Many marketers will tell you how to push your marketing message to your audience.
They tell you the latest social media trends and how to get your message out, or how to write great content. What most marketers assume is that you know how to clearly express the problem you solve for your customers.
If I made this assumption, it would have been detrimental to every client I’ve met. Had I assumed they knew how to express their ideas succinctly and influentially, our attempt to get more customers would not have worked as well.
But there is a much deeper question here: Why is it so difficult to clearly express what we do?
3 reasons why it’s difficult to talk about what we do.
1) We’re becoming a service-driven economy.
Our economy has steadily been shifting from manufacturing to a service-based economy. The majority of us already offer services. According to Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, as an economy develops, “Its service sector keeps growing.”
This is good for the economy. But it makes communicating the benefits of a service more challenging. Services are intangible, which means they are not physical objects. Services are more difficult to explain because you cannot put it in someone’s hand like new laptop or phone and see the immediate value.
Services are more based on ideas. Ideas themselves are difficult to express. And some of the services we offer can seem extremely complex. It’s difficult to get a set of key messages that lets your customers understand immediately. Just think about a new idea that is associated with technology.
2) The way we market has changed drastically.
In the olden days, companies created a product in a factory and advertised the benefits like mad in big media. This still works. Just watch commercials that come on during cartoons for your kids. It consumes my sons and they immediately must have whatever it is on the TV.
This way of marketing is not necessary anymore to be successful. Now we have social media and Google Search ads and search results that can reach the masses. It’s much more affordable than a Cartoon Network ad.
According to LYFE Marketing located in Atlanta: “CPM is an advertising metric that measures how many advertising dollars you must spend to reach 1,000 people. The goal of any advertising should be to reach as many relevant people as possible at the lowest cost.”
As you can see from LYFE’s snazzy graph, social is incredibly cheaper than say direct mail or broadcast.
As a result, anyone is able to enter the arena. And because it is so less expensive, we don’t spend as much time on the message. Here’s a rhetorical question. Which are you going to spend more time on, a message for a Super Bowl ad that is going to cost millions of dollars, or a Facebook ad that might cost $20?
3) And now… we’re not counting on professionals as much anymore.
Before if we needed to understand how to communicate the value our business offered, we’d call in a professional before spending millions of dollars on ads.
After all, advertising was expensive, as we discussed above.
But now… these ads on the Internet are less expensive. Why call a professional to help you express the problem you solve when you can do it yourself for free?
Bypassing the gatekeepers and experts who held the keys to getting attention is great. But it also prevents many of us from sitting down with an expert to understand exactly what we need to say to communicate what we do.
David Arvin, the author of Visibility Marketing, sums it up best. “You may have spent tens of thousands–or perhaps even millions–of dollars building infrastructure, logistical processes, facilities, and capacity. But chances are you’ve only spent minutes crafting the words you use to describe what you do.”
And why should we spend a lot of time on our brand message? Advertising is a lot cheaper now.
The Cart and the Horse
Originally when I had the idea for this blog, I thought we were pushing the cart before the horse.
We think, “OK. Here’s how to put an email auto responder together, here’s how to create a blog post, here’s how to create a video, here’s what I need to do in this type of social media platform and that one…”
However, we seldom sit down and think, “What am I actually offering and how can I explain this in the clearest way possible?”
We are not starting at the most fundamental level of communications, which is clearly expressing the problem we solve for your customers. If we cannot express our project, idea or business objectives clearly, our marketing strategy will suffer.
Since services are intangible, it’s insanely difficult for us to express what our services actually do. This is new territory for us. We have not been in an economy like this before with all these new ways to communicate.
However, I’m not sure we are technically putting the cart before the horse with marketing. Instead what we are really doing is getting the horse ready to pull passengers and our goods and services and our brand. And instead of spending a lot of time building the cart, we are only spending a few minutes on it.
Social media posts, blog articles, networking events, Google Ads are all the horse. They are the avenue or motor to deliver our message. But like David Arvin says, we spend so little time on the message.
A good starting point is answering the following questions… and answering these questions as simply as possible:
· What is my topic, or what service am I selling?
· Who is my audience?
· What do I want my audience to do?
About Clear Points Messaging LLC
Clear Points Messaging LLC serves small business in the Dallas, Texas area. Our goal is to upgrade the marketing you are already doing and using. We do this by making clear messages about your business so your audience will immediately understand what you offer them. We like to say we do marketing strategy and brand messaging. We lead workshops and consult businesses. Our best work happens when we can help you discover what your customers’ true pain points are and clearly express how you solve them. Once we have a clear message to share, we help you infuse principles of persuasion into a well-executed communication plan.