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How To Create Killer Marketing Messages

WHY Is It So Important &

HOW Can I Create A Great One?

Marketing Message (aka “What You Say”) is The #1 Most Mishandled, Mismanaged, And Misunderstood Part Of Most Entrepreneurial Businesses, Experts Agree.

Did I scare you? I hope not because developing killer Marketing Message and strategy is a huge key to your success - and not terribly hard to do, either – once you train up.

Best Marketing Message

We Advertise, Send Emails and Postcards, And Have A Snappy Website…So Why Aren’t We Doing Better?

In a noted study, the prestigious Wharton School Of Business concluded that it’s not what you spend that counts, or even necessarily where your ads appear, rather it is the Marketing Message that is the prime determinant of success or failure in marketing and advertising.

Businesses today often spend more effort deciding where to run their ads, how fancy to make their website, and when to send email campaigns, than they do in developing a clear, concise, and compelling marketing message.  And without a compelling message, your marketing won’t work!

And when they do create a message and communicate it to their target market, it is often one that does not differentiate their business from their competitors.

Your Marketing Message (Done Right) Can Be The Most Important Copy You Ever Write

A study of venture capitalists came to some very pointed conclusions. The most cited reason for business failure was the lack of a sound marketing strategy and  plan.

Second was the inability to articulate the Value Proposition or Brand Statement  (both are often used as synonyms for marketing message). In other words, you may have a great product or service, but don’t know how to get people to buy it. 

This is where the science and art of Copywriting comes in.

Your Marketing Message Makes You Money

You’re in business to serve the needs of your customers and make their lives better – but you’re also in business to make your bank account grow and make your life, and your family’s, better.

  • Peter Drucker, one of America’s foremost business thinkers points out that “Innovation and Marketing make money– everything else is a cost.”
  • Scott DeGarmo, Editor of Success Magazine adds “The big money goes to those with superior marketing…”.  
  • One thing is certain – a good marketing strategy brings success.

So, given the importance attached to your marketing message(s), it makes sense to do everything you can to get it right.

What, Exactly, Is A Marketing Message?

Let’s first attack the elephant in the room.  The term “marketing message” is tossed about , here, there, and everywhere, so that – in my experience – many business owners and a heck of a lot of copywriters cannot adequately define it.  Yet, they don’t ask and don’t tell.  That fuzziness stops here and now.

We’ll start with what a marketing message is NOT and go right into what it is.

  1. Is it a Mission Statement? Absolutely not.
  2. Is it an elevator pitch? Not hardly likely.
  3. Is it a tagline? Now you’re getting closer.
  4. Is it a Value Proposition. Yes, it’s one and the same.
  5. Is it a headline? It very well could be.
  6. Can it stand on its own? It damn well better
  7. Is it memorable? That’s the point!

I define a marketing message as: “A fairly Short, Simple, Unique statement of the Benefits the Buyer Gets from your product or service, that Only You can deliver.

Short? Wow! Hold on. Won’t all that be wa-a-a-y long?

Not if you’re a really good copywriter it won’t. 

Copywriters are trained to “write tight”, that is to use as many words as necessary to accomplish the job…but not one word more. Famed writer George Orwell (1984, Animal Farm) said, “If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out”.  Especially in your marketing message.

Want some examples?  Following are seven you may be familiar with.  As you go through them, I’d like you to focus on how long (how many words) the writers needed before they got to the Benefits.  Even though most are decades old, it amazed me how they conform to a strategy that’s only been around our copywriting community for a few years.  Great copywriting is timeless.  Here they are.

  • M&Ms – The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hands.
  • Colgate cleans your breath as it cleans your teeth.
  • Miller Lite – Tastes Great – Less Filling.
  • BMW: The Ultimate Driving Machine.
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken – It’s Finger Lickin’ Good.
  • You Don’t Need To Be Jewish To Love Levy’s Real Jewish Rye.
  • Geico – Fifteen minutes can save you 15% or more on car insurance.

I hope you noticed that six of them needed five words or less to get to the benefits, while Levy’s needed only seven.

Why Are We Counting Words?

We are now well into the internet era, and people’s attention span has decreased from well over a minute to fourteen seconds in 2014, to a mere 8 seconds today.

If that sounds ridiculous, I agree.  In fact, the attention span of a goldfish was measured at…ready for it…NINE seconds.  When a person is reading your marketing message you have about 2 seconds to grab their attention so they instantly understand that there’s something in that message that can benefit them.  And in 2 seconds an average reader can read five short words.

I like the quote from Tom Cruise in Jerry McGuire:  “Show me the money”.  So, I say to you, “Show them the benefits”.

