Top 8 Messaging Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
March 28, 2022 Edwin Kooistra
Marketing funds now take up the highest percentage of tech companies’ revenue and budgets, and the fight to get the biggest share of rebound spending is real.
While there will always be campaigns that don’t work great or bring in the quality or results wanted, testing new offers and new ideas is a natural part of marketing. However, these marketing efforts still need to stand on a firm foundation and take into account some fundamentals. Otherwise, marketing campaigns would just be a hit or miss, which will be expensive.
Great messaging is the backbone of winning launch campaigns, and it all starts with understanding your “why,” which will guide you to define how your product is perceived and what your product stands for, or else customers will assign their own meaning to it. Unfortunately, in the hectic rush to meet launch dates, a lot of foundational planning becomes an afterthought and gets executed as a check-box exercise prior to, or even after, launch. And, unsurprisingly, messages are often inconsistent, confusing, contradictory, or just plain wrong.
Top 8 Reasons Why Buyers Disqualify Products
It goes without saying that getting your tech product disqualified for purchase from a buyer is a bad outcome. After investing the time and money in launching your product, it is discouraging to find out that you were not even considered. But being overly concerned about pipelines and numbers that drain time, energy, and resources in an effort to sell to anyone and everyone is the major reason behind the loss of hundreds of thousands in company time.
To help you set yourself up for a win, here are the top 8 reasons that influence disqualification by prospective buyers and how to combat these go-to-market messaging blunders.
- Lack of perceived value
- They Don’t Know What to Buy
- Lack of Awareness
- Lack of Certainty
- Unrealistic Expectations
- Going Hyperniched
- Lack of Trust
- Lack of Necessity
1. Lack of Perceived Value
When making any purchase decision, buyers look for “benefits,” not features. If the value of your product isn’t linked to a solution for an existing problem they have, or to someway that can make their life better chances that your prospects understand your product’s value are close to none.
Instead of investing too much time and money building your product and quickly throwing a sales strategy expecting it to work wonders, get down to your buyers’ emotions. Think about your buyer personas and their deepest desires and fears, not just the obvious ones. Get to the nitty-gritty.
Think through your product and ask yourself:
- Can your product help boost productivity?
- Does your product only take a few minutes to learn how to use?
- Can your product respond to customer questions within an hour?
The best examples of a value-selling framework are very far from sales pitches. Start as an educator to build brand awareness and become a trusted solution. When the customer is finally ready to spend money to solve their problem, only then your sales team may step in to close the deal.
2. They Don’t Know What to Buy
Choice overload is a serious problem for buyers and marketers alike in today’s world. Marketers often assume that giving people more information is better. But the negative effects of analysis paralysis, which is the feeling of anxiety when you have so much information, can
backfire and become more severe than a missed sale. Some choices can be good. Too many choices will overwhelm customers, and just providing more information often doesn’t help. Instead, customers need actual tools that allow them to identify and weigh the most relevant features.
To help consumers evaluate choices, most brands layout their features and benefits, and some go an extra step by offering buying guides or product comparisons. It is true that both provide lots of information, but neither offers much guidance, and customers are left as confused as ever about the “best” choice. To keep your customers, keep it simple.
3. Lack of Awareness
Attempting to make your product appeal to everyone is a bad idea.
Everyone can’t be included in your target market simply because one specific message just can’t resonate effectively with different demographic groups. The result is a product with consumers who aren’t aware of it. The solution is not always more marketing. Wasting your resources marketing to people that aren’t interested in your product in the first place is a waste of money. Instead, narrowly defining your target market only to include individuals likely to convert into customers will help you allocate your marketing budget where it counts.
Different groups have unique preferences, different buying principles, separate interpretations of the need for products, and individual reasons when deciding to purchase. This makes them travel through the buying process at varied times and speeds, proving that products directed towards everyone in your target market eventually appeal to no one in particular.
Break your target down into smaller segments which can take many forms: Geographic segmentation, demographics, behavioral, psychographic, etc. Then, format your website and other marketing materials according to these segments to speak to them separately and effectively.
4. Lack of Certainty
Simplicity in the entire customer experience is key.
