Weekly Business Idea

July 27, 2018 – What is My Marketing Message?

Posted on | July 27, 2018 | No Comments

Main Idea:

Do your customers know all that you do for them?  Can they refer you easily to someone else?  When you meet someone at a cocktail party, can you explain how your business helps your customers in a sentence or two?  At a cocktail party, can your team explain how your business helps your customers?

Expansion of the Idea:

I have struggled with my marketing message for quite a while.  I have continually improved it, but I know it isn’t exactly where it should be.  The reason is that we do a lot for our clients and some of it is behind the scenes and is complicated.  When we try to explain complicated pieces, we end up using industry specific terms. That creates confusion because current and prospective clients frequently don’t understand those terms.  Even my best clients would struggle to explain to others what we do.  Or if they can explain what we do, it would be complicated.  How can I possibly expect them to refer me to others when they can’t explain how I help them in a simple and concise manner?

The first problem with marketing is that most of us don’t understand it.  The second problem is that it is hard to determine if time and money spent on marketing is working.  The third problem with marketing is that it is absolutely critical to our businesses.  Peter Drucker wrote the following years ago:

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”

If marketing is absolutely critical to our businesses and at the same time we are not doing it right, what is the path forward?

Most small business marketing gets focused on the product or service and not about the customer’s needs.  Messages get technical and lengthy.  That creates complexity.  And that is the quickest way to turn off your customers.  Too often we try to send our messages out to appeal to the widest possible audience.  What would happen if the message was simple and clear and only focused on the core audience?  Could the message resonate with that person?

I think that this area is one that the small business owner must own.  He must be intimately involved with the value proposition for the customer.  This doesn’t mean that she needs to do it by herself.  Getting a good marketing professional to guide you through this will help.  Read marketing books.  Brainstorm with your team.  I have been using Donald Miller’s book StoryBrand and the website support to clarify my message.  The point is that we need to keep refining our message until it is clear and simple.  I have finally come to the conclusion that I help clients get control of their finances and their businesses.  I had a hard time settling on the wording.    Yet I think it resonates with my clients because it is focused on their real needs and wants.  Even though they care about taxes, they care more about getting control.  They don’t want surprises.  That is where our marketing messages need to focus.  What is our product or service going to do to help our customers?

This is a journey.  There is no easy fix.  You will end up with some good ideas but they may not be exactly where you need to be.  I encourage you to push through and keep testing and brainstorming.  Keep refining.  Getting a clear and simple message will help connect you to your customers.  And you might be surprised what it does for your team.

Questions to Ponder

  1. What is my current marketing message?
  2. Do my customers think it is clear and simple?
  3. Is my business growing?
  4. Brainstorm with your team and external professionals.
  5. Test it with your customers.


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  • About

    These weekly ideas are brought to you by FitzGerald & FitzGerald P.C. For more information about how to use these ideas with your small business contact Tim FitzGerald at trfitz@fitz-net.com.