But These Are The World’s Best Copywriters...

They’re classics.  But what have YOU – a modern copywriter done? 

Fair question.  It’s important for you to know that anyone with training and a solid understanding of the company they’re writing for, can do this.  In fact, the Allstate marketing message – “You’re in good hands with Allstate”, was suggested by a company salesperson in 1950.  Seventy-four years later, it’s still going strong.  (I hope he or she got a heck of a bonus.)

Next, we have seven examples of my own copy that meet our definition, five of which are for small, local businesses.

  • Iowa Café – “Back Home Food, Small Town Friendly”
  • Datsun 240Z – “For going Fast, going Far, even for going Formal.”
  • Arte Verde – “Landscaping So Extraordinary, So Perfect…So You!”
  • “Clogged Pipes? CuraFlo Cleans Out Corrosion and Keeps It From Coming Back”
  • “Castanza’s Cakery Puts Joy In Your Mouth”
  • Aventa Senior Care – “Now That Mom Needs Me, I Need Aventa”
  • How To Write Copy – “Gain An ‘Unfair’ Advantage With This Easy And Powerful Copywriting System”

I’ll be the first to tell you, it’s not easy.  But it ain’t rocket science, either.

 [Interested in seeing more of my work?  Go here.]  

To Repeat: The Definition Of Marketing Message Is…

A fairly Short, Simple, Unique statement of the Benefits the Buyer Gets from your product or service, that Only You can deliver.

But can’t your competitors do the same thing?

Frequently, yes.  They might be able to do the same thing… BUT they can’t SAY the same thing.  “Me Too” marketing invariably fails because you were first in the market!  If you have my latest 2023 book, you may want to re-read page fourteen about Rosser Reeves’ Unique Selling Proposition. [Author’s Note: My first writing job was with Mr Reeves’ agency – I learned a boatful in a few short years.]

Now we come to what you’ve been (I hope) waiting for: how you can create your own unique marketing message.

How To Create Your Great Marketing Message

If your business survives on selling goods or services – pretty much everyone – you need to develop a compelling marketing message.  Not for just the marketing and sales staff or the owner.  But for everyone. 

Make it short.  Make it simple.  And make it true.  Here are four steps you can take now to develop a killer marketing message for your business.  Don’t try to do it all yourself, get input from your friends, family, and most importantly, your staff.

And remember:  if you can’t find your uniqueness…then it’s time to innovate!

1. Differentiate Your Brand

Determine in what meaningful way(s) you are different from your competition (Unique Selling Proposition or USP) and what hard evidence you have to prove it. 

And if you think you can’t differentiate – think again.  Sunkist created a huge and successful business because they differentiated a Sunkist orange from all the other oranges in the world. So don’t tell me your business can’t differentiate itself.  Acceptance of their brand grew, and customers associated the Sunkist brand with quality.  Now, Sunkist has licensed its name to other companies, like Seven Up.

So, let’s have no foolish talk about “my product has been commoditized”.

2. Focus On What Your Customer Gets

Be customer focused – not company focused.  Create your marketing message (value proposition) to communicate buyer benefits to the reader.  Remember, virtually all consumers – B2B or B2C – listen to that great radio station of the mind, WII-FM – What’s In It For Me?

So, tell them.

3. Understand – Specifically - WHY Your Customers Buy From YOU

“If you want to know Why John Smith Buys what John Smith buys, you need to see the world through John Smith’s eyes.”  If you don’t know the answer to why they buy from you, here’s a novel marketing idea.  Ask them. 

And believe them.

4. Create A Marketing Message For Each Differentiating Point

Craft a succinct, effective, “killer” message for each differentiating factor you discover about your business, products, or services.  Use power words, not weakling words – and do your best to follow my “Five words to Benefits” formula.

Once you’ve all agreed on the nuts and bolts of your marketing messages, turn it into a series of statements everyone can easily memorize and use (over and over again) with your customers, prospects, vendors and friends until everyone knows why they’d be an absolute fool not to do business with you.

Do all this and you’ll create great marketing messages, and the sun will shine, and the birds will sing.  Gloryoski.

Let’s Recap

  1. The #1 reason more than 7-out-of-10 small businesses and NPOs are not getting the results they expect and deserve from their marketing is because they lack a powerful, memorable, marketing message.
  2. According to Peter Drucker, only two things – Innovation and Marketing – make money. Everything else is a cost.
  3. I define a marketing message as “A fairly Short, Unique statement of the Benefits the Buyer Gets from your product or service, that Only You can deliver.
  4. Try very hard not to have more than five words before your marketing message tells the readers the benefits they get when buying.
  5. Prepare for creating your marketing message(s) – or value proposition(s) by:
    1. Knowing how your brand is different than the competition.
    2. Understand why your customers buy from you and not your competitors.

