Did you ever watch the TV show “Mad Men”? It’s set in a 1960s ad agency, and almost every episode explores the power of good marketing. In one of our favorite scenes, advertising executive Don Draper comes up with marketing to help Kodak sell their new slide projector, the Carousel.
His pitch is brilliant. He shows the room full of executives a slideshow of his family photos. He cranks up the nostalgia and illustrates how the slide projector can serve as a gateway to happy memories. Then he says, “It’s called the Carousel. It lets us travel around and around and back home again.”
Kodak’s real-life marketing message for the Carousel was “Relax! The spill-proof tray shows 80 slides automatically!” And while they strike two entirely different tones, both are money-making taglines. But which is actually better? Check out the 5 steps below to craft the perfect marketing message for your business. Then see if you can guess which tagline takes the cake.
Step 1: Identify Your Target.
In any content writing, the most important thing you can do is zero in on your target demographic. According to a 2015 Marketo poll , 63% of consumers are “highly annoyed” by generic ad messages. So, ask yourself this: Who is using your product or service? What is their gender, age, geographic location, and education level? What are their hobbies, goals, desires, worries, and fears? If you’re unsure, go through your customer database and look for commonalities. You can also download a customer avatar worksheet and fill it out to create a complete picture. (DigitalMarketer.com offers a good one.) Once you’ve identified a demographic, craft a targeted marketing message for those specific customers.
Step 2: Address Their Pain.
Your marketing message should address what marketers call “pain points.” These are things that worry, frustrate, scare, or annoy your target group. Your product or service is the cure to this pain.
Take the two Kodak examples above. In the Draper message, the pain point is the fear of forgetting important moments. The Carousel solves the problem by helping users “time travel” back to the good old days. In the real Kodak message, the pain point is the hassle of spilled slides and hand-cranked projectors. The words “relax,” “spill-proof,” and “automatic” address the issue. To use the same strategy with your marketing message, write down a list of your customers’ concerns. Then note how your product or service solves each problem.
Step 3: Mind Your Mission.
Brilliant marketing messages are creative and original. While creating yours, keep in mind what makes your company unique. What is your mission? (If you’re not sure what a company “mission” is or why you need one, check out this blog post about Costco and its mission.) According to Forbes, customers are 4–6 times more likely to “purchase, protext, and champion” purpose-driven companies. So, your company’s mission should infuse your marketing message with your brand’s personality. To make sure you’re on target, look at each tagline you come up with. Then ask yourself, “Could this just as easily be the slogan for my competition?” If the answer is “yes,” then scrap it.
Step 4: Make Your Client The Hero.
Marketing expert Donald Miller says that to find business success, you need to put your client at the center of your brand’s story. Make them the hero and make your company the guide. Think about the contrast between these 2 examples from Inc. Magazine. “Our world-class engineering team designed our product set to be both usable and flexible.” Or “It takes 10 minutes tops to learn our product.” Which one puts the client at the center of the story? To learn more about this step, check out Miller’s book, “Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen.”
Step 5: K.I.S.S.
In other words, “Keep it simple, stupid!” Avoid jargon or technical terms in your messaging. If you use straightforward language and keep your message short, leads will read the whole thing. Imagine yourself saying your slogan to a client face to face and set up a challenge. What can you say about your brand in 2 sentences? 10 words? Five? Distill your message down to its essence.
There you have it! That’s everything you need to craft a marketing message that will resonate with your target market and command sales. Considering these 5 key points, which Kodak tagline do you think is the best?
In our view, Don Draper’s phrase could have outsold the real thing. Both taglines hit the target demographic. They both keep the customer at the center of the story, are short and concise, and address pain points. But only Draper’s gets to the heart of Kodak’s mission: helping people preserve and revisit precious memories.
Now, it’s your turn to play Don Draper. Come up with your 5 best marketing messages. Then pitch them to your business partner, team, or spouse. Odds are, like the Kodak executives in “Mad Men,” you’ll know a winner when you hear it.