SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski

Blog Feed Post

The 5 Key Components of a Core Messaging Document

We’ve all been there: You are cornered at a conference and someone asks, “So what does your company do again?”

Either you stammer trying to come up with the simplest answer, or you’re hoping that whatever you usually say is the same thing your boss is saying in the opposite corner of the same conference hall.

Fear not, the confusion is not a YOU problem, it’s a messaging problem, and a lot of companies have one today.

Creating cohesive and effective messaging is one of the biggest challenges many companies face.

When working with a client, one of the very first places we start is to take a look at their messaging. We’re looking for consistency. When done right, everyone in the company should be singing from the same hymnal on who the company is, what they do, and most importantly how their clients/customers benefit from using them (more on that last one in a moment).

To address these pieces, we create one place where this all lives — a Core Messaging Document.

This document then guides everything you do from a marketing perspective and serves as the foundation for all of your messaging. Everything you do moving forward will be anchored to this, so you want to make sure you take the proper approach.

With all that in mind, here are the five key components of a core messaging document:

1). Unique Value Proposition & Key Benefits

Right out of the gates this is where a whole lot of people fall down. This is where you should describe, in just a few sentences, the unique, tangible value people get from your product or service. Make sure it also passes the “so what” test – meaning it has to grab people and be interesting.

Your unique value proposition should be benefits focused. However, many stray from the path here also: They can’t wait to tell you about all their features and solutions instead of telling you the benefits they provide.

Here’s the reason features make for less effective value propositions than actual benefits: features center around your experience. But savvy marketers know a seller-centric playbook no longer works to build deeply engaged customers.

By centering around your customers and structuring both your unique value proposition and key benefits to speak directly to what they are experiencing, you quickly address customer pain points, and can then create an effective framework to build the rest of your messaging on.

Let’s take a look at an example.

Imagine you are a B2B tech company touting a revolutionary software poised to change the helping-employees-decide-where-to-get-lunch game. We could think about the difference between your features and benefits like this:

 

MESSAGE
 

IS IT A FEATURE OF BENEFIT?
 

WHY?

Our tool has an easy-to-use drag and drop interface

Feature

This is a feature because it’s about the way your product functions, not the value it provides.

Our tool is intuitive, easy to use, and will save you time

Benefit

Here we have zoomed out to think about the big picture and what your customers stand to gain by working with you.

Since you’ll likely have too many benefits to wrap directly into a unique value proposition, often it will make sense to outline key benefits below the value proposition with a sentence that supports each of them and how they resolve a potential customer’s pain point.

2). The Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is your 30-second response to the “what do you do?” question and should fall directly out of the value proposition and benefits you outlined in the step above. Again, make sure you focus heavily on the benefits here – why should the customer take time to care what you do? But remember, this isn’t a sales pitch. It’s just a conversation with someone, theoretically in an elevator. Once they show they care about more, then you can get into the details.

There are lots of ways to build your elevator pitch. You can start with a question or offer up an example of success with a quick case study example. Regardless of how you approach it, the elevator pitch can’t be dry and full of jargon and complicated concepts. Answer the questions “What do you do?” and “What makes it unique?” Do it layman’s terms with words everyone understands.

There are lots of examples out there including these from Hubspot, but the key is to be creative and succinct.

3). Boilerplate

This is the short 2-3 sentence description of who you are and what you do, and again falls right out of the value proposition. You find the boilerplate copy most frequently in press releases or short online directory submissions.

While this might seem dry and like busy work I’m giving you here, I promise it’s not.

Here’s the kicker on having boilerplate language: Companies that don’t have clearly defined explanations of who they are create internal chaos and external mistrust. Draft a boilerplate company description that is under 100 words and clearly communicates your value. And then make sure that everyone in your company has it.

It should also include a call to action at the end that points readers to your website or maybe your social channels.

Here you can see how CVS outlines who they are, what they do, and what sets them apart, all while centering the value they provide their customers.

core-messaginghttps://www.rightsourcemarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Picture1... 300w" sizes="(max-width: 550px) 100vw, 550px" />

(Image Source)

If you’re still fuzzy on how to get all of these elements nailed in a way that truly describes who you are, get some inspiration with these seven stellar boilerplate examples.

