Saying a messaging framework can save you might seem a little strong. But a well-crafted Messaging Framework can save you hundreds of hours and, ultimately, make your field and partners significantly more effective.
Want to know more about this miracle reference document? First, a messaging framework document is a summary of messages, evidence and copy blocks from which field, customer and partner facing materials can be created. It is a reference document, much like an encyclopedia or almanac.
Let me stick my neck out for a moment and say what I am really thinking: Strong messaging frameworks are worth their weight in gold. Lousy messaging frameworks are a waste of time, effort and possibly money.
The purpose of this blog is to offer you a simple process for creating a messaging framework that is worth its weight in gold.
1. Start with a message thesis
The message thesis sets the context for the messaging that follows. It is a summary of the market conditions and customer demands. Why does this matter? Because if you want to be compelling, you need to understand the big picture. In the world of business and technology truth and understanding are what resonate most.
2. Summarize the audience interests
This is not the same as a detailed segmentation study. It is a summary of the audiences, specific roles and what they care about. If you do a good job on the message thesis and the audience's needs, you have a yardstick against which to measure the completeness and effectiveness of the messaging you are about to create.
3. Message pillars are all the rage
But there is more to them than just popularity. In the best case, the message pillars are categories of benefits that capture viscerally and intellectually the essence of all the messaging. Here is how to tell if you have great message pillars. Read them aloud as if they had periods between them. Do they capture the essence of what it is you want to communicate?
4. For each pillar create a set of benefits
We work primarily with technology companies that sometimes confuse features and benefits. The reason for this is simple. Sometimes the feature is so compelling the benefit is obvious. “You mean I can order a limo on-demand from my cell phone?” Like that. Nevertheless, the most effect benefits are real benefits that are differentiated from competitors. “Get home faster with a limo that can pick you up in under 5 minutes”. These are fairly hard to write, but if you get them into good order, every piece of marketing and sales material will be significantly stronger.
5. For each benefit, identify evidence
Really good evidence is convincing. For example, “over 90% of riders are picked up in under 2 minutes.” Numbers are good. Third party endorsements are good. Words like first, best, only, fastest are very good as long as they are true. Assertions are not evidence and people notice. You can use assertions such as “just a better way to get around,” but not here.
Are good messaging frameworks easy? Hardly. But in the best case they are a single, trusted source of marketing and sales information that makes every communication and customer interaction more powerful for both the thoughtfulness of the message and the consistency with which it is delivered.