Reflecting on a coaching session today, my client was finding it a real challenge to support their value proposition and desired market positioning with value messaging, i.e. messaging focused on meeting and exceeding what their target customer will value. Everything that had been drafted had slipped into product or service features and benefits. The consequence? Boring comms!
Telling customers about what we do and how we do it is easy, and most of us don’t even have to think about it, we go into autopilot. Not surprisingly so do our target customers; they skim over the messages because they have heard it all before and the opportunity to engage has been lost. The average click-through rate on a website is 3 seconds. Let’s face it, we all do it – scanning home pages for something that interests us and if we don’t find it, we move on.
Why then, when we try to articulate messages for our business, do we forget how we behave as a customer? We don’t put ourselves in our customer’s shoes; we forget to empathise. There seems to be an underlying myth that when statements are posted on a website or social media that everyone reading them will believe the general blah blah such as, ‘We are the market leader’, ‘We are your partner of choice’, or similar.
We, we, we! For goodness sake – it’s not all about us! It should be all about our customer.
Starting a marketing message with the word ‘we’ means losing the opportunity to engage with a potential customer. They have slipped into autopilot and the only way to get them out of it is to engage them in a way that is relevant and of value to them, so they recognise their own business situation in our message.
Value Messaging – how to fill the messaging void
A key part of the role of Marketing is to engage the target customer’s interest before a ‘value dialogue’ can be started by Sales. Given that 57% – 80% of all buying journeys are completed before any direct sales inquiry, this is now a business imperative.
In helping clients revamp their ‘go-to market’ messaging, we have discovered that there is a void for marketers between brand messaging (building recognition and awareness) and product & service messaging (features and benefits). Value messaging fills this void and is the opportunity for real customer engagement, but it can only be achieved by presenting the value delivered for the customer and their business; the problem you can resolve, the difference you can make to them personally.
To articulate your value in a powerful and compelling way, you must understand the difference you will make to a potential customer; their business, their world. What is it that they can get from you that they can’t get from anyone else? To get a strong connection use your customer’s language. How do they talk about their business? What is their perspective, their point of view, what will resonate with them? Give them a reason to choose you over your competitor. Look at your messages using the Wiifm test, ‘What’s in it for me (as a customer)?’
Featured image provided by Jason Leung