Simplicity doesn’t mean offering less but making your current offering easier to access and understand. Focus on streamlining your buyer journey, reducing unnecessary steps to deliver the maximum amount of value with minimum complexity.
Limiting options is one way to maximize sales. However, brands still need to create a more efficient path minimizing the number of information sources consumers must touch while moving toward a purchase. The savviest tech companies achieve this by personalizing the route.
5. Unrealistic Expectations
It’s not easy to stand out in a crowded market, but it is essential when competing in the business world. Creating a unique selling proposition gives a brand a competitive advantage. Going too far and making bold claims to capture attention as customers are always on the lookout for outstanding products can kill your customer relations in no time. Resist the urge to make unprovable claims and empty promises unless you are absolutely sure you can back up those claims.
6. Going Hyperniched
How segmented your target audience and how laser-focused your messaging strategy, are the earliest indicators of your product marketing success or failure. However, crossing that thin line and getting too specific and hyper niched can make product marketers make serious messaging mistakes that will hinder growth. In an attempt to make a product stand out, especially in a saturated market, brands sometimes create the opposite effect. Appealing too exclusive to a narrowly defined demographic is very likely to alienate potential customers inadvertently, get unnoticed, or make the company somewhat unapproachable. Marketing your competitive advantage is as important as defining it.
7. Lack of Trust
Today’s consumers are not only more informed than ever but also more suspicious. In the age of fake news, it’s no longer easy for brands to take potshots at their competitors. It’s time for making connections with customers, building and nurturing relationships with them, and prioritizing this. Then, let those customers make the product claims and take the potshots themselves.
People still trust product comparisons, just not from brands. In fact, 9 out of 10 consumers read reviews before making a purchase. Consumers are on a constant quest for convenience and hearing people’s opinions about the same product. Positive reviews mean more visibility for your product and an increased pipeline for your sales team.
Customer reviews and testimonials are here to stay, and the longer you wait to start considering them, the more you lose. Improve your customer service by resolving your consumers’ issues quickly and efficiently, thereby creating a positive experience. Allow your consumers to have a voice and create customer loyalty, in the end; they are doing marketing for you.
8. Lack of Necessity
While it’s not uncommon for customers to decide not to purchase something simply because they found a better price elsewhere, the truth is, price is not your buyer’s biggest concern.
Dropping your prices and battling against discounts is a race to the bottom. Much like your marketing efforts should clearly show the value your product brings, they also need to show the problems its absence can create.
Draw attention to your major differentiator and make sure they understand the needs your product satisfies, the time it saves them, and what their life will look like without it.
How to Avoid Messaging Positioning Mistakes
Not every marketing campaign or strategy can be a winner, but the lessons learned from the failures are more important than from the successes.
Brand positioning is crucial for your product’s value proposition; without it, companies wouldn’t be able to establish a unique and distinctive niche among their competition, making them unable to attract the right type of customers.
Here’s how to avoid messaging mistakes in 3 steps.
1. Make a checklist of questions
The first step to avoiding common messaging positioning mistakes is to evaluate your market as a whole. Prepare a list of questions to cover the following:
- Where does your product stand within the market?
- The demand for your product, if available.
- The exiting trends and how your product fits
- Your main competitors and their market share compared to yours.
- Your competitors’ product offering, target audience, marketing channels, reputation, and how similar their offering is to yours.
2. Create a positioning template
To help you articulate the key benefits of your product and the problem it solves and ground product marketing efforts in the real value you provide beyond features and functionality, a Product Positioning Template is of great use.
3. Identify how you’ll position your product
After analyzing your competition and identifying how your product differs, you can then move on to define your unique value proposition (UVP) laser-focused on your target audience, which can literally be anything: Price points, user-friendliness, simplicity, innovation, upgrade potentials, compatibility, etc.
Crafting compelling positioning product messages makes a strong and memorable marketing strategy. You might have the exact product your target customers are looking for, and they just don’t know it yet.
There’s no “one size fits all” solution, and as you grow, your key messages will evolve, but analyzing your market, target audience, and competitors, defining your unique selling points, and avoiding the above common go to market messaging mistakes will set you on the right track for success.