Messaging: have you nailed yours?
Don’t assume that because you are operating in a deep industrial technology sector, marketing messaging doesn’t apply to you. The power of storytelling to convince and connect with audiences should not be underestimated, and carefully constructed messaging is the backbone of any successful B2B marketing programme.
What is ‘messaging’?
Messaging is the words you use to convey the benefits of your company and its products or services to customers and stakeholders.
Messaging is the bridge between marketing strategy and tactics. Without it, you wouldn’t get from one to the other. And if your proverbial bridge is rickety or weak, your tactics will lack impact. That is why messaging needs to be strong.
Say, for example, your strategy is to promote a plastic additive to manufacturers of industrial components. Your PR tactics might include a press release to introduce the innovation and a series of social media posts. But unless you are clear on your messaging, how will you decide what content to include? This is where messaging is crucial as, without it, marketing communications lose focus and effect.
We are specialists in B2B communications for the industrial technology sectors such as chemicals, plastics, automation and packaging. We therefore appreciate that messaging and storytelling doesn’t always come easy to companies in these sectors - it often defaults to one-way sales messaging or technical content that is lacking in purpose.
Messaging is not about telling your target audience what you want them to hear. It is about addressing their pain points and presenting your business or products as a solution.
Create messages in context
It goes beyond promoting new science, technology or Research Development as a siloed, one-track approach. Today, operators in the industrial technology space face a number of macro-environmental pressures, from the requirement to deliver on sustainability targets, the race to digitalise at speed, and the need to attract and retain new talent. Messaging should demonstrate an awareness of external factors and industry trends, as well as a proactive approach to challenges.
Bringing this context into message development also creates an opportunity to enrich storytelling, rather than just focusing on the technical attributes of a product or the latest business achievement.
When we hold messaging strategy workshops with our clients, they are always astounded by the depth we uncover. It is a skill that enables us to develop rich, multi-layered content that inspires and engages B2B audiences.
Back to basics: finding your USPs (Unique Selling Propositions)
We often find that we have to go back to identifying the core value proposition for a business before constructing the messaging around it.
There are certain questions you can consider that will help to establish what your value proposition should be:
- What do you want customers to know about your company?
- What sets your company’s people, products and services apart from the competition?
- How do your customers benefit from your products or services?
- How do your products and services address their pain points?
When you answer these questions, you will begin to see what needs to be communicated to audiences for them to understand the essence of your brand.
Effective messaging is also about knowing how and when to use Unique selling propositions in content. A compelling narrative does not mean you have to lose your commercial edge, but there is a strategic balance between being overly promotional and telling a great story.
Lastly, for your messaging to ring true, it is vital that your USPs are substantiated in facts , not as an inflated view of your position in the market. Data is key to this; use market research and product performance data to shape your messaging to ultimately find the sweet spot where creativity and hard data meet.
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