It’s not just about what you say, but how you say it.
No matter how well written or beautifully crafted your strategy and marketing message is, if you’re not telling the right story, you’re not going to get the results you want.
Messaging—essentially, what you say to whom—is an important part of your strategy. It’s not just about telling the world about what you do, it’s also how you explain the value you can create for your customers to convince them to buy from you.
Messaging can be simple or more complex depending on the client’s growth strategy. For example, a client with a complex solution portfolio or a complex partner network might need to simplify its message to make value clearer for its end customers. On the flip side, a client selling a singular SaaS product with a wide user base might need to expand messaging to make it more relevant for specific buyer roles.
Whatever your goals, messaging can be used as a strategic tool to make sure the core value proposition defined during your strategic work actually makes it into the materials and touch points your clients see.
Building your narrative
Many tech businesses make the mistake of messaging from their product outwards. By doing this, they often fail to describe the business value their product or services make possible.
To avoid this, we often start building out messaging with a narrative. This is essentially a story that expands on your value proposition to explain the why, what and how of your proposition. Why is there a need for what you are offering? What do you offer to solve that need? And how do you deliver that offering? This process forces you to think about the context in which your solution sits, and what the ending (outcome) of that solution will be. Because humans are hard-wired to remember stories and information in this way, your narrative can also help internal teams (as well as partners and customers) understand and remember the positioning.
Creating a messaging framework
Once this narrative is established, we can start to break it down it into smaller, more concise messages for different purposes and audiences by creating a messaging framework. This framework will also include a hierarchy, to help sellers and marketers understand which messages to use when, and to whom.
The messaging framework may also define messaging aspects such as your ’tone of voice’ (how you sound), around which we will define specific rules or guidance, whether that messaging is at a brand, solution, audience or campaign level. If required, we also work within the parameters of the existing brand and tone of voice.
The best messaging frameworks are those that can evolve overtime. Customer needs will continue to change—it’s essential that your framework has wiggle room to encapsulate them alongside new products and services.
Translating strategy into creative
One of the key challenges of the tech market is saturation.Messages don’t just need to speak to the right customer challenges, they also need to stand out against others in the market. This is where creativity can help to give you an edge. Saying or showing something bold or eye-catching can help you to grab attention long enough to get your message across. It can also help you to explain complex ideas in a simpler, more engaging way.
At a campaign level, we often create a concept. This is essentially a simple idea that can be used to express the crux of the value proposition in an engaging way. It may be expressed as a line, a visual, or a combination of both. The concept works as a common theme that appears throughout all sales and marketing materials to make sure all external messages are aligned.
Once this is defined, the messaging toolkit is ready—and we’re usually the first ones to put it to the test. This concept and messaging gets used over the first sets of assets we build and test in the market—ensuring that the strategic work we undertake at the beginning is carried right through to the point where the customer sees it.
Example of Paal15 messaging work
Industry: EOM, Software, Data Storage
Messaging Work: Market Repositioning—brand level messaging
Successful storage hardware business PureStorage already wanted to change its perception in the market and expand its target customer base. To do this required a flip in messaging from talking only about product features to business outcomes and value.
After we developed a strategic foundation, by building out a narrative, we were able to uncover the real challenges of data storage today: its cost, its unmanageable expansion, and its complexity, and from this created what became the new company strapline: “Uncomplicate your data storage, forever”. We picked the word “Uncomplicate” for two reasons: one, to not imply that Pure would make data storage ‘simple’ (it is inherently complex, Pure makes it manageable), and two, to differentiate from every other company in the market saying the often overused ‘simplify’.
Alongside this, we developed a messaging house to show how this strapline could be used and expanded, covering in a succinct way: customer challenges, Pure solutions, and where products fit in.We also developed audience-based messaging to help internal teams understand how to tailor their message and allow for more successful in-market targeting.
The feedback has been phenomenal. We’ve seen the key messages of this work expressed confidently in Pure’s flagship global sales events, with key executives telling us: “you’ve defined in a few weeks what we’ve struggled to get across in two years”.
Bring strategy to life with Paal15.
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