Simplifying complexity – Crafting an effective marketing message

Creating a powerful marketing message is the best way to effectively reach your key consumers and communicate with them on a personal level.  But if you’re dealing with a complex product or service this is often easier said than done.

Too little information and nobody will know what you’re going on about; too much and the message may get lost.

Over the years, we’ve worked with a range of animal health, lifestyle and technology clients, so are used to creating simple, but effective marketing messages for complex propositions.

We take a look at how to go about crafting the perfect marketing message.

The essence of an effective marketing message

Let’s start by looking at the three things that contribute to an effective marketing message. The message should:

  • Be clear and understandable
  • Convey a meaningful and relevant benefit to the audience (not just the features of the product or service)
  • Engage the audience on a rational and/or emotional level

Sound simple? Well, in theory it is, but sometimes a marketer’s intimate knowledge of a product or service can mean they fall victim to ‘knowing too much’.

Faced with a number of benefits, they become paranoid the ones they plan to leave out will be the benefits that will resonate most with the audience, so include them all to cover all bases. A clear and understandable message? Not so much!

A scattergun approach is more about reassuring the marketer they have ‘done a good job’ and ‘ticked all the boxes’ rather than about who really counts – the audience.

Everyone is targeted by thousands of messages from multiple brands daily, so the last thing you should expect your audience to do is separate and process multiple messages. Why are they going to waste their time on messaging that is confusing? Well, they won’t, especially as this kind of approach smacks of a brand talking to themselves rather than to the consumer.

So, if you want to avoid a ‘failure to communicate’ it pays to spend time and effort on creating a clear marketing message that conveys the benefit which resonates the most with your audience.

Tips for simplifying a complex message

So, how do you go from a scattergun approach to creating a message that truly resonates with your audience?  These are our top tips.

  1. Ensure the target audience is tightly defined: This isn’t just about demographics but also about behaviour. What is thecommonality of attitude / situation that makes them a cohesive cohort?
  2. Identify their pain points: you can’t convince someone to buy your product/service if you don’t understand why it’s right for them. What problem are they experiencing that your product/service can solve?
  3. Research: there is no substitute for asking the audience. You might think that you have all the insight needed to help identify the core benefit, but never assume.
  4. Focus on this one benefit: once you’ve identified the greatest benefit to the audience or the biggest competitive advantage stick with it. This will be the central core of the communication. While it might be tempting to add in a sneaky ‘and’ or ‘with’, don’t!  All other messages and benefits can be dropped into the support copy.
  5. Create a ‘copy platform’: this is 2-3 paragraphs which capture the message and tell the ‘story’ of the brand benefit in a clear, compelling and concise way. This can then be used by the copywriters and creative team working on the brand or campaign to ensure consistency and therefore impact.

Simplifying complexity in action

A great example of how we put this process into action recently is our work for BoarBetter. An innovative new synthetic pig pheromone, it works alongside other, more established methods to help a pig breeder identify the best moment to inseminate a sow. We identified several benefits to the pig breeder, but through process of insight and review, we honed this down to one key benefit – maximal heat detection.

This key brand feature was also reflected in the logo, which we expressed in the form of a stylised pig displaying the traditional colours of a ‘heat map’.  The full scope of features and secondary benefits were then worked into the support for this proposition. The result is messaging that talks directly to pig breeders and focuses on what is most important to them in language that they’ll understand.

Need a complex proposition simplifying?

If you do have a complex product or service which you need some marketing help with, please get in touch. We’d love to find out how we could help you.