COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS
Now that you’ve defined both your own business identity and the identity of your ideal customer, you are ready to decide what message and medium you want to use to reach those customers.
We could group our entire marketing effort under the 3 M’s of Marketing – Market, Message, and Medium. We have looked at the Market from both sides with our business identity and ideal customer focuses and now today, we’ll look at the last two – Message and Medium.
The message is, of course, both the text and images that explain why your solution to your customers’ pain points is superior to every other solution out there. The text is just as important as the accompanying graphics and also dictates them to a very real extent.
We then decide what medium we will use to disseminate our message and reach our customers. Will we use print – brochures, flyers, catalogs – or digital avenues – social media, email marketing, and blogs?
How are the message and the medium that we choose related? We may not understand it completely, but there is a strong relationship. Marshall McLuhan said in 1964, “The medium is the message.” This means that “the form of the medium embeds itself in the message … and influences how the message is perceived.” – Digital Rhetoric Collaborative.
So here’s the big question:
Which message and medium should I use to best meet my ideal customer where he is and solve the points of pain in his life?
Here are some points to help us answer that question:
• Who is my ideal customer or target audience again? (You can’t meet someone that you can’t identify.)
• What is the message that will best connect with my target audience? (How do they think about their pain points?)
• What are my strengths as identified in my business identity and displayed in my brand? (How will I SOLVE their problem?)
• Where does my target audience spend their time? (This is a clue as to the medium on which you will meet them.)
• How will I track and identify what mediums and messages are working? (What will I use to prove that I am getting the results that I want?)
Let’s look at each of these points in turn, reviewing market first, then message, and finally medium.
First, review the profile that you created of your ideal customer. Etch that picture vividly in your mind. Make sure you know both the demographics (age, gender, occupation, education level and marital status) as well as the psychographics (interests, habits, desires, and dreams) of your audience. How would you best connect with them? Just for an example, if your audience are mainstream American teenagers, your message and medium will likely be very different than if you are targeting middle-aged Amish housewives!
Next, let’s focus on the brand message. It’s important that your message remains consistent without being static. The exact wording and graphics can change (this prevents it from becoming static) but the messaging and attitude should remain the same (this is true consistency). If your brand message is also memorable, (in other words, if Craft and Cloud has done their job) seeing this consistent, memorable story across multiple channels reinforces the connection with your brand in your customers’ minds.
But how exactly do we develop a consistent, memorable message? First and foremost, it must keep front and center the unique way that your product solves the pain points of your customers. This gives your ideal customer a constant stake in the brand story and a strong reason to pay attention to your ads, no matter where he sees them. The attitude of this brand message should grab attention and provoke thought about his problems in a fresh, striking way. Usually, this is done through vivid, specific wording and graphics that stamp the message deeper on his mind.
Here’s an example of a very generic brand message that can still be made much more memorable:
“My [fill in your product] will save you a lot of money.”
We can change that to this:
“My [fill in your product] will save you so much money you will think that you won the lottery!”
Even though this is an over-the-top example that you, no doubt, have no aspirations for, do you notice how simply changing a lot of money to a more concrete, emotional image -winning the lottery – increases your connection and interest in the product?
Finally, where does your target audience spend their time, or what medium or media should you choose to most effectively reach them where they are? Putting in your due diligence in identifying your market and developing your message can make this fairly simple to determine. Most people only interact on a few channels whether those are print or digital. Find which channels your ideal customers prefer – this choice could range from deciding between a newspaper ad and a flyer to choosing between Facebook and Tiktok – and meet them there. Don’t wait for them to find you. Also, using your understanding of your message can help you determine which media to choose.
Don’t be afraid to diversify into additional preferred channels of your target audience either now or down the road. Since most people only interact on a few channels, expanding your reach into even just one or two new areas or platforms can result in your reaching a completely untapped audience.
Lastly, how you will track the results you are getting? Increasing the number of channels makes it ever more important that you increase the sophistication of your attribution methods and know exactly what method brings you the most bang for your buck. Special email and web codes, phantom phone numbers, and mailer labels can all be ways to differentiate your campaigns and discover exactly which one is delivering the goods.
Wow! This is a lot of information to keep straight, isn’t it?
That leads us to the big question: Is all of this trouble and time with marketing, messaging, and mediums truly worth it?
Want the short answer? It is.
Here’s why. If you can reach your ideal customer with a consistent, memorable branded message on his preferred medium, you WILL see a sales increase!
In fact, using the 3 M’s of marketing – Marketing, Message, Medium – could cause your sales to skyrocket!