Yesterday we looked at how reader Stefan should take time in defining the ideal target market for his ‘lifestyle management company’. With customer models in place, we can now look at the how Stefan can create the right marketing message.
The Right Message
Finding the right marketing message allows you to speak directly to your target market and, in effect say: ‘I know what your problems are, and I can solve them better than anyone else.’ Relate to the customer, fix their problems / fill their needs and be unique.
It may sound simplistic but done well, can be very effective. For example, FedEx built its business on the phrase ‘When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight’. This one line clearly addresses all three points above – the sentence states the problem, it speaks to people who send important documents and is unique (i.e. it doesn’t just say ‘we deliver things fast’).
For your lifestyle management company we need to create a similar message that comes across in everything: from the business name, to how you describe it (is ‘lifestyle management’ the best term?), to your taglines, advertisements, customer service and visual appeal.
Everything needs to be consistent and cover those three points above.
Creating the Message
So how do we create that message? Well, as before, we answer those questions. In order to relate to the customer we need to be able to put ourselves in their position and identify with their needs. The customer models (personas) that we created should help us do that. They should include everything from the age of the ideal customer to the details of their daily lives.
Let’s assume that our principle persona is James, a 27-year old banker. James lives in London with his girlfriend. He enjoys travel, nice restaurants and drinks down the pub with his mates. He makes a decent bit of cash but his schedule means that it’s often hard to find the time to enjoy it.
If that was the persona then the last sentence would be a reasonable indication of what we need to be saying. We show we know who the customer is, that they have a disposable income and that their key problem is freeing up time to enjoy the pub and dinner with the other half. This would appeal to a higher-end market but lose you the lower end. All marketing decisions need to involve this kind of choice in order to target your market more precisely.
If that’s the kind of route you’d like to go down, it could lead you to a guideline statement like:
“What’s the point in making a good living if you haven’t got the time to live good.”
Admittedly not the best grammar but as a benchmark it works well.
Is it unique?
The next question is whether or not this message is unique. In other words, if everyone else in the market is saying the same thing, then your business will seem like a ‘me too’ attempt. As a simple acid test, if your marketing statements could be applied to another company in your market then they are too generic. Refine them with a few more questions. What’s your unique angle? Do you have specific services? Will you be targeting a different market than other firms?
With a bit of work, you’ll have a unique statement that speaks directly to your target customer and says how you can fix their problems. You should use that statement to help you create taglines, design advertisements, educate your customer service policies – anything and everything should be based on appealing to your market as best you can.
Then, and only then, should you move onto choosing the best marketing methods to use.