going from messaging nightmare to messaging delight, how to create a powerful messaging platform

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If you were to do a survey of executives, sales people, marketing and other market facing personnel within a company and ask them how they would describe a specific product to a potential prospect, I bet in the majority of cases, you would hear almost as many explanations as there were people interviewed. This really is a messaging nightmare that might be undermining the success of your product(s). This results in significant marketplace confusion, impacts revenue generation and reflects poorly on your product. We as Product Managers and Product Marketers like to blame the messenger for this problem, but the likely reality is that we are at fault. As PMs & PMMS, we must own the message and then enable the organization to take this message to the market. The starting point for doing this is a Powerful Messaging Platform. Key Takeaways: * Understand the key business drivers for developing a messaging platform * Discover the most important, but yet often overlooked, starting point for your messaging * Learn the five key components of a successful Messaging Platform * Understand how the Messaging Platform contributes to more success in the market.

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  • Going from Messaging Nightmare to Messaging Delight - How to Create a

    Powerful Messaging Platform

    Tom Evans

    CompellingPM

    @compellingpm

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc. 1

  • Poll Question 1

    Does your company have a standard/structured approach to creating a marketing messages?

    a) Yes, all new product marketing initiatives start with a standard messaging platform.

    b) Sometimes we create a messaging platform, but this is not a standard.

    c) No, we never create a messaging platform.

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc. 2

  • Without a Messaging Platform

    Market facing personnel each have their unique set of messages they use

    Product marketing is constantly putting out fires and rushing to create messages on short notice

    Marketing creates messages with no input from the product team

    Marketing and sales tools fail to motivate target buyers

    Confusion in the market place!

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc. 3

  • What is a Messaging Platform?

    A Messaging Platform serves as a reference to all market-facing personnel in your organization to ensure consistency & accuracy of messaging for your product (or company).

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc. 4

  • Poll Question 2

    What is the most important starting point for a messaging platform ?

    a) Selecting the most critical product features to communicate

    b) Feedback from the sales team on what messages work the best

    c) Product positioning

    d) Alignment with senior executives

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc. 5

  • Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc. 6

  • Messaging Platform Structure

    Positioning

    Key Messages / w Evidence

    Tagline Talk Track Product

    Descriptions FAQs

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc. 7

  • Guides All Other Tools & Programs

    Mes

    sagi

    ng

    Pla

    tfo

    rm

    Marketing & Sales Tools

    Marketing Campaigns

    Public Relations

    Product Demos

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc. 8

  • Messaging Platform Structure

    Positioning

    Key Messages / w Evidence

    Tagline Talk Track Product

    Descriptions FAQs

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc. 9

  • Positioning Decisions

    1. Target Market(s)

    2. Key Problems Solved

    3. Most Important Value Proposition

    What we do for our customers

    4. Key Points of Differentiation

    Why us

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc.

  • Target Markets

    Messages must resonate with target audience

    Corollary: it will not (& shouldnt) resonate with all

    Key Personas Buyers, Influencers, Users

    What do they care about

    What language do they use

    Typical profile/characteristics

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc.

  • Key Problems Solved

    What are the buyers motivations (per buyer persona)?

    Need, pain, goal, challenge, ideals

    Personal & business

    Articulated & unarticulated

    What do they need to know to make a decision

    How will they evaluate & use your product?

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc.

  • Value Proposition

    What we do for you!

    Benefits & value your customer will realize from purchase and use of your product

    Relative to customers other viable alternatives

    Sources of value: Reference customers, industry expertise, internal processes,

    partnerships, innovation, IP, delivery methods, geography, social, business model, personnel, features, guarantees, brand promise, core competencies, etc.

    Speaking to your customers

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc.

  • Differentiation

    Why us!

    What makes your product stand out

    Meaningful value to the customer

    Sources of differentiation: Reference customers, industry expertise, internal processes, partnerships,

    innovation, IP, delivery methods, geography, social, business model, personnel, features, guarantees, brand promise, core competencies, etc.

    Speaking to your customers

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc.

