messages) on what your mission is and for whom your product/service is intended. If you are to be the expert in that area, you need to completely focus on filling that need for that person. While you may have a secondary target market, out of the gates as a start-up you will be spreading your resources way too thin to attempt to reach multiple groups of people with different messages.
Craft your brand to begin and do so with a clear picture of whom you are trying to reach. Then build out your marketing plan to reach them (at all touchpoints so this is not just via traditional marketing but your customer service, packaging, website, etc. all should be built around how this person does things). You will find once you set up a marketing plan, trying to divide that budget into buckets to version and reach different groups would not be useful. While you *can* do so, then you are limiting your money, time and resources for each "campaign" instead of fully committing to one target group and putting all your resources behind that. Down the road this may change but out of the gates it is better to be focused and really make a dent and get a strong group of customers.
It all depends on how much you offer and how many different types of people benefit from your products/services. You can have marketing content for your overall Business... but sometimes it can be a little vague because of how much you have to point at to all the different types of people you cater to.
The key thing that has me worried here is how you said "trying different messages to see what resonates with different audiences"..... that is an indicator that you either don't know enough about your market to know how to connect with them, or you don't have confidence in what you already know about them. Either way that tactic is something common that a lot of people do, but I'd urge you to dig deeper into your market and get a better understanding of them first. First impressions are everything and if you come out with something that doesn't click with them or makes you laughable in a bad way, that will stick with you forever. It's one thing to come up with a message that doesn't hit home the way you want it and tweak it to make it strike harder. But it's something totally different to keep changing your message every few weeks trying to see what works.
They key things you want to tell them aside from what you offer and how it benefits them, is how you've re-invented it to make it more convenient for their way of life. You also want to teach them how to make the best use of what you have to offer so when they actually come to you they're already familiar with the general process for how things are going to work.
You should write out a list of categories your intended market fits into... and if necessary go in a level deeper and break down different sub categories of people that make up each category. Lets say for example you're opening a sporting goods store. You're going to want content that speaks personally to basketball, football, baseball, soccer, volley ball, etc. players. What season you're in will determine who your main focus will be at that point in time for who you want to speak to. Then outside of athletic sports you'll have fishermen and hunters you'll be catering to as well, so you're going to want content that speaks personally to them in their seasons.
Say you also have an app where they can put in their shoe size, pants n shirt size, the type of rifle they have, etc. so they can shop personally online and see exactly which location has the items they need in their size or for their choice of rifles and fishing rods. That's something else you'd want to tailor to them to show each of them how convenient it can be for them.
You can have your "overall" marketing content that speaks to "everybody", but you need to take the time to speak to everybody personally in order to let them know how you can benefit them. Just giving an overall message that doesn't tell them much of anything expecting it to stir their curiosity enough to come to your store or go to your website to look further into what you can do doesn't really move anybody enough to want to jump on it and investigate. It would take for them to see you over and over and over and over and over enough times to finally make them break and say "ok let me see what this is all about because I keep seeing it." Don't get me wrong that's part of the game too, you have to wear some people down over time, but you don't want to rely on that for EVERYBODY when there's ways you can get people to jump on it the first time they see your advertisement because of how relevant it is to them.
Aside from this, figuring out what resonates with people and what doesn't is a lot more involved than it sounds. On the surface one would think "if they respond that means it resonates, if they don't that means it doesn't". But in reality it could very well resonate with them, but they don't have the money to get anything right now, So you may well come up with a good message, but because you don't get any responses within a month you'll chalk it up as ineffective and stop using it and switch to a totally different message.
All in all if you don't know what messages to use, you need to study them more. You can always improve the way you convey and deliver a message as you go. Even if it's not effective enough at first later on once you make it effective all the previous impressions will still tack on to it keeping consistency. Changing the overall message too much will just attach a lot of cognitive clutter to your image and could make you come off as desperate and if they see you as desperate that'll translate as you not being all you're cracked up to be.
Customers what to know what is it you can do for them. To answer that question you need to be specific and industry / Market related.
If you are looking to shoot birds you don't go out there with an elephant gun.
Likewise you don't want to be just a "Me too" company. This will happen if you generalize. Use different messages with different keywords.
Treat yourself as the client. How would you advise yourself, if the other you walked into your office.
Your message should always fit the group it is intended to reach. Groups can be defined by many areas: Sex, age, occupation, etc. Occasionally a message can fit more than one group.
Start with 3-5 messages to fit wide markets and see what works best. Then rewrite the good ones for other groups.
Typically, it is essential that you have different marketing messages for different target audiences. Everyone is so bombarded with marketing messages these days (each of us see more than 17,000 per week on the average) that it is essential that you determine the 'hot buttons' of your target audience so that you can get their attention. If those are different from one audience to the other, then you need different messages.
The marketing message is the most critical thing you will ever put together. Do it right, and you can market successfully without having to spend any money.
I had an online training event just recently entitled "How to Create KILLER Marketing Messages!". I think you would really have found it useful, and you can watch a recording of it at no cost by going to this link: http://bit.ly/1QUybTx
I wish you great success!
Every business has different customer types and products should be modified for each set of customers.. Likewise, marketing messages need to be developed to engage each set of customer types, as well. Auto manufacturers sell different "models" of the same basic car and target their promotions to each segment of the market. Customers fall into 3 basic categories in terms of the value of the products that they want to buy: the best, something unique, or the cheapest. You need to adapt your products and marketing messages to one or more of these segments if you want to win the battle for the customers mind.