Let’s say you don’t have a brand manager or a director of lead gen or social media manager. But your executive team understands there is value in all those things and somebody taped a message to your back when you weren’t looking that says "Kick me - I love marketing!" So where do you start. The sales guy wants leads “send out some emails or start a pay per click campaign or something like that” he says. Your CEO wants that sexy PowerPoint presentation he’s never been able to quite pull together. And everyone and their mother is clamoring for “social media.”
Well, before you jump in with all that fun stuff, start with your messaging. Get the message about who you are and what you do worked out. But what does that actually mean. People at your company might already feel they understand who they are and what they are doing. After all, they already developed a product or a service and you’re already selling it to happy customers. It could be that when asked about it, your sales guys and executives have a ripe and ready answer to the question “what does your company do?” That’s all well and good and should make preparing a messaging framework easier, but it certainly doesn’t preclude doing it.
Having a formal, agreed upon, messaging document is a very valuable tool. It sets a baseline for marketing efforts to come. All those tasty goodies everyone wants to have, the social media, the trade show materials, all of it is now more coordinated, more efficiently produced, and more effective. You may find yourself working with a whole bunch of vendors at some point and a well produced messaging document about your company can make coordinating their efforts much easier. And most importantly you have an agreed upon criteria to evaluate all your marketing work going forward.
So what exactly constitutes a good messaging doc varies but some common parts are a value proposition, a differentiation statement, an “elevator” pitch, and key messages you want to make to various target audiences. It can certainly be much much more and there are a lot of great resources for learning more about it (just search on creating messaging frameworks).
Whatever you do decide to include, make sure producing it is a clearly define project with a timeline and meetings and reviews and sign off and all that good stuff. The point is everyone should be crystal clear that getting the message right, all of its parts and pieces, and writing it down is a “real” thing with a tangible outcome. I’ve seen companies over the years time and again, who forgo this step or postpone it. That's a sure way to wind up with slippery inefficient efforts. You wouldn’t start your journey without a map or build your house without a blueprint. Make sure you’re setting yourself up marketing in the same way with a formal messaging framework.