  • Positioning Statement

    For [target end user]

    Who wants/needs [compelling reason to buy]

    The [product name] is a [product category]

    That provides [key benefit].

    Unlike [main competitor (s)],

    The [product name] [key differentiation]

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc.

    Adapted from: Geoffrey Moore - Crossing the Chasm

  • Messaging Platform Structure

    Positioning

    Key Messages / w Evidence

    Tagline Talk Track Product

    Descriptions FAQs

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc. 16

  • Key Messages

    Per target buyer persona

    2 to 4 messages per persona

    In customers language

    Avoid meaningless words

    Not advertising language

    Support positioning

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc.

  • Messages Are Benefit Statements

    Too many market messages are about features or technology

    Changing to benefits Why is a feature important (so what?)

    What does it mean to the customer

    Use So That

    Example 4 inch Retina display

    So that you can view photo quality images and still use it effectively with one hand

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc. 18

  • Message Alignment

    Strategic Increase plant profitability

    Get new customers / Gain market share

    Increase customer loyalty

    Managerial Reduce maintenance costs Responsive to customer orders

    Focus staff on higher value activities

    Reduce staffing costs

    Operational Reduce Process Upsets Reduce Time to handle process upsets

    Faster transitions between grades

    More time for process improvement

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc. 19

  • Supporting Evidence

    You stated a message, but why should someone believe the message?

    Reason to believe

    2 to 4 points of evidence per message

    Sources

    Customer testimonials, unbiased testing, distinguishing features, third party validation, facts & statistics, etc.

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc. 20

  • Exercise

    Product Name: SmartCredit

    Target Market

    Small to Medium Size Credit Card Issuers

    VP of Cards

    Must grow total outstanding balances from a reduced number of prospects

    Looking for promotion to top executive in cards or other line of business

    Wants to avoid all potential confrontation with Feds over marketing tactics

    Middle age, male, MBA, full career in credit card services

    Key Problems Solved

    Risk management platform

    Must grow portfolio size while maintaining portfolio risk.

    Must profitably compete against the top 10 card issuers for new cardholders.

    Low capital investment (cant afford multi-million dollar investment)

    Value Proposition

    Compete cost effectively and take market share from top 10 competitors Profitably grow outstanding balances without increasing delinquencies and write-offs

    Differentiation

    No capital investment and quick implementation (less than 3 months).

    Key Messages

    Achieves the same risk management power that the large competitors have. Delivered as a service with no custom development and capital investment. Allows you to quickly adapt new risk management strategies as market conditions change

    Evidence

    Bank X increased portfolio size by 25% while reducing delinquencies by 10% No software to install, monthly subscription fees Bank Y was able to create and test new risk management strategies in less than a week (v. 3 months with

    traditional systems)

    Bank Z was operational within 4 months of contract (v 18 months with major competitor) Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc.

  • Poll Question 3

    Who in your organization is responsible for defining the market messages?

    Marketing Communications

    Executive Management

    Product Management

    Product Marketing

    Everyone

    No One

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc. 22

  • Messaging Platform Structure

    Positioning

    Key Messages

    Tagline Talk Track Product

    Descriptions FAQs

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc. 23

  • Tagline

    Succinctly communicates the essence of your brand promise in a memorable way

    Creates a first impression

    No Tagline is better than a bad Tagline

    Memorable taglines

    Just Do It

    Because so much is riding on your tires

    1000 songs in your pocket

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc. 24

  • Talk Track

    Guides the initial conversation

    Leads to a longer conversation (sales call/presentation)

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc. 25

  • Developing Talk Track

    1. Sales Opener (Elevator Speech) - 30 seconds to get attention What your company/product does Key problem addressed for that target market Key benefits received

    2. Talking Points - another 2 minutes to lead to longer discussion Brief statement on how you do that Communicate key benefits (aligned with key messages) Provide evidence (case study, testimonial) Create a vision of success for them Ask for longer conversation

    Copyright 2013. The Lcrum Group, Inc. 26

  • Product Description