Don't Shoot the Messenger, Just the Message

Updated: Feb 6, 2021

There are two things that can ruin a marketing campaign, a bad media plan or bad messaging. The truth is that the best plan in the world won't work if the messaging is wrong. However, a bad plan can succeed if the messaging is right.


Do you want proof? Take a look at Apple's "1984" Super Bowl ad. Experts could argue that their media plan was horribly wrong and bordered on a marketing crime. It had reach but no frequency, the commercial ran once. There was no targeting. They thought that everyone was their ideal customer, that was not true. It suffered from high production costs, hundreds of thousand of dollars to produce. They bought the most expensive air time available and paid a premium for it. But the message was right.... "On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like '1984.' " Through the layers of art and production of this commercial, the message was clear... "we are different and we will make your life better". The messaging was so on point that it elevated Apple to new heights and they have become one of the most successful brands in history.


Your company may not have the same resources or budget as Apple but you don't need to in order to have the right message for your business. There are a few things you can do to help ensure your message is right for the customers you want. The first is don't assume you will get it right on your first try. Try and try again. Test your message with a group of people you want to reach. Just make sure you don't rely only on your family and friends. They mean well but may lie to you and tell it's good when it's not. Social media and Google Ads are inexpensive, great ways to see if a message resonates with your target customer. Make sure to test a few different messages. Once you have the direction of your message, then be consistent with it across all of your media channels.


Other messaging tips include don't be shy, be bold or make bold statements that get attention. Be straight forward in your messaging so that they understand what you do in a few seconds. Customers don't have time nor the attention span to sift through a confusing message. Using multiple offers is ok (for example, you could offer a free service in January then a 25% off discount in February) but the messaging theme must be clear and consistent. Take Geico for example, they have multiple offers airing all the time but their message is consistent... use Geico and save on insurance. This brings us to our last point, the message should be a clear reason as to why the customer needs to use your business. Most customers don't care how long you have been in business or how many awards you have won. They just want to know what you can do for them today.


Keep these simple reminders in mind as you're developing the message for your next campaign. If you need help, reach out to a copy writer or another creative source to work through any roadblocks you may encounter. The message is more important than the tactics used to deliver it in most cases. Making sure you get it right could be the difference in a campaign's success or not.


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