In a previous post we described the process of creating a unique value proposition. Your UVP is a natural starting point for creating your marketing messages because it clearly identifies your target customer and explains the end benefit of using your product or service and what makes it unique and different from the competition.
With your UVP in hand, the next step is mapping your marketing messages. Developed by marketers George Stenitzer and Tripp Frohlichstein, message mapping is a framework used to create compelling, relevant messages for various audience segments. It enables you to hook people’s attention by quickly answering the question “What’s in it for me?”. It also serves as a tool to ensure the delivery of a consistent message that addresses all of your audiences, including customers, employees, investors, and influencers. The goal is to get others to talk about you using your language, thereby building your brand.
A message map consists of one main idea, supported by three reasons to believe it (called positive points). As your map develops, you find three proof points to support each positive point. These proof points may take the form of testimonials, reviews, statistics, or other evidence. A variety of message mapping templates can be found online; for an example of a basic message map, see Fig. 1.
Figure 1. Basic Message Map
Figure 2 shows an example of a completed message map using this format. In this example message map created for NaperLaunch, the main idea is supported by positive points and proof points related to the services, brand values, and differentiation from competitors.
Figure 2. Completed Message Map
As you map your marketing messages, keep these 5 tips in mind:
- Think about the audience. Envision the ideal customer for your product or service. What are their characteristics? What are the problems that this customer faces? If you created a Lean Business Model Canvas for your business, this information will be in the Customer Segments box. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can create customer personas. The better you understand your audience, the easier it will be to create messages that speak directly to them and communicate the benefits your product or service can provide.
- Choose your words carefully. Because a marketing message is brief, every word matters. Strive to use words that will resonate strongly with your target audience and that will need little explanation. Think about the emotions your words evoke and the various meanings the words may have for the audience.
- Consider the tone. The tone of a message can be just as important as the words used to craft it. Think about how you want your audience to view your company. Do you want them to view you as an expert? A problem-solver? A gateway to fun and excitement? Depending on the message, the desired tone might be positive, authoritative, or empathetic.
- Do your research. Look at successful brands and companies that target your audience. What words and tones do these companies use to convey their message? How does their audience respond? Visit their websites and social media profiles to see how they communicate and interact with this audience.
- Give your audience a reason to believe. Consider the reasons why your target audience will choose to engage in the goals of your marketing campaign. Why should they buy from your company? Why is your service, product, or idea better than your competition’s? How are you able to best meet your audience’s needs? Just be sure you can deliver on these reasons to believe; audiences are savvy and will be able to see through any inflated promises.
For more in-depth discussion on this and related topics, consider registering for the NaperLaunch Academy workshops or contact a NaperLaunch coach or SCORE mentor to set up a one-on-one virtual appointment.