4). Buyer Personas, Pains and Your Solution

This part will likely be the largest part of your document, but don’t let that scare you. In this section, start by thinking about who actually purchases your product, and listing out each of the buyer roles (i.e. marketing), and representative titles (i.e. VP Marketing, CMO, Marketing Director).

Remember to make sure that you have talked to customers, researched buyers, and have a bank of information on who purchases and uses your solution to create messaging that resonates with them. Completing an exercise like this will help you keep your responses to your buyers’ pain points laser focused and relevant.

Make sure you have thought about questions like these in your persona research:

core-messaginghttps://www.rightsourcemarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Picture2... 300w" sizes="(max-width: 495px) 100vw, 495px" />

(Image Source)

To nail this section of your core messaging document, create three columns, one for Buyer Goals/Objectives, one for Buyer Potential Pains and one for Impact of Pains on Goals.

Once you have addressed all of these, add in a new row at the bottom for your product or service. In the Buyer Goals/Objectives column list out your solution and how it addresses those goals and objectives. In the Potential Pains column list out the impact you can have on resolving those pain points, and in the last column list out examples/case studies that prove these out.

Starting out with a typical B2B example, the beginning of this process will look something like this:

Buyer 1: Struggling Marketer Stan
Stan is in marketing (his role) and he is a Director (his title)

Struggling Marketer Stan’s persona chart:

BUYER GOAL
BUYER POTENTIAL PAINS
IMPACT OF PAIN ON GOALS

Generate a high volume of leads at a low cost

Budget is too small to generate the volume of leads I really need, not enough time in the day

Low budget means you stay conservative with lead generation choices and you generate a low volume of leads

YOUR PRODUCT:

Our solution makes lead generation faster and easier for marketers

YOUR PRODUCT:

Our tool is inexpensive, generates huge ROI, and will automate previous manually handled lead generation processes to save you time

YOUR PRODUCT:

  • Link to case study: Link to “How X Generated 40% More Leads with Our Product”

Continue this until you have completed it for all your different buyer personas and you’ll understand how to address all your audiences.

5). Competitive Positioning

Last but not least, list out your key competitors, what their key messages are, and how you are different from each.

core-messaginghttps://www.rightsourcemarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Picture3... 300w" sizes="(max-width: 700px) 100vw, 700px" />

(Image Source)

A useful exercise to dig into how you are different from your competitors is to go back to those awesome benefits you outlined in step 1 — your unique value proposition and key benefits.

How does each of those benefits compare to what your direct competition offers? Are they similar? Do you offer something totally different?

By really wrapping your head around the value you provide over your competition, you can hone in on what content to write, and what aspects of your business to focus on, and how to direct your marketing strategy to effectively set yourself apart from the competition, all thanks to your expertly crafted core messaging document.

With a solid messaging guide containing these five key components, you are now ready to move forward and tackle anything that comes your way, from a networking event to marketing campaign.

Focusing on these five areas will help you craft messaging that can guide your content creation strategy and campaign planning for quarters to come.

If all of this seems a little bit overwhelming, or you just want us to check your work, we’re happy to help.

Get in touch today.

 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2010 and has been thoroughly updated for comprehension and accuracy.

The post The 5 Key Components of a Core Messaging Document appeared first on Right Source Marketing.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Will Davis

Right Source Marketing helps organizations build their marketing strategy, organize the structure to accommodate that strategy, and deliver the specific services to execute that strategy. We do this through a unique model that provides senior level strategic consulting as well as specific services that cover every area of an organization’s marketing plan.

