The ability to communicate your message clearly and to have it understood by those who receive it comprise the foundation of your marketing efforts. What value is there in your message if it fails to get through to the people you want to “get it”?
Companies that advertise on TV or radio or any other medium and that claim it doesn’t work have, invariably, failed to communicate their message properly. What do we mean?
First, it is critical to know what your message is, or should be. If you’re in the insurance business, for instance, you may believe you’re selling policies to protect people and their assets. In reality, you’re offering those clients peace of mind or the ability to sleep well at night, knowing their assets are protected and their family is safe.
Quick, what’s the name of the insurance company that insists “You’re in good hands”? The tag line communicates the message that the company is going to take good care of its customers.
What we see, far too often, is a commercial touting the company and how long it’s been in business rather than the value it offers to the consumers who work with its products and/or services. What message are you sending?
Let’s step back a minute. If your message is unclear, go back to your business or strategic plan and revisit what it is you are selling. Clearly define your products or services, and then try to see them from the viewpoint of the consumer. What is the potential purchaser of your product or service looking for? What is their motivation for buying what you offer? Change your perspective and you will be astonished how the appearance of even the simplest item can be changed.
On a recent drive following a passing thunderstorm, the sunset to the west was a beautiful golden globe offset by white clouds against an azure sky with sunbeams radiating through the breaking cloud cover. It was a gorgeous, captivating scene. When you looked to the east, the perspective was markedly different, yet strikingly beautiful with a full-bodied, bright rainbow bursting through the darkened storm clouds over the lake.
Let’s take a minute or two for a brief exercise in the power of clear communication. After you read the following description, close your eyes and imagine the scene if you haven’t created it as you read. Then visit the real description at the end of this blog.
Imagine a kitchen table with a vase of flowers on it. A cat jumps up on the table and knocks over the vase of flowers.
Read about the real description later on.
When you have a clear picture of what you offer to the consumer, think of it in terms of how you can convey the message of your offering in the most favorable way. What is your call to action? What do you want the consumer to do? Usually, it’s that you want them to call and schedule an appointment, stop by your place of business, or go online to order.
How you communicate the message is critical to driving business. This, however, is where we also need to take the time to determine who it is we most want to receive our message. Your target audience. Diapers are for babies, but it’s their parents who make the purchase. Who are the best prospects for consuming your product or purchasing your services?
Mostly men or primarily female? Under age 18 or older than 65? Do they fit any of the in-between adult age demographics – 19-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, or 55 and older? Are they physically active? Do they drive a car? Where do they live? What level of education do they have? Do they read newspapers? Watch TV? Text? Feel free to add categories to your demographic profile, because the more distinctly you can define your audience, the more targeted your message can be communicated to that specific group of people.
Now you’ve done all this and put your message out there. Does it get through? Monitor your results. Ask people how they found out about you. Ask what intrigued them about your message. Talk to your customers and get their feedback. Those are steps that will help you verify your message did, indeed, get through to the right people.
Remember, too, that there are independent, third party professionals such as those of us here at Brand Irons who can assist you in evaluating if your message is getting through. We can also help you derive strategies for making sure it does.
Back to the cat on the table scenario. What shape was the table? What kind of flowers were in the vase? Was there a table cloth on the table? What color was the cat?
Virtually every one of you reading the original sketch came up with different answers for each of these questions. While it seemed the scene was clear, the communication left room for you to enhance it with your personal experience.
Try this version for clarity: Imagine a rectangular kitchen table with a butcher block top and white legs. There are four white ladder back chairs positioned on each side of the table with seats that match the table top but have blue-and-white checked cushions tied on. There’s a clear glass vase on the table with three red roses that are just starting to open up on it. A white, domestic short-hair cat named Snow White jumps up on the table. She goes over to the vase and, instead of knocking it over, reaches into the vase with her right front paw, dips it in the water, pulls it out and licks the water off her paw and jumps down.
While this may seem extreme, communication is important to make sure your customers get your message the way you want them to receive it.