Messaging is where effective marketing usually begins. A company can employ just the right mix of outreach strategies and tactics, but if the underlying messages being put forth by those marketing methods are not attention-getting, compelling, and most of all, true, you are probably wasting your time and your marketing dollars.
Truly effective communications with your most critical audiences relies on being attuned to what is most important to them and to what motivates them to do what you want them to do, buy what you want them to buy, and remain loyal to your brand over time.
While we typically advocate doing the necessary, front-end research to be sure your key messages resonate with your customers and important influencers, and then sticking with those messages and reinforcing them in everything you do, there are critical times in the life of every business when you need to revisit and possibly readjust what you are saying to the marketplace.
- When are some of those times to possibly step back and re-assess your key messages?
- When the marketplace you serve has been turned upside-down with a game-changing alternative to your product or service, you may need to re-evaluate the relevance or at least the positioning of what your company offers, in light of new and possibly more exciting competition.
- When your actual core business has taken a new turn in the road, your previously effective messaging may no longer reflect who you really are today. This provides you with a great opportunity to reinvent and restate your new marketplace positioning.
- If your company has recently experienced a crisis or other negative event, you may need to adjust your external messages in order to explain how you have compensated or adjusted your behavior or way of doing business in response to this crisis.
- If your business has either greatly exceeded or significantly under-performed relative to any previously announced growth goals or sales targets, you may need to explain that to key investor and/or customer audiences.
- Especially for larger and/or publicly-traded companies, top leadership changes in your business may need to be explained to your audiences of importance and incorporated into your future messages and outreach.
- If you find yourself consistently losing business that you used to win, it may be time to step back and determine if how you present yourself and how you talk about your company is no longer resonating with your key customer targets. Then, try to quickly determine why that may be happening and how you can best re-package your business and its products to be more appealing.
- If you anticipate a major change occurring in your basic business, it would be smart to get ahead of that by spending some time determining how to best announce it to your most critical audiences.
There are obviously a whole host of other reasons and occurrences which could lead to an overhaul of your messaging strategy. Our recommendation is to thoughtfully revisit your key messages and your overall marketplace positioning that stems from those messages every couple of years at least, in order to determine if they need to be updated, or in some cases, radically changed.
Cathy Ackermann, founder and president of Ackermann Marketing and PR, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
For the online version of this column, please visit www.thinkackermann.com