We all know the problem, because we all suffer from it as consumers: today’s buyers are so bombarded by apparently similar messages that they often find it hard to distinguish between competing solutions and vendors.
After all, the vendors can’t all be better, faster or cheaper, so all claims to that effect will at best be diluted or most likely completely disregarded by their intended audience as yet another example of marketing puffery.
And we’ve all probably found ourselves utterly unmoved by a piece of so-called “thought leadership” that turns out to be no more than a crudely disguised and poorly executed product pitch, or is no more than the uncritical rehashing of statistics that have already been shared dozens of times...
TIME TO JUMP OFF THE BANDWAGON
The way in which so many lazy and unthinking authors have jumped on the “57% bandwagon” is just one example amongst many. The truth of the matter is that if you want to stand out from the crowd, you’ve got to stand for something different from all the other competing voices.
Quote other people’s statistics, by all means. But make sure that you use them to help you convey a distinctive perspective that makes your audience see the implications of the information in a brand new light.
However, no amount of re-quoting of statistics can make your communications compelling unless you have a strong spine to your messaging framework. Those of you who have read “Crossing the Chasm” may recognise many of the elements of the formula I’m about to share with you.
A TIMELESS FORMULA
These elements are timeless because they are effective - because they manage to encapsulate who we want to talk to, what we want to talk to them about, why it matters to them, how we can help them, and what sets us apart.
These elements are all interrelated: if one component is missed out or weakened the whole message is diminished. If you jump (as so many technology marketers do) from the prospect’s problem straight to your solution, you’ve missed the most important part of the conversation.
Here, in summary, is the framework:
For [TARGET AUDIENCE]
Who need to [CRITICAL PAIN OR OPPORTUNITY]
But are struggling to [WHAT’S HOLDING THEM BACK?]
Your solution is a [CATEGORY]
That [COMPELLING REASON TO CHANGE]
Unlike [ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS]
[YOUR KEY DIFFERENTIATOR(s)]
PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE
Here’s an example of the framework in practice. It just so happens to be the one we use ourselves to guide our own marketing communications and sales conversations:
For the CEOs and sales leaders of B2B-focused tech-based businesses
Who need to satisfy their investors’ revenue growth expectations
But are struggling to bridge the gap between their top sales performers and the rest
Inflexion-Point offers a fresh perspective on sales performance improvement
That drives lasting revenue growth and improves sales forecast accuracy
Unlike traditional sales training programmes that have at best a limited short-term impact
Our integrated approach addresses every element that contributes to long-term sales performance
And that, by the way, is at the heart of what we do, and who we do it for. It’s not all that we do, but it’s the essence of what we do.
APPLYING THE LESSONS TO YOUR OWN ORGANISATION
You’ll never see our guidelines quoted verbatim in any external media other than this article, but they are reflected in all our communications - and thus far, it’s proved pretty effective.
We came across so many organisations that were struggling to craft truly compelling messaging that stood out from the crowd that we decided to capture all we’ve learned in a short guide.
You can download it here. If you choose to do so, I hope you find it useful. And I'd welcome hearing about your own experiences of crafting compelling messages for your own organisation...