Your key messages are the superheroes of your marketing campaigns. They cut through the clutter! They jump off the screen! They change minds and create sales! Marketing messages form the focus and deliver the pay-off for our campaigns. Without a robust set of marketing messages, you risk weak and ineffective communications. We ask a lot of our marketing messages, and that’s why it is always a good idea to test them before you launch your campaign. Here are six questions that you should answer to make sure your marketing messages have the maximum superpowers:
1. Does the message fit your brand? All brands have a set of beliefs and perceptions in the minds of consumers, and within limits, you must stay within those perceptions. If your message does not fit the expectations of your audience, you create dissonance for them. And conflict is complicated for consumers to understand and accept.
2. Is the message believable? Like the brand fit, your brand can make certain promises, if you stay within the limits of their perceptions. You can allude to the fact that your automobile is as fast as a jet engine, but is that believable? Probably not – unless you can offer compelling proof points for that claim.
3. Is the message memorable? How many times have you heard someone say, “I saw this great ad, but I can’t remember who it was for!” If consumers don’t remember who is giving the message, your marketing fails. Making sure that your brand is highlighted and reinforced is an important part of any successful marketing.
4. Does the consumer care about the message? Keywords must communicate something that is important to the customer. Do they care about what you are saying? Are you talking about compelling things? When you evaluate your marketing messages, keep this in mind: WIIFM? (“What’s in it for me?”) The consumer must get something out of your message; marketing that communicates unnecessary words are a waste of time and money.
5. Is the message different from competitors? Unless you are a monopoly (in which case, why are you marketing?), your marketing messages must break through the clutter of competitive messages. Like being memorable, if your customers don’t hear or see your message above the competition, your marketing is not doing what it should.
6. Will the message change behavior? It is tough (some say impossible) to predict whether consumers will change their purchase patterns based on the results of a marketing message test. But it is important to understand whether respondents believe your message could change their intention to buy, could increase their interest in your product, or move your product into the consideration set.
Answering these questions by testing your marketing messages will not guarantee success, but it can help avoid failure. Not having the best words in your marketing is more than just a waste of time and money, it can damage your brand over the long-term by eroding what your brand stands for with consumers. Your investment in message testing will give you high returns in both the short and long-terms: delivering sales and strengthening your brand.