Weak Marketing Kills Dreams and Companies
Innovation in our culture is constant, with exciting products created in start-up companies, or incubated in existing corporations, that promise to enhance our productivity and enjoyment of life.
Most of these companies won’t make it out of start-up mode and the underlying IP will either get sold for pennies on the dollar, or product sales will limp along until the product is finally killed-off.
There are myriad possible causes for failure, but one common thread is a lack of awareness in the potential buying audience, because the problem solving capability or potential to create value is invisible in Internet searches. If keywords containing your brand and product names are the primary sources of the little organic traffic you do get, then you have a problem, because buyers who don’t know your brand or product cannot and will not find you.
This problem is not reserved for start-ups, I have seen it dozens of times in Silicon Valley in SMB companies ranging from ten million to half a billion dollars in revenue.
Sales and marketing fiefdoms and a lack of collaboration on messaging can lead to two different and fuzzy languages being spoken to the customer and buyers being left to figure out for themselves how the products could create value in their environment.
Today there are very effective ways of getting products into the hands of buyers and Inbound Marketing using a built for purpose platform like HubSpot has been proven by more than 8000 customers to be the most cost effective way of getting your killer products or services found on the Internet and converting visitors into customers.
The first step in the inbound marketing journey is messaging and it requires marketing and sales to work together and to learn the language of the customer and to communicate in ways that will resonate with their issues and the way they buy according to their risk tolerance. A structure that we use for developing both marketing messaging to drive inbound marketing and visual storytelling projects in sales is a Customer Messaging Architecture.
What is a Customer Messaging Architecture?
A Customer Messaging Architecture is a unifying framework for creating and managing marketing messaging. Built on an understanding of buyer goals and needs, the Messaging Architecture logically groups relevant product-usage or service capabilities under “Positioning Pillars”.
A well constructed Messaging Architecture makes it easy to create a “Positioning Statement” and “Big Idea” that will drive meaningful high level marketing communication and sales conversations. The Positioning Pillars and Win-Themes drive consistency in marketing content creation and alignment in sales conversations.
The Messaging Architecture is created as part of a Sales and Marketing Alignment Process, which positively changes the way companies sell and market products.
Content Creation Templates
In a major messaging and Website redesign project for a leading email intelligence company with our partner Kuno Creative, we created Buyer Persona’s, a Messaging Architecture and several dozen Content Creation Templates to drive both Website and Blog content creation and SEO.
The Content Creation Templates draw from the Buyer Persona and the Messaging Architecture to enable multiple geographically dispersed writers to create content that resonates with buyers, is keyword rich, accurate in the description of product usage and contains relevant proof points and industry insight, with minimal contact required from the management team that created them.
We plan to publish a case-study after the Website goes live on the Website transformation and content creation process.
With Content Creation Templates in place to generate consistent marketing content, we need to create sales ready tools to align our sales conversations with the same buyer-needs we identified in our Messaging Architecture and for this we create a visual confection and accompanying visual storytelling script.
Sales and Marketing Alignment Process
Core process steps are:-
- Messaging Brainstorm with key stakeholders in sales, product management visionaries and marketing to capture the universe of issues from target buyers through product usage and value creation.
- Create the target Buyer Persona - this is a role-based persona to identify buyer goals, needs and issues.
- Develop a Messaging Architecture that clearly positions the product in a competitive market and identifies core win-themes in how the products creates value when used – (your competitive DNA);
- Generate Content Creation Templates for each target buyer goal.
- Generate a Visual Confection and script a Big Idea story to position product usage scenarios that can be tailored for delivery to each prospective customer.