See you in the Winners’ Circle.

“I don’t know and I don’t care.”

This is certainly not my favorite line.  Nor do I think it’s yours.  Unfortunately, it’s often the skeleton under the bed in a lot of entrepreneurial companies – especially the non-dot coms.

Folks, ignorance is not bliss. Taking the time and effort to create a marketing campaign and then not having a way to tell if it’s working, is like playing roulette.  A pure gamble with the odds stacked against you.

But what’s a small company to do?  We don’t have unlimited funds so we can hire a high-powered marketing research firm. We don’t advertise on four

Radio or TV stations at one time so we can’t “test” one against the other. Our goal isn’t simple Awareness; we’re trying like hell to make sales.

Evaluating your marketing is something even the smallest company can do.  There are some easy and inexpensive ways to test the results from your ads, claims, concepts, differentiators, etc. both before and after the ad runs. The pre-release methods were mentioned in previous chapters. Now let’s discuss some of the ways you can track your results post-release (once you’ve put your advertising into play).

I am talking now to those of you who do not sell product through an e-commerce website.  Webstores are different animals because, fortunately, there is cheap and easy access to Google Analytics or other measurement programs. 

So, if you will allow, we’ll concentrate on those of you who sell most directly across the counter, over the phone or in-person.  Those of you who go to networking events, buy radio or TV time, send postcards and sales letters, distribute brochures, and maybe even sponsor a little league team. 

You need to know if the money you’re spending is doing the job.  John Wannamaker, founder of one of America’s retail giants once said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, and the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

Today, thankfully, it is possible for even a small business to make a real solid attempt to track which of their marketing and advertising dollars are being spent most effectively…and you can do so without excessive cost.

One good way to track calls generated by ads, postcards, letters, flyers etc is to set up one or more “Marketing Extension Lines”.  These MELs are what we’d call “virtual” phones, that is regardless of the number dialed, the call is routed seamlessly to your main phone line.  But when you get your phone bill it down the calls so you can easily see the activity on any of your MELs.

You can use a different phone number in each ad, brochure, or mailer. They all ring through to your main number, but reports will tell you which number the buyer called and where that call came from.  Thus you’ll know exactly which marketing piece prompted the call.

Then you can judge marketing piece to marketing piece.

With this knowledge, you’ll be able to make some informed decisions as you go ahead. The marketing extension line works equally as well tracking different ad copy in a newspaper, postcard, letter, etc.  This way you can do an A-B test on a mailer, or as a way to see which radio station pulls the best.  In an A-B test you send, say, 5000 postcards.  They are similar but have something different about them…different headline, different image, different offer, etc.  Each also has a different phone number.  So, when you get the phone bill you’ll know precisely which version pulled the most inquiries, and how many of those inquiries turned into customers.

Let me caution you here, only make ONE difference between the pieces.  If you make more than one you will not know which of those things, whether it was the offer, the headline, the image, or whatever the people responded to.

One A/B test compared the offer of a free audio in one ad, vs. a free set of articles written by my partners and me in the other. When one ad out-pulled the other 5 to

1, we knew we had a winner.

Marketing Extension Lines are available from your local phone company and are fairly inexpensive – last time I bought some they were $32 per month.

You can, alternatively, include a code on your order form or website which will identify the particular mailer or advertisement the prospect saw.  These are basic methods and involve little, if any, additional cost. And there are many more tracking procedures you could use.

I have purposefully made this the shortest lesson in our program – a very good reason.

There are already scores of excellent books on this subject from folks with lots more knowledge than me. You can find them in your local library or online.

So the best advice I can give here to warn against inaction.  Don’t forget that this is the final step in the process, and that you must – in one form or another – take that step.

After all, if you don’t care, who will?

Now, I’d like to take a moment to thank each and every one of you who have gone through this entire program.

I’m confident that you can now build your marketing strategy to focus on the 5 Steps To Greatness

  • Differentiate
  • Communicate
  • Educate
  • Facilitate
  • Evaluate

Here’s a bit of advice I’ll pass on.  I comes from a number of people who, like you, have gone through the WIN The Marketing Game And Stop Wasting Money program.

Here’s what they said:

Don’t just go through the program once and set it aside.  Keep using it.  I can be a great resource for a long time. The more you use it, the more ingrained the system will become.  Eventually, the system will become second nature and then everything you do, every decision you make, and every piece you develop will have a much, much better chance of – not only of success – but of roaring success.

So good luck.  Happy marketing.  And here’s to reaching all your goals. Learn more at this link.