Clear, defined marketing messaging in a mediocre tactic or media will outperform poor, generic marketing messaging in great tactics and media nearly every time!
Business owners come to us all the time asking for help with their marketing, frustrated that the tactics they are using aren’t delivering. Many owners immediately ask where they should be marketing or what tactics should they use to get better results. It’s less likely the issue is about tactics and more about are you connecting with your potential customers?
We always start with a few simple questions – what is your unique selling proposition? Do you understand it, does your customer base understand it? Is this coming across in your marketing efforts? The answer is often no. We also get the response that “we offer so many services or it’s very technical, so it’s hard to put into words.” If you can’t explain it to us, how do you expect to attract new clients?
Listing your products and services, and maybe a feature is the easiest route, but it typically only captures customers who know exactly what they want. So where do you start? Let’s begin by listing all the things (products, services, knowledge) that you think you sell. Start with two separate lists, one list for the products and one list for services, such as keeping inventory or online ordering. If you provide expert knowledge that may be considered as part of your product offering.
Are you asking, what problems you are solving?
One of the places businesses overlook is the problems that they solve. One of the first places we start is to ask the customer service or admin team, what do customers call in asking about? How do they describe their problem? Usually, it’s not as technical as the business would describe it. Then we try and focus on the top 5 or 10 customer problems that come in. Can some of these be grouped together? Also, are there some problems that you would prefer not to address in your business? After sorting through, you can usually prioritize 3-4 customer problems you solve exceptionally well.
Once you have these lists, we can put them into a series of three circles – one each for products, services and problems solved. Again, highlight the ones that you do particularly well, and your competitors don’t offer or do as well. Your series of circles should look like this diagram:
In each list, you should highlight the products, services or, problems that only you solve exceptionally well. Keep the remaining items on the list, including those that competitors offer. As you bring these three circles together in a classic Venn diagram, your unique selling proposition will begin to take shape. In this case, with a client, their USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is taking the worry out of dinner preparation by delivering restaurant-quality meats and seafood to the families of E. Cobb and N. Fulton. The completed diagram will look like something like this:
Focusing your USP on tactics and channels
Now that you have a clear handle on your USP, what should you do with it? This is where you can now address the marketing channels and tactics to help your business grow. In the example above, the client was already on Facebook, Instagram, and email – with fair results. The problem was that he was marketing the product just like his competitors. By focusing on his value prop and the benefits of having someone do the shopping and preparation work for you, his business took on a different light with current and potential customers.
In summary, messaging and imagery are very critical to your marketing efforts, much more so than the tactics and channels you use. As you start ramping up your marketing, make sure that you have fully vetted your value proposition and crystallized these key messages to drive your marketing efforts. The effort will have a bigger impact on your ROI than where you take your message!