Being Specific Helps Your Message Resonate

I talk a lot about messaging. I really feel it is the single most important thing in marketing & communications.  It’s foundational and you just can’t skip over it on the way to executing tactics. You can, but it’s costly and will be a frustrating experience.  

I was having a conversation recently with another marketing professional and I said “People have needs. For example, I have a need to get four new tires and a wheel alignment on my car this week and so I’m shopping for that service currently”. He puffed up proudly and said “YES! —But what you REALLY need is to have a safe, reliable automobile!”  I thought about it and said., “Actually no, I need four new tires and a wheel alignment.”  Do you see what happened?

Marketing often takes a specific need and generalizes it. BUT me, the customer, I have a SPECIFIC need for a very SPECIFIC service and already know EXACTLY what I want — I just don’t know exactly who’s gonna do it for me. (Probably Pep Boys because they fixed a flat tire for me at no charge on this car previously).

This is really important and I see this mistake made all the time. When the customer has a specific need already figured out — LET THEM. Don’t push it up to a higher level “branding” message about “well you really need a safe, reliable car blah blah blah”. That’s just marketing jibber jabber — And it’s bad advice because THAT outcome could lead to MANY things including various other auto repairs, buying a new car—and if you sell tires, THAT messaging outcome doesn’t help you. 

My simple tip for this month is to figure out specifics and DO NOT push them up to generalities. If you make a headless bass guitar that weighs 8 lbs and sounds great — say that. Because the bass player with the messed up shoulder is looking for EXACTLY that and if you’re talking about something else, you’ll miss them.  

Digital marketing was supposed to allow us to get more specific and granular but man, it’s REALLY hard to do that without the trust necessary to learn everything about the consumer and be there with exactly what they need. It’s supposed to work, but most marketers just use the data to bludgeon and annoy their lists of prospects into a fight (listen) or flight (unsubscribe) reaction. Due to the fundamental lack of consideration or empathy for the audience, personalization really can’t work. 

As we know from StoryBrand,the problem kicks off any great story. But don’t forget to make the problem SPECIFIC enough that it matches the reality of what your hero needs at that time. And then of course, you’re well positioned as the guide to show them how to solve their specific problem and win the day!  

Messaging counts. And the exact, perfect, specific right words are out there waiting for you to use them to sell more, grow your business and build meaningful relationships with your audiences!