Latest Stories
In today's always-on world, customer expectations have changed. Competitive differentiation is delivered through rapid software innovations, the ability to respond to issues quickly and by releasing high-quality code with minimal interruptions. DevOps isn't some far off goal; it's methodologies and practices are a response to this demand. The demand to go faster. The demand for more uptime. The demand to innovate. In this keynote, we will cover the Nutanix Developer Stack. Built from the foundat...
92% of enterprises are using the public cloud today. As a result, simply being in the cloud is no longer enough to remain competitive. The benefit of reduced costs has normalized while the market forces are demanding more innovation at faster release cycles. Enter Cloud Native! Cloud Native enables a microservices driven architecture. The shift from monolithic to microservices yields a lot of benefits - but if not done right - can quickly outweigh the benefits. The effort required in monitoring,...
Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expensive intermediate processes from their businesses. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 23rd CloudEXPO, June 24-26, 2019 at Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA will find fresh new content in full new FinTech & Enterprise Blockchain track.
As the digitization of business accelerates the move of critical applications and content to the cloud, the network has never been as critical to business success. Consuming everything ‘as-a-service' requires new levels of network automation, agility and security. Discover how Enterprises can take advantage of Digital Platforms, directly connecting to an extensive ecosystem of digital partners and flex their service at the click of a button.
Blockchain has shifted from hype to reality across many industries including Financial Services, Supply Chain, Retail, Healthcare and Government. While traditional tech and crypto organizations are generally male dominated, women have embraced blockchain technology from its inception. This is no more evident than at companies where women occupy many of the blockchain roles and leadership positions. Join this panel to hear three women in blockchain share their experience and their POV on the futu...
Concerns about security, downtime and latency, budgets, and general unfamiliarity with cloud technologies continue to create hesitation for many organizations that truly need to be developing a cloud strategy. Hybrid cloud solutions are helping to elevate those concerns by enabling the combination or orchestration of two or more platforms, including on-premise infrastructure, private clouds and/or third-party, public cloud services. This gives organizations more comfort to begin their digital tr...
Cloud Storage 2.0 has brought many innovations, including the availability of cloud storage services that are less expensive and much faster than previous generations of cloud storage. Cloud Storage 2.0 has also delivered new and faster methods for migrating your premises storage environment to the cloud and the concept of multi-cloud. This session will provide technical details on Cloud Storage 2.0 and the methods used to efficiently migrate from premises-to-cloud storage. This session will als...
In very short order, the term "Blockchain" has lost an incredible amount of meaning. With too many jumping on the bandwagon, the market is inundated with projects and use cases that miss the real potential of the technology. We have to begin removing Blockchain from the conversation and ground ourselves in the motivating principles of the technology itself; whether it is consumer privacy, data ownership, trust or even participation in the global economy, the world is faced with serious problems ...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It's clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Th...
For enterprises to maintain business competitiveness in the digital economy, IT modernization is required. And cloud, with its on-demand, elastic and scalable principles has resoundingly been identified as the infrastructure model capable of supporting fast-changing business requirements that enterprises are challenged with, as a result of our increasingly connected world. In fact, Gartner states that by 2022, 28% of enterprise IT spending will have shifted to cloud. But enterprises still must d...
Cloud-Native thinking and Serverless Computing are now the norm in financial services, manufacturing, telco, healthcare, transportation, energy, media, entertainment, retail and other consumer industries, as well as the public sector. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that pro...
The level of trust we have with individuals, businesses, and technology affects our lives daily. This is important to remember when discussing new technologies. For example, our level of trust is a critical factor when evaluating a new technology as a potential solution for providing business value. Given the importance of trust, imagine one's reaction upon hearing that blockchain is a "trustless trust" system. On the surface, that does sound like an oxymoron. This paper discusses how "trustless...
Public clouds dominate IT conversations but the next phase of cloud evolutions are "multi" hybrid cloud environments. The winners in the cloud services industry will be those organizations that understand how to leverage these technologies as complete service solutions for specific customer verticals. In turn, both business and IT actors throughout the enterprise will need to increase their engagement with multi-cloud deployments today while planning a technology strategy that will constitute a ...
Data center, on-premise, public-cloud, private-cloud, multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud, IoT, AI, edge, SaaS, PaaS... it's an availability, security, performance and integration nightmare even for the best of the best IT experts. Organizations realize the tremendous benefits of everything the digital transformation has to offer. Cloud adoption rates are increasing significantly, and IT budgets are morphing to follow suit. But distributing applications and infrastructure around increases risk, introdu...
Moving to Azure is the path to digital transformation, but not every journey is effective. Organizations that start with a cohesive, well-planned migration strategy can avoid common mistakes and stay a step ahead of the competition. Learn from Atmosera CEO, Jon Thomsen about the opportunities and challenges found in three pivotal phases of the journey to the cloud: Evaluation and Architecting, Migration and Management, and Optimization & Innovation. In each phase, there are distinct insights tha...