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April 18, 2012

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Struggling to build a consistent messaging across all your channels?

by Tom De Baere

Does it feel like you need to invent your marketing message every time you start a marketing action?

Do you feel like your remote marketing teams do not understand what messaging to put in their marketing actions?

And how do you make your messaging consistent across all channels, at all times?

That can be a challenging task…

 

Changing marketing dynamics and exploding expectations

Compared to a few years ago, marketing has becoming increasingly complex as a result of the exploding number of sales and marketing channels that need to be managed.  Marketers need to go from one-way conversations to two-way dialogue with integrated channel activity.

Operational tools that help marketers

In order to successfully manage these changing dynamics and expectations, marketers now must have tools that enable them to:

  • Communicate their brand messaging consistently across channels, regions and maybe also different business units;
  • Collaborate with internal and external partners through effective scheduling, time and resource management;
  • Integrate all campaigns and initiatives into a common strategy, and
  • Provide clear reporting and visibility so that sales and senior management and all stakeholders are clearly aware of how projects are delivering versus corporate goals.

There exist many tools on the market, ranging from very simple but adequate project planning tools for small teams like milestoneplanner.com or basecamp.com, towards full fledge marketing resource management tools (see this Gartner Magic Quadrant of 2012 for the most important players). And I am not even talking about the exploding array of marketing automation vendors.

(I am not affiliated with any of these vendors).

But if you are the one responsible to develop communication campaigns or lead generation campaigns, these strategic plans won’t tell you how to translate these elements into tangible messaging which you can use in your marketing activities.

Streamline your message across channels

When it comes to setting up a consistent marketing messaging across for example 50+ communication and lead generation channels, 10+ regions and maybe 5+ different business units, and this for all your activities, your are on your own.

With a ‘zillion’ marketing activities to do, there is a need to give the marketing team and your suppliers a descent input that allow them to do their job. So you can align your activities to the right markets with the right messaging.

What works best to streamline your message consistently across all your activities, is to your create what I call a comprehensive “key messaging” guideline.

Your “key messaging” guideline

Create this guideline in the beginning of your fiscal year, and this for the whole year. Throughout the year you must update the guideline to reflect changes in roadmap or priority changes or anything else that pops-up.

The guideline should be a reflection of your marketing strategy, and as such it must contain all the information that your target audience and media relations should know about during that particular year.

The guideline contains the following elements, and this for each vertical market you are active in:

  • Tagline: if you work with global campaigns, it is useful to have one single tagline per market that you will be using in all regions.
  • Market context: what do you mean as a company in those markets? What are the business issues in those markets?
  • Value proposition: without talking about products or services, what is the value you are offering in these markets towards customers in those markets? How are you solving the business issues in these markets? In what way is your offering different?
  • References backing up your statements: insert the evidence or proof that what you are offering is working in those markets e.a. new technologies recently launched, market share figures, press releases showing that you are selling in those markets, reference cases about customers using your product, etc…
  • Applications: which applications do you support with your products or services?
  • Product information: which new or existing products are you selling in those markets?
  • Benefits: what are the benefits of solutions you are offering?
  • Key marketing activities: what key marketing activities should be run to put these messages in this market.
  • Geographical focus: if needed, add the regional relevance of this market, and its value proposition, applications and products. This piece of information gives guidance how heavy you need to include this part of the messaging in the regional marketing plan.

How to apply your key messaging?

Next step is to carry this out to the people that need to work with these guidelines to start marketing your products and solutions. If you are a small organisation, a simple document carrying the guidelines might be enough. But if you are a large organisation, you could go through webinars or marketing meetings to make sure the guidelines are understood and supported by everyone.

Not only your inte
rnal teams need to understand this, but also your suppliers: PR agency, brand agency, communication agency, etc…

Based on these guidelines, you will also know what off-line, on-line and action marketing you need to support.

Large teams or small teams

It does not matter if you are a small company or a large company, a small marketing team or a large one. Having this simple key messaging can be a powerful way of streamlining your messaging across multiple teams and multiple territories.

How do you go about to streamline your marketing message? I’d love to learn more from you.

Best regards,

Tom De Baere

  • Basecamp is one of the first and most popular Project Management tools that exist, although there are also other new and more complete solutions in terms of PM that can offer much more than a simple PM software. One of them is Comidor ( https://www.comidor.com) which is based on cloud and is a full package for every small- medium business