Friday, February 3, 2012

Is your tail wagging the dog?

How often does a project get started with tactics?

"We need a website." "We need an blog."

Your web designer builds a great graphical interface with flashing pictures and tons of content. You extend the sales pitch to a blog. And you wait for the leads and sales to roll in. When they don't, you'll decide that you need a different web designer and that blogs don't work.

The problem is not the medium; it' the message. More specifically, the lack of one.

Marketing communication tactics without a core message are the tail wagging the dog.

Here's why:

It's an axiom of marketing that people do not buy things; they buy meaning. This is not the thing, but the essence of the thing.

Revlon doesn't sell lipstick; it sells sex appeal. Apple makes computers; Apple users buy confidence. And if all we wanted from a vehicle were transportation, we'd all be driving Fords and they'd all be black.

Until you have a clear picture of your ideal prospect, his values, emotional triggers and resources, it's impossible to "stage" your value proposition. That is, to align your company, products and services with his tacit and implicit needs.

Ask yourself three questions.

1. What is my value proposition?

2. Who is my prospect?

3. What makes my value proposition meaningful to him (or her.)

Dig into it. Read. Research. Survey. Meet people you think are prospects face to face. What works? What clicks? What makes their eyes glaze over?

Then imaginatively cook this intelligence until you get to the very essence of where your offer and his desire meet: what one picture encapsulates this meaning? What one word?

From here, you can pivot to which tactic or mix of traditional and new direct media make the most sense, goal-wise, time-wise, budget-wise.

Without this, all you have are pretty pictures and blah blah blah.

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