Creating the right message

By Stuart Hartley @anglestuart


You’ve developed the look and feel for your business and its marketing and now it’s time to craft the right message to your potential customers.

To do this we must first know which potential customers we are planning to target.  We can do this through segmentation, and I’ll talk about that in a different blog, and also by identifying which “buyer role” we plan to attract.  This is important for businesses marketing business to business and business to customer.


Each buyer role will view the products or services in a different way and have, perhaps different benefit requirements.  I’m a particular fan of the campaign and message from Graco “when your baby sleeps you sleep”.  They are appealing to the natural and obvious benefit of sleep for a new parent.  It’s also the parents that have the money to spend.  They are then appealing to the funder and the payer rather than the user in terms of buyer roles.


Let’s go back a step though, and before we can consider a clever and appealing message like Graco’s we must first consider what our platform will be.  This usually comes from our business’ values.  Think about the platform that VW have created – Reliability and Quality.  It runs through all the communication they distribute.

The platform we create should be relevant to the needs and benefits of our potential customers and should play on our competitive advantages.

The advertising message translates this platform into words, symbols and illustrations which are attractive and meaningful to the target audience.

The message should be:

  • The message benefit should be important to the target audience
  • The benefit should be specific; evidence to support it should be provided
  • The message should be written in the target customers language, not the language of the advertiser
  • The message should have a headline which might:
    • Promise a benefit
    • Deliver news
    • Offer a service
    • Tell a significant story
    • Identify a problem
    • Quote a satisfied customer


This campaign and message from Fiat covers most of the points above.  The message is benefit orientated – its engineered to have a lower impact on the environment; its specific to a target audience; its written in the language of the customer (i.e. not being obvious about the technical details as to how its engineered to have a lower impact on the environment); it delivers news, it tells a story and identifies a problem most people can identify with.

Likewise a simple but effective image based message from Smart has a similar effect.



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