• Don’t Be a Spam Factory: Get the Message Right!

    What are you really saying?

    Before you spend money delivering your message, you must work to get it right.  A simple problem lies at the root of most marketing failures – the message. 

    Companies seem to be prepared to spend fortunes on telephoning people, bringing them to their websites, organising events or sending them emails. There’s always a “next big thing” which will transform their marketing and lead generation.

    But they rarely spend enough time or money on making what they communicate truly compelling. There’s no point in getting your message across, if no-one is persuaded by that message.

    Most marketers don’t talk to their customers to find out what really engaged them. They don’t do the research on what these people really want and expect from them.

    They don’t cut their long list of buzz phrases down to a maximum of three key things they do better than anyone else and encapsulate them in exciting, emotional phrases.

    In short they don’t focus on what their customers want from them.

    A communication strategy isn’t about one thing. It is about making sure that what you say via one medium matches and reinforces what you say elsewhere. Not just marketing either, but what your field and telesales people are saying. There should be a single voice coming through everything they do. Every communication should build on every other.

    But marketers put the website out to one place, the emails to another, advertising to a third, the brochure, white papers and case studies to a fourth and perhaps even a fifth. They give none of these people a brief or the budget to create underlying messages which connect with their customers across several media. Often these agencies even report back to different people within the company. And none of them interact with the telesales conversations, the Sales Presentation PowerPoint or the Proposals and Tenders.

    The result is bland websites, instant spam emails and a feeling in the mind of the customer that you are just another vendor.

    White Papers and Case Studies are a good example of the lack of commitment to making the message compelling. These used to be seen as simply a crutch for the salesperson – something they could leave behind to remind the prospect of their visit, but which would rarely be read – just scanned. Now these are thrown right into the marketing front line. They are the first in depth pieces the customer encounters – long before they meet a salesperson. They are core to turning that prospect from casual interest into a hot lead. Most fall way short of the new, raised benchmark. They turn more people off than they engage.

    So look at all the material which comes between you and your customer. Is it doing you proud? Is it communicating powerfully?

    Here’s five key steps to a powerful communications strategy:

    1. Ask your customers. What made them choose you? How did you stand out from the competition? How strong was the original message? How did that survive the sales process? Have we lived up to the promise?
    2. Segment your markets. No message works well for everyone. Identify three markets where you have really powerful messages. Create a strategy to dominate these markets.
    3. Create a content strategy. This should create core messages and how to communicate them through all the media the company uses.
    4. Create a Content Budget, separate from your delivery budget. The budget should be at least half that of the money spent on getting people to read this material.
    5. And most important of all – Get everyone involved. A powerful message only happens if everyone is behind it and knows the sacrifices as well as the benefits. Brainstorm. Test. Then work it through the whole company.

    Peter Johnston is the UK’s leading expert on modern demand and lead generation methods for small and medium B2B companies with 25 years experience, agency & client, in technology, IT, telecoms and manufacturing.  He has pioneered the development of B2B customer intelligence, introducing the highly successful LeadFormix brand into the UK.

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    Don’t Be a Spam Factory: Get the Message Right!, 4.5 out of 5 based on 2 ratings
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