I spend a lot of time talking to clients about their business goals and how my team can help achieve those goals. When it comes to messaging, I often get either confused stares or quick responses that messaging isn’t a priority.
“The marketing team wouldn’t use it.”
“My team understands our product better than anyone.”
“Everything goes through me—I make sure it’s on brand.”
“I understand our customers and what matters to them.”
“I don’t need messaging.”
Every single one of these statements is true. Thousands and thousands of marketing teams successfully market their product without a formal messaging document. A messaging document isn’t something you need, but it is something you should want. Here’s why:
The process of developing messaging is a science and art. More often than not, when I’ve taken clients through the messaging process, we reinforce the things we already know, and we uncover some surprises—about how the audience feels, what the audience cares about, what confuses them. The effort of messaging is uniquely effective in revealing those messaging nuances. Nuances that will make your marketing copy even more effective.
A dedicated internal writing team knows your product inside and out. And they write about it. All the time. Take it from a former marketing writer—writing about the same product or service, over and over, year after year, gets old. You start to get creative with your copy. Move things around. Find new ways to say the same old thing. The problem with that? You can easily lose sight of the messaging priorities. What’s boring to you, because you’ve written about it 12 different times in the past 3 weeks, is a brand new idea for potential customers, who just visited your site. A messaging document with prioritized proof points and key messages helps keep everyone on track and ensures that your audience receives the most important information, that matters to them, every time.
One of my colleagues uses the phrase, “We need to be singing from the same songbook.” There are all sorts of tools in the agency world—creative briefs, wireframes, dashboards—that ensure that we as a team are focused on what matters for our clients. These tools are the songbooks that keep the music in tune, on pitch, and in time. I see a messaging document as a vital songbook for a marketing team. Whether you have multiple teams creating content across regions, or across channels (website, social media, sales scripts), a messaging document ensures that your team and your agencies are all singing from that same songbook about your products and services.
I will confess that I am a messaging geek. I don’t see messaging as a product or a deliverable. Messaging is a process. An exercise in strategy that informs and inspires your content creators and impacts your bottom line by making your marketing more efficient and effective.
I don’t think you need messaging to market your company. But I hope that understanding how it can improve your marketing efforts, you’ll start to consider wanting it.