Get Your Messaging Right

Editor’s Note: This article is a part of a series that explores the impact the COVID-19 crisis is having on the business world. Each article is designed to help you navigate your marketing strategy during this time.

The last few months have been extremely difficult for the entire global community as we adjust to a new normal amid the coronavirus pandemic.

From a personal point of view, many of us are practicing social distancing by staying inside, cancelling plans, and avoiding crowded spaces.

From a business perspective, the majority of people are working from home, uncertain of when we’ll be allowed to return to our usual place of work.

Businesses are facing a multitude of challenges from changes in demand, retail closures, supply chain issues and staff retention to name just a few.

Importantly, now is the time to consider the impact this pandemic is having on our businesses and what adjustments need to be made, in the short term at least, to ensure survival.

This process involves a review of our marketing strategy, beginning with target market definition, then understanding what makes you attractive to customers, followed by mapping changes in your customer’s journey and now, getting your messaging right.

Get Your Messaging Right

Getting your messaging right, in essence means saying the right things, to the right people at the right time. Getting to the right people means selecting the right medium or media.

Powerful messages persuade your targeted customers to take the action that you desire them to take. That action could be to download a free report, sign up to a newsletter or to buy your product or service.

Whatever the desired action is that you wish them to take, your messaging must be strategically aligned with the decisions you have taken with respect to target market definition and brand positioning. It must also take into account the 5 key stages of the customer journey as identified in our customer journey map.

So, using what we learned over the previous 3 articles about marketing strategy and getting inside the heads of our targeted audience in times of crises, we’ll use a hypothetical example of a business adapting to an entirely new situation.

Our business is a well- established fine dining Italian restaurant, Moretti’s, owned and managed by Gina and Tony Moretti.

Their traditional lunch and dinner business has completely dried up as a result of the social distancing restrictions.

However, their takeaway food business has shown significant signs of growth and the owners wish to encourage that growth to maintain a sustainable cash flow and provide continued work for the kitchen staff.

A review of their strategic marketing decisions is summarized as follows;

Marketing Strategies Driving Messaging

Target Market Definition

By tracking the post codes of the orders being delivered over the last few weeks and noting the meals beings ordered, Tony and Gina have noted that over 80% of their orders are coming from within a 3 Kilometer radius, from middle- upper white collar suburbs.

Tony swapped his chef’s hat for his marketing hat and decided, by way of a courtesy call, to call customers to make sure that their meals were delivered as desired. Whilst on the call he politely enquired as to the purpose of the dining event and if they were regular or occasional diners at his restaurant in better times.

With all of this information combined Tony and Gina made the following decisions with regards to their primary and secondary target market.

Primary Target Market

Families of 4-5 people, celebrating a special occasion such as a birthday with some home delivered, high quality Italian cuisine. Somewhat surprising to the owners was the fact that 50% of these customers were either regular or occasional diners at Moretti’s and 50% had never dined in the restaurant before.

Secondary Target Market

Couples living together with no kids, still both with jobs looking for some quality food to brighten up their weekend and also to celebrate special occasions such as anniversaries and birthdays.

Again, a high percentage of these customers had never actually eaten at the restaurant.

Positioning

The new positioning for Moretti’s seemed pretty clear to Tony and Gina when they put themselves in the shoes of their customers.

Moretti’s promises you fine Italian dining in your own home to celebrate any occasion, birthdays, anniversaries or a special night home together.

Customer Journey Mapping

Gina and Tony went through the customer journey mapping exercise, given the fact that they were attracting both old customers who were brand aware and new customers who were not so brand aware.

A brief summary of their customer journey mapping by stage is as follows;

Awareness

People at this stage often Google searched using terms such as “Italian restaurants near me”.

The first thing these people wanted to know was whether Moretti’s home delivered and an idea of the quality standard of the food.
Then menu items and pricing.

Some asked their Facebook friends for an opinion regarding Moretti’s food quality if they had dined there in the past.

Messaging for people at this stage is like talking to a new friend with the appropriate introductions and welcoming messages, looking to create a good first impression in line with the brand’s positioning.

Consideration

People at this stage looked at other options both Italian and non- Italian, checking food offers including pricing.

Customers at this stage were also looking for reviews and other forms of social proof.

Messaging will focus on points of difference and social proof.

Decision

People who are now ready to buy, would respond well to messaging that involves a special offer to get them over the line.

Service

Service delivery means delighting people by delivering on your promise and then
going one step further, such as Tony’s “courtesy call”.

Loyalty Extension

Tony and Gina have learnt their lesson of not creating an email list of customers and not attempting to nurture and grow the customer relationship with messaging that shows appreciation and recognition.

Loyalty programs and first in town notification of new menus are good examples of loyalty extension activity.

By building and growing a customer list, Tony and Gina will not only grow their business in the short term, but it will also serve to place Moretti’s in a better position when the next Corona Virus hits.

Key Benefit Driven Messaging

Your brand positioning represents the overarching perception you are seeking to create for your brand amongst your target markets. In Tony and Gina’s case it was;

Moretti’s promises you fine Italian dining in your own home to celebrate any occasion, birthdays, anniversaries or a special night home together.

This is the ultimate benefit involving the transition that will occur by dealing with your brand, the ultimate answer to the key question in the minds of your customers “what’s in it for me?”

We will turn your home into a fine dining Italian restaurant so you can enjoy your celebration in style.

But for today’s cynically savvy consumer, that’s not enough. They need to know the features and benefits that when combined, will ensure that an exceptional customer experience is enjoyed.

It’s benefits that sell but benefits need the rational justification of features.

A feature represents a specific element of your product or service offering.
In the case of Moretti’s restaurant, it could be a menu with a wide range of options catering to different tastes and needs.

The benefit resulting from this feature could be explained as “meaning we have something to delight everyone”. This benefit links back to the overriding brand promise. Other feature / benefit combinations relevant to Gina and Tony’s customers include;

FeatureWhich MeansBenefit
Wood Oven“ “Gourmet smokey flavours
Insulated Meal Packs“ “Meals are delivered hot
Celebrated Chef“ “Your meals are in good hands
In-house made pastaQuality we can guarantee
Key Benefit Driven Messaging Table Example

The feature / benefit messaging should be prioritized according to the relative importance of the benefit as it helps to support the brand positioning strategy.

Less is more when it comes to the delivery of powerful messaging. Too much information can reduce clarity and lack of clarity causes confusion and confused minds don’t buy.

So, rationalize your feature benefit messages to no more than the top 5 max.

Match the Media to the Message

Just as with traditional media such as TV and radio, the selection of the best media format to use to reach your customers is impacted by your message.

As with TV, video is the best medium to use where the message is highly emotional or a demonstration is required.

Video is also great when it comes to creating a personality for your brand in a short space of time.

Consumers love video because it is a very convenient, easy medium to consume.

It’s one reason why nearly 80% of all content consumed on the internet is video.

The number one platform for video is You Tube. However, like any other social media platform, You Tube is a search engine, but don’t expect your customers to search for you on you Tube, if they don’t use You Tube, or only use it as a source of music (music-seekers may see your You Tube ads though!)

Videos on your website are becoming increasingly more important, as are video blogs (Vlogs).

If you are working on messaging to cater for your customers in the “Consideration Stage” then comparison tables work really well, where a visual snap shot makes it very easy to compare features.

Tables and infographics work well on your websites as well as on social media platforms such as Pinterest, an under- utilized medium.

Final Messaging Tips

Some final tips to help you get your messaging right;

  • Never forget a ‘Call to Action’ at the end of your message to help people to take the logical next step in their customer journey. Put yourself in their position and ask yourself ‘where should I go now?” What would I appreciate?
  • ‘Tone of voice’ is key. The tone of your voice should match your messaging and therefore your brand positioning. Your tone should reflect your brand personality. Even in a crises, you need to be on brand.

    How do you wish to sound based on your customer’s needs? Do you wish to sound authoritative? Warm and friendly? Caring? Fun? Refer back to your marketing strategy. This should be determined by market expectations combined with brand point of difference.

    Market expectations during a crises means that customers expect your messaging tone to be sensitive to the situation and the anxiety people are feeling. This means avoiding sensational or alarmist messaging and instead, leaning towards a ‘we’re all in this together’ tone.
  • Keep your messaging on point and simple. Focus on the most important benefits only. Repetition of key salient points is better than adding more and more new information to absorb. We learn through repetition.
  • Remember, we are reaching people in times of a financial crises we have never witnessed in our lifetime. Be sensitive to that and do your best in your messaging to show that you really understand, in a very genuine manner, and that yes, you are in business to make money, but at the same time, you are doing your best to help make a really bad situation, a little better.

The team at Baker Marketing have a wealth of experience in marketing strategy and a number of us have lived and worked through times of economic and financial crises.

If you are ready to get strategic about your marketing give us a call on (08) 8352 3091 and talk to a senior marketing consultant today.

Click here to find the next article in the series titled ‘Adapting Your Sales & Marketing Process”

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