Consumer marketers who work in CPG (consumer packaged goods) know that simple is powerful.
You can’t expect a consumer who is bombarded with messages all day long to hear five reasons from you why your soap is better than the competition. Complexity rarely helps in marketing. Over time, I learned these lessons as I got to market various snack foods and beverages and other consumer products and in my B2B experiences.
These are powerful ways to communicate.
In business to business marketing, the exact same need exists yet marketers tend to over complicate the communication. I like to seek out the simple, precise and sharpest message that can be most effective at reaching my goal. Then I try to tell the story around that message in different ways to my target. And in trying to get to simple and clear, I also know that I have to understand the landscape of messages coming from my competition.
Understanding The Landscape
If I have 4 main competitors and they all talk about innovation, how will anyone hear what I have to say?
I doubt that my innovation message will break through. So a very helpful exercise for marketers is to map out the messages that your audience hears from the competition. Put it up on a white board. Look at the competitions websites, collateral, ads and other communication from the competition and try and extract what their key words are that they use.
Then the fun begins as you try to find an opening. A gap. A path that isn’t being taken that you could own. And then you have to find multiple ways to explain that key message to your audience.
Let’s assume that convenience is your point of difference.
You offer a level of convenience that your competitors don’t and you want to find a way to explain this benefit to prospects. Do you know if your prospects really care about convenience? If so, how precisely does it help them? If they could buy from someone who has a more convenient product to use, what would they say the benefit is to them? How would they feel about a company whose product makes their life easier and less complex?
Sharpening Your Message
Beyond mapping the public messages from your competitors, another way to get some insights is to work with a local business class (college or preferably at a graduate level). Have students reach out to interview prospects with open-ended questions that allow the potential customer to express his pain points and what he needs. A prospect may share a need with someone who isn’t selling anything that they won’t share with you. This one tactic can help you get a leg up on the competition if you hear a repeated pattern of need.
A simple message is powerful if it touches on a nerve. If you can be as convenient as Uber to your customers, find a crisp, precise way to tell that story. Maybe you illustrate this to them by offering them a free Uber ride to drive home this message of convenience.
Then do it over and over again in ways that help raise awareness, educate them and cause them to take action.