Messaging for All Your Audiences
Here is the secret of marketing communications: To catch the interest of any audience, all you need is three statements. For some deep-tech markets, you might need four.
Technology products are becoming ever more specialised, and therefore difficult to describe, even for audiences in your own market. When I was a pup technology journalist, most of the senior editors and industry analysts had engineering degrees in their specialised field. This is no longer true.
So your messaging (corporate or product) needs to tell a story that anyone can understand, from the general to the specific.
Statement 1: Answer the question “Who is the customer and what do they need?”
The first statement identifies your customer and defines their need. For example,
“Medical offices have three software needs: patient data security; a simple user interface for the patient database; and an easy-to-use accounts receivable/payable system.”
Exception: For some deep-tech B2B products, you may first need to define the need of the customer’s customer (the end user).
Let’s say you design devices that become components of other manufacturers’ consumer products. To make your story understandable to any audience, you may have to lead with the consumer’s need as in
“Consumers today expect their refrigerators not just to cool food, but to notify the consumer when they’re running low on certain items and even place orders with the supermarket.”
Then you can go on to describe the need of your customer, the manufacturer. For example,
“Therefore, manufacturers of white goods need electronics modules, sensors for storage compartments and an internet connection for placing online orders…”
Statement 2: Answer the question “What does our product do to fulfil that need?
Now you can describe what your new product (or company) does, in terms that match the customer need.
“The SecureMedica system employs the highest-rated EU data security protocols, and its patient data and accounting modules have been rigorously field-tested for usability with practitioners and staff.”
Unfortunately, most press releases (and web content, journalist presentations, sales decks, conference papers, etc.) begin with this second statement. This is an error – if the audience doesn’t know what market you’re in or understand your customer’s need, they don’t care. You may have just lost their attention.
For example, if I’m an electronics editor, I may not keep reading. I’ve never heard of your company, so I don’t know if you have something important to say. I have to read ten more press releases before the mid-morning tea break. If I can’t follow your first statement, I may just abandon your press release.
Statement 3: Some audiences may need to know how it works.
In some industries, how your product works may be very important for your credibility, to audiences such as
- potential customers,
- senior editors,
- market researchers,
- investment bank analysts, and
- conference attendees.
This final-level message is where you explain what’s unique about the way you solve the problem. Here you have license to dive into the technicalities that only the highly knowledgeable will want to know.
Never lead with this information. You’ve only earned their interest if they have followed your story this far.
Once the stakeholders in your company have agreed on these three (or four) statements, you can flesh out any form of communication about your product. This includes the lead information on your web site, your social media messaging, the press release, the editor/analyst presentation and the sales deck.
In brief, your story should answer the following questions.
1. Who is our customer and what is their need?
a. Sometimes “Who is our customer’s customer and what is their need?”
b. and then “What does our customer need to fulfil their customer’s need?”
2. What does our product do that fulfils our customer’s need?
3. How does it work?
Now you’ve told a story anyone can understand.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to apply these principles throughout your marketing team, the Cambridge Go-to-Market Training Series includes a course on Communications Strategy. Please contact us to enrol.