Is Your Team on Message?
A Core Messaging Document is Critical
Whether your company is a start-up, a mid-size business or a member of the Fortune 500, it is critical that it has a core messaging document. Consistent and effective messaging is one of the most important marketing components a company will possess yet it is also one of the most challenging to create. However, it is important that every employee is “on message” when representing your company at a trade show, briefing an analyst, attending a client meeting, producing collateral, or engaging in a myriad of other marketing related activities. Recently, a client told me that he used the messaging our team had just created in a client meeting, and he said that it “sealed the deal” for him. This same client believes that the messaging document is so critical that it is now incorporated into the new employee orientation. It is not always possible to directly attribute messaging to a customer win, but it is a key foundational element; therefore, it is important to take the right approach when developing it.
What’s in Your Messaging Document?
Depending upon the complexity of your business, creating a core messaging document can be a laborious task that may involve many stakeholders. We have created messaging documents with as few as five pages and others with as many as 40 plus pages. However, the key is not the length, but that the critical elements are adequately addressed. Below are key components that should be at the core of every messaging document:
- Value Proposition
This is one of the first elements that should be tackled and visible in your messaging guide. Even though your value proposition should not be more than a few sentences, it is one of the most important components, and it must pack a lot of punch. A value proposition should explain the unique value customers can experience when using your product or service. It is critical that it does not focus on features, but instead covers benefits and addresses customers’ pain points.
- Elevator Pitch
In the business world, an elevator pitch is key when networking or interviewing for a job. Almost every business professional has crafted one for him/herself. However, it is also a necessary component for a company and should be included in your messaging document. It is longer than a value proposition, but it should take no longer than 30 seconds to convey. Like the value proposition, it should be benefits focused, but not a sales pitch. Its goal is to entice the listener to ask for more information.
- Boiler Plate
Your boiler plate is a brief one paragraph description that provides readers a description of your company and what it does. If your company is publicly traded it may even include your company’s stock symbol and annual revenue. Nowadays, it also provides links to your company’s website and any social media channels used. The boiler plate is a versatile component that is incorporated at the end of press releases, often submitted as a company write-up for trade show directories, and included in media kits.
- Messaging Hierarchy
The messaging hierarchy will most likely be the bulk of your document. This section will include overarching messages as well as address specific industries and primary stakeholders / users. For example, when developing retail market messaging about a social media solution, the diamonddog team identified the primary stakeholders / users as marketing personnel, customer service, retail managers and loss prevention. When developing the messaging hierarchy, it is key to review competitors’ messaging, meet with different internal stakeholders (i.e. product managers, executives, and sales), and interview “friendly customers”. This is the only way to develop effective messaging that will resonate.
Develop the Right Message
Creating a messaging document may seem like an arduous task, but once it is completed it will provide an essential foundation for all your marketing moving forward. However, it is a living document, which should be revisited regularly as your company enters different markets, launches new products, changes direction, or the competitive landscape expands.
The diamonddog team has years of experience crafting messaging documents for many different industries. Our marketing professionals are ready to help you produce effective messages for your company. If you are interested in talking to us further about a messaging guide for your business, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-269-1422.
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