Did you ever watch the TV show “Mad Men”? It’s set in a 1960s ad agency, and the show is full of some of the best marketing messages, examples, and advertising tactics in all of television. In one of our favorite scenes, advertising executive Don Draper comes up with marketing to help Kodak sell their new slide projector, the Carousel. 

Why A ‘Mad Men’ Approach To Marketing Works

Don brings his clients into an office and proceeds to set the stage for his brilliant pitch. As cigarette smoke begins to fill the room, Don dives into a story about a former colleague and talks about the power of nostalgia. Once the stage is set, he dims the light and 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.” Everyone is blown away by the pitch with some getting tears in their eyes. Don Draper was able to make executives see their own product in a new light.

In terms of realistically showcasing the process behind creating the best marketing messages, examples don’t get much better than that.

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. One allows viewers to further connect with their emotions, while the other targets the sensible crowd who want a simpler solution for displaying their family photos. 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.

Failing to appeal to your target audience will be the downfall of your marketing campaign. Take a moment and think about why you’re putting together this campaign. More than likely, you’re hoping to attract new potential customers while also increasing brand loyalty with your existing customers. Many businesses make the mistake of trying to bring in new customers with every marketing approach, but this is not a guaranteed way to increase profits. According to Business.com, current customers spend 67% more on average than those who are new to your business. Figure out who your current clientele is and tailor your marketing message to their needs, desires, and concerns. Appealing to your existing customers allows you to boost their lifetime value and increase sales while still bringing in new customers who belong to the same demographic as your current 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.

But determining your client’s pain points is going to take some effort. There are a few different approaches you can use. One of the best ways to do so is by talking with your customers directly. When they shop with your business or inquire about your services, ask them directly where their concerns lie. Take notes and find the common concerns among your customers. Then devise solutions to their problems and implement these solutions somewhere in your marketing message. 

If your customers aren’t forthcoming about their concerns or problems, take to the internet. Check out your business on Google or Yelp and see what your customers are saying about your business. (You should already be doing this for client communication purposes.) You can also search your business on social media to see what your customers are saying on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Once you know what their concerns are, you can easily address their pain within your marketing message. 

Step 3: Mind Your Mission.

The best marketing messages examples 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.

Many business owners fail to realize how important a business’ mission statement actually is to their customers. They think that the mission statement is there to keep the company and its employees focused on a mutual goal. While this is true, the mission statement is also there to let your customers know your company’s purpose. Why should they shop with you rather than your competition? Businesses whose missions involve bettering the community or are focused on helping their customers will have a much easier time attracting customers to their business, especially if their business appeals to younger customers. A survey conducted by Accenture found that 64% of consumers find brands much more attractive if they actively communicate their purpose. Take a look at your company’s mission statement and ensure that it properly reflects your business’ purpose. If it does, use it in your marketing message and your customers will respond well to it. If your mission statement is not up to snuff, it might be time to rework it so you can use it in future marketing campaigns. 

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 two of the best marketing messages 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.” 

Look at it this way: How many times have you seen advertisements or marketing campaigns that tout their business as “the leader in their industry” or “the best customer service in the state?” Have these approaches ever persuaded you to shop at these businesses? Probably not, and it’s because these approaches are completely irrelevant to you as the customer. The customer doesn’t know who named you the leader in your industry and most likely doesn’t care. Instead, you have to make them the hero of your marketing message. 

For a great example of this, you can look at Bounty’s paper towel commercials. While they do usually show a comparison between their product and other brands, that’s not the main focus of their commercials. They’re much more focused on showing you that the person cleaning the mess is the hero of the household, not the company. 

Another great example, similar to the previous Inc. Magazine example, tells your clients what they can gain from the product while putting them center stage. Babbel, the subscription-based language learning software, understands this well. Their slogan, “Speak the language like you’ve always wanted to” places the client as the hero of the message while also informing them of what they can gain by using the service. There are a number of excellent ways to make the client the hero of your marketing message; you just have to find the approach that works best for your target audience. 

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. 

If you’re unsure if something is too technical for your clientele, chances are it is. But if you’re still sold on the idea, pitch it to someone outside of your industry. If they understand it easily without any additional assistance from you, then it might be good to go, but if there’s any doubt or confusion at all, find a better marketing message or approach. You do not want your marketing efforts to go unheard. It is always safer to go with the simpler message. 

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 five best marketing messages, examples, or tactics. Then pitch them to your business partner, team, or spouse. Watch their facial expressions and body movements to fully understand how it resonated with them. Odds are, like the Kodak executives in “Mad Men,” you’ll know a winner when you hear it.

If you’re ready to take your marketing game to the next level, you can fill out the form below to download a free copy of our Content Marketing